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S. Sudanese presidency refutes “lack of democracy” claims

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August 28, 2014 (JUBA) – The South Sudanese presidency has dismissed as “untrue” claims by sections of its citizens that lack of democracy forced many to flee the nation.

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South Sudan’s presidential spokesperson speaking during a press conference in Khartoum on 2 March 2014 (Photo: Ebrahim Hamid/AFP)

“There is a democracy in this country. In South Sudan, anyone even those in the church have made it a practice to turn religious sermons into political functions to talks against the government and the president and nothing is done. The religious leaders preaching in these churches and mosques have the audacity to attack the president during prayer services and even going as far as asking the congregation to extend the message to the president. And nothing has ever been done. But if it were to be other countries in Africa, they would be dealt with accordingly,” presidential spokesperson Ateny Wek Ateny told Sudan Tribune on Thursday.

Ateny, himself a former government critic prior to his recent appointment, said freedom of speech has a limits around which people should not cross to affect others.

“You know I was critical commentator but I was always exhibiting objectivity, knowing where I would step on the toes of other people if I cross the limit. That was why I never got in trouble with authorities because I knew what I was doing,” he said.

The presidential aide was reacting to views expressed by some South Sudanese living in Uganda, majority of who claimed South Sudan was not democratic and thus forcing them to flee it.

John Baak, native of Warrap state separately said in an interview that the cause of fighting was not due to lack of democracy, but rather a fight over political positions.

“In the transitional constitution, there are all these rights. It mention the right of handicapped, it mentions right of minorities, religion much better than Khartoum. There are human right clauses that many eastern European countries had adopted in the constitution after the fall of communism. You know that I had the opportunity to live in Russia and Ukraine. Because of this background, I personally abuse any woman and come up with an excuse that this is my culture and you cannot intervene,” said Baak.

“The problem is how we interpret these rights,” he added.

Alphonse Madut, a native of Western Bahr el Ghazal state described South Sudan’s democracy as “a sham”, stressing that even those in the government knew the country was in "a mess".

“The democracy we talk about in South Sudan is a sham and I strong believe that even those in the government know the country is in a total mess, no matter how much it is pumped by the elites who run the country, who control the nation’s news media. South Sudan, in other words, is basically a democratic country in theory but practically undemocratic. This is a fact,” he said.

Madut cited recent act of government agents in which they arbitrarily closed down the catholic-owned Bakhita FM radio in Juba for broadcasting reports on clashes between rebels and government forces.

“If you cannot tolerate the views expressed by others, then you cannot claim being a democrat. It cannot be both ways. To be intolerable with others and at the same time claim to be a democrat. No. It is the other way round, show of tolerance,” he said.

(ST)

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  • 29 August 2014 08:25, by Lotodo Awino Odug

    I think what people want is American type of democracy where civilian write all kinds of garbage, and the authorities pay no attention to them whatsoever.

    repondre message

    • 29 August 2014 09:28, by John Sebit

      Salva Kir government is very democrat according to his secretary because of the following:
      Ordered the killing of 0ver 20,000 civilian in Juba in just two days, the use of cluster bomb in Bor, the killing of Isaiah the journalist, the killing of Murle civilian in 2012, shooting down of UN helicopter in 2012 and 2014, Bring in foreign forces to kill on his name, conceived under 18 years girl, etc.

      repondre message

  • 29 August 2014 08:28, by dinkdong

    I hate that one-eyed man.

    repondre message

    • 29 August 2014 09:28, by Wicdail

      Me too.
      They are ful of hate and lies, against others. They will never see light on that day.

      repondre message

  • 29 August 2014 08:50, by Madina Tonj

    If Southern Sudanese believes there is a good leader that will lead them then, they have to tell Riek Machar Teny to put down his guns and started process for general election this is how a citizens have the chance to bring new leader to lead nation. Riek Machar is wasting time for rebellion but he will never lead South Sudan even without presence of president Salva Kiir Mayardit no one like him.

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    • 29 August 2014 09:35, by Malakal county Simon

      Ateny wek was once a government critic before prior to his useless post in-order to shut-up his big mouth.... Now switched side due to his pay-roll, and claimed that there’s a democracy in South Sudan?? Why is journalists harassed each day? and why was the Catholic Radio shut down if there is any democracy in South S as you claimed??

      repondre message

  • 29 August 2014 10:37, by Marco Bul

    Q:Why is everybody everywhere talking against the government??? Eh!??
    Think about it.
    Then see into it why you want to kill or gag them....
    Even the "Men of God/Allah" are praying for change!!!
    Dhukdhukdhuk!!!!!!;

    repondre message

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