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Exiled South Sudanese decry lack of democracy

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August 27, 2014 (KAMPALA) – South Sudanese living in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, say freedom of speech and their country’s system of governance has continued to worsen since the outbreak of violence in mid-December last year between the government and rebel forces led by former vice-president Riek Machar.

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Some members of the South Sudanese community in Uganda claim the current government under the leadership of president Salva Kiir has failed to observe democratic principles of governance

Uganda’s South Sudanese community, many of whom fled to the neighbouring country to escape the ongoing crisis, claim certain government officials have deliberately misinterpreted what democratic principles.

They also complain that basic infrastructure such as roads, schools, hospitals and electricity remain almost non-existent across much of South Sudan.

Thudan Gai Majok, who is studying for his masters in public administration at Saint Lawrence University in Uganda, says he sees no signs of democracy in South Sudan.

Despite being democratically elected he said the current government under the leadership of president Salva Kiir had failed to deliver for the people of South Sudan since the country gained independence from Sudan in 2011.

“In order for you to bring them (the people) service, you have to give them things that they want as the government elected by them, but that never happened,” he said.

“Democracy as it is defined; it is rule of the majority respecting the right of the minority … having accountable governance; the government elected by the people and it is the government for the people and by the people – that is what democracy is all about,” added Majok.

Nyanduel Teresa Bawar, a South Sudanese choir director at a Uganda’s Catholic Church, says for free speech to develop in South Sudan, there must be a truly democratic system of governance.

“To have a freedom of speech in South Sudan we need a good leader which will allow everything for his or her people to do, like freedom of worship [to] God and freedom of anything,” said Bawar

Majok also criticised the government’s treatment of the media, with journalists routinely harassed and intimidated by officials and security forces.

“It is very unfortunate that we have the media law which is in place, but still we behave like people who have never gone to school. People do not know what is happening; [the] media is not actually free. Anyway, there a lot thing we know and we cannot talk a lot about it,” he said.

Goi Gatyang, a student at Makerere University, describes South Sudan as a country ruled by a dictator, saying democracy will not exists as long as people have no freedom to express their thoughts publicly.

“I don’t think the dictatorship government that is ruling the country with [an] iron bar can grant freedom of expression and speech to the people unless [they are] posting or publishing what has been inspected by the government. Otherwise, [the] censorship of the government is controlling all the system of the media in the country,” he said.

According to Gatyang, freedom of expression can also be secured if there is a change to the country’s system of governance.

However, some South Sudanese in Kampala believe that freedom of speech is not as easy to achieve in Africa as it is in the West, saying that some African countries are driven by tendencies of dictatorship, making it difficult to implement true democratic principles.

(ST)

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  • 28 August 10:43, by Alfredo christiani

    Dear Thudan Gai or Sudan Gai son of butcher
    You better to Thanks SPLA/M because more Nure sons went to school during the liberations struggles with marks of railway lines on their heads and DOTS on their faces. Shame on you .Salva Kiir Will lead you until Jesus come.

    repondre message

    • 28 August 11:19, by maumau

      Salva Kiir is a dictator, he has turned all civil servants to behave like him. Imagine, there is no law to govern the country, just two days ago, government officials refused to be tested for Ebola virus upon their arrival at Juba International Airport. Do they government officials think that Ebola can spare them? Haheh Ask them. These guys will bring Ebola in the country because they travel alot.

      repondre message

    • 28 August 12:01, by Malakal county Simon

      Why are you defending a well known failed government under foolish president kiir if you’re smart person while you don’t get anything from it? You must be a fool just to defend some one based on tribe my friend!!

      repondre message

      • 28 August 12:03, by Malakal county Simon

        cont...

        Fake Alfredo!!

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        • 28 August 13:15, by Alfredo christiani

          Those who named themselves with strange names like Malakal County Simon , MiiDit and Wicdal ETC were brought up with stolen money of the SPLA/M now they pretended themselves to be wise enough then the original founders of the SPLA/M of 1980s , soon your leader will join South Sudan government system , what will you Do ? better to hang yourselves or surrender to Government forces ,Fools

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    • 28 August 14:27, by Bentiu Sudan

      Alfredo Christian,

      Do you know Salva Kiir very well? Salve Kiir is one of the men who have "railway lines on the face" as you described. He when to school with those railways lines on his face. Most Dinka communities have those marks as Nuer. Including the community Salva Kiir come from. I think you wrote this comments on Sudan tribute while holding a battle of whisky on right hand side.

      repondre message

  • 28 August 11:08, by Mr Point

    In Juba the roads are bad - but the ministers have such expensive cars. Why?

    Why does the SPLM Juba Faction make promises that they don’t keep.

    But when they are found doing awful things to innocent civilians they routinely deny anything.

    Corruption, false promises, lies and dictatorship. That’s Kiir’s legacy.

    repondre message

  • 28 August 19:10, by Marco Bul

    Nuer like fancy terms.Democracy,demon-crazy,demo-Kiiracy,demo......

    repondre message

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