Editorial Analysis, NOV. 30/2012, SSN; Lord have mercy! Now that the country’s president, Kiir Mayardit, has publicly confessed to the entire nation that he also is afflicted by and suffering from the mental disease recently diagnosed by his vice, Machar, it is definitely conclusive that South Sudan is being mercilessly ruled by a leadership with sickened mental capacity.
What has surprisingly and shockingly surfaced in Juba, which is no longer a secret, is that both President Kiir and his vice, Machar, along with most SPLM/A current and former liberation war veterans who are also now in top positions of the SPLM-dominated government, are morbidly mentally traumatized, with obvious clinical symptoms and signs of the affliction commonly diagnosed and known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Echoing his vice president, President Kiir blandly reiterated, while addressing a conference on agriculture and food security in Juba on November 28, that indeed, South Sudan “leaders were mentally traumatized by decades of war and are in need of counselling.” He acquiesced that, “Even me I need people to come around me and talk to me.”
A few days earlier in the week, Dr. Machar (no medical doctor) had brought the whole problem of PTSD into public scrutiny when he was launching a national reconciliation preparatory meeting in Juba which purportedly would seek to heal what he described as serious ‘mental wounds that have visibly divided communities’ due to the ‘prevalence of trauma which is still haunting leaders and communities in the country locking them in mental wars in their minds.’
Presuming that both Dr. Machar and President Kiir are correct in their prognostication of the prevalence and morbidity of PTSD among the top leadership, mostly SPLM/A leaders and the population at large, clearly this potentially doesn’t bode well for the good image and governance of the nation.
Though Machar himself had publicly apologized for and taken complete responsibility for the alleged ‘war crimes’ he personally commissioned and committed against a particular community (Dinka-Bor), his main overriding worry currently is that his repentance and capitulation to Dinka-Bor community in general, and especially to the widow of Late Dr. John Garang in particular, has opened up a dangerous precedence.
Every community (tribe) has the right now to also demand some apology for similar war crimes egregiously inflicted on their people and furthermore, individuals or their relatives, who underwent illegal tortures, imprisonment and other human rights abuses by people now in positions of power during the liberation war, also have the right now to demand some forms of redress.
Certainly, this must include those who worked for the enemy jellaba Arab Sudan also, as many were unquestionably involved in the killings or complicit in the arrests and torture. Some of those jellaba sell-outs are now ministers or top advisers in Kiir’s government.
Understandably, from president Kiir to Machar, down to ministers and commanders, there is genuine anxiety associated with rumination, flashbacks and apprehensions about the probabilities of scenarios of retribution and vengeance unraveling in the country, hence, this explains Dr. Machar’s urgency for the so-called national reconciliation.
Since he has been severely enfeebled and blackmailed by the Dinka-Bor community, Machar is now on a wild goose chase to resuscitate his ambition of becoming the next president even though he is precipitously sliding down a slippery rope.
It isn’t surprising to most citizens and foreign observers of South Sudan that Dr. Machar is practically a lame-duck in Kiir’s government. People once hoped that Machar would stand apart from president Kiir by standing up against the multi-billion dollar corruption, the on-going arbitrary arrest and torture of journalists and human rights campaigners and other unlawful actions.
Enigmatically, Dr. Machar has instead come out vehemently supportive of his boss by minimizing the extent of the corruption and the arrests; he’s practically condoning these unpopular actions of the president’s misrule.
Anyway, what is shocking is that although president Kiir and the others had eight long years to seek the best treatment abroad for their mental affliction by PTSD, the president instead only resorted to some unorthodox and animistic palliation such as relying on the aura of those ‘around him.’
It is very uncommon, for the record, to have top leaders of guerrilla or major wars between nations, e.g. Uganda’s president Museveni or president Bush senior and legendary General Schwarzkopf who launched the US Kuwait liberation from Iraqi, or Israeli commanders like Moshe Dayan, have ever been reportedly suffered or manifested symptoms of PTSD.
In well-documented studies in advanced societies, e.g. USA, the preponderance of PTSD is often among the lower members of the army who supposedly are directly involved in the real physical acts of the battles, such as firing the guns on the front lines, directly committing acts of killing and torture, rape and other egregious crimes. Why president Kiir?
More importantly, however, it must be strongly pointed out at this juncture that PSTD or whatever anxiety disorders these leaders are oppressed and obsessed with, they can’t be taken as lame excuses for the serious failure of governance, absence of the rule of law, rampant corruption and generalized decay now destroying our country.
What should be of urgent significance in the country and a concern to the leadership is the immediate cessation of localized violence between or among the various tribes which are mostly politically motivated by the leaders themselves which is causing unnecessary deaths across the states.
Our kind of politics today under the Kiir-Machar dictatorship is shamefully organized along ethnicity or tribalism; it doesn’t need a rocket scientist to ominously predict that given the way things are being handled, another major fratricide of the 1991 magnitude or worse, might reignite sooner if the current targeted incarceration of top Nuer generals persist, a war that will polarize and engulf the whole nation.
As a consequence, the Kiir-Machar regime has evidently lost confidence even among its supporters as witnessed by the inexplicable absence of the majority of governors from the so-called Governors conference. Perhaps the governors have reasonably sensed the utter futility of supporting a regime that’s not delivering!
The so-called national army, the SPLA, is still much visibly tribalized, badly polarized and practically operates above the law; its appendage, the so-called national intelligence and security service is nothing but a personal security and political tool for one tribe and one leader to intimidate, oppress, incarcerate or even eviscerate any person on command from a tribal hierarchy.
Corruption, the bane of Kiir-Machar reign, is unstoppable and being committed with absolute impunity, while the generalized immiserization of the majority of the population continues unabated.
The economy is in utter ruins, with or without oil revenues. National resources are cheaply on sale to foreigners and the corrupt leaders, the commercial and economic sectors have been taken over by Somalis, Ethiopians, Eritreans, all to the detriment and oppression of the local people.
Embarrassingly, the national police service is nearly dysfunctional, with crime and killing, exacerbated by the appalling economic situation, is rampant and uncontrollable despite the massive recruitment and support from the UNMISS. Citizens are literally paying exorbitant sums of money just to get any service from the police.
Diplomatically, the nation is, for all practical purposes, back into jellaba Arab Sudan suzerainty, not unsurprisingly. The oppressed and impoverished South Sudanese are asking if this is the independence they were promised.
Culturally, as the often sincere and blunt State minister of interior, Salva Mathok, painfully remarked recently, “our younger generation, the hope of the South Sudan nation, is finished.”
The tragedy is that they are becoming morally decadent, uneducated and practically and hopelessly lost in the immoralities engendered by the foreign sex-workers who infested prostitution lodges everywhere in the city, ostensibly licensed by the government and owned by many of the top leadership.
Already a failed state, is it any wonder that the young are now either into drugs and diseases or engaged in cattle raids and recruitment as proxies armies?
Finally, if indeed the nation’s leaders are severely afflicted mentally, psychologically or physically, be it with PTSD or other mental afflictions during the liberation war, that might retard or incapacitate them in carrying out their national functions or duties, some forms of treatments, if not already too late, might just be helpful.
Otherwise, the best thing for the nation’s good is that Kiir must thoroughly scrutinize and cleanse his government. If the prospective patients must be kicked out, that’s acceptable.
Otherwise, if all must abdicate, including the president or the vice, either on their own volition or forcefully ejected due to insanity or some manifestations of the same, that would be still better, as our young nation can’t be efficiently run by mentally tormented leaders! Amen.
By Website Editor