BY: Tearz Ayuen, JUBA, MAY/31/2014, SSN;
Dear Uncle Makuei Lueth,
While you execute your duties as the national minister of information and broadcasting, and the official spokesperson of the government of South Sudan, you’re making two grave mistakes.
One, you’re becoming a stigmata on the reputation of Bor community. And two, you’re doing yourself a great harm – digging your own grave.
I will not dwell much on the fact that you and some of your peers are, in so many ways, tainting the already ‘vandalized’ face of Bor. We will talk about that some other day.
Uncle Makuei, do you know your leadership net worth? Do you know how much you weigh on the political scale? In case you didn’t know, you mean a lot, Uncle. You’re a great man. You’re a freedom fighter, a liberator. You are a senior government official, a minister.
You’re one of the members of parliament representing Bor people in the national legislative assembly.
Your contributions in attaining and bettering South Sudan are inestimable.
Again, you’re one of the highly educated Bor elders. You’re an idol in the eyes of Bor people; they celebrate you. Musicians have composed songs about you. They sing your name.
All that puts you in a critical position whereby you have to watch what you say. You represent. That means anything that flies out of your mouth can either kill or save lives.
It can either heighten or lessen tensions, violence.
Why are you everywhere falsely accusing everyone of rebellion? What happened to political correctness? What happened to diplomacy?
A rebel is a person who takes part in an armed rebellion against the constituted authority, especially in the hope of improving conditions.
Uncle Makuei, these are modern times. The whole world is watching every move each and every South Sudan’s leader makes.
You don’t have to personally pick an EX-34 Chain gun and shoot down a whole village in order to be indicted.
This is 2014. This is digital age. Anything dangerous one wishes, thinks or does is recorded and used against him or her in future.
There is something called hate speech. A hate speech maker can be defined as any person who utters words intended to incite feelings of contempt, hatred, hostility, violence or discrimination against any person, group or community on the basis of ethnicity or race.
In your book, media houses are rebels. Church leaders are rebels. Innocent displaced bereaved hungry women are rebels. Even malnourished dying babies are rebels! What sense does that make? What happened to morality?
I think many could categorize most of your statements under hate speech. You cannot refer to a baby a rebel just because it hails from a particular community whose some members have staged an insurgency.
You and your comrades can say anything about anyone, about any community, anytime, with impunity. That’s okay inu you rule. But for me, I call it short-term impunity inu there comes a time when one has to account for everything he had said or done or not done during his heydays.
Don’t ever think that you’re untouchable, forever. None of your colleagues are, either; including your boss, Kiir Mayardit.
Hate speech might not have been constituted in the South Sudan interim constitution but it’s under international law. And the powers you think you have do not exist in the global village.
I hear members of the ruling clique cheer you on as you ‘defend’ the government. I hear them clap their hands every time you come on TV to speak against the West.
I read Facebook and Twitter posts by your ‘supporters’ in which they pat you on the shoulder, encouraging you to keep ‘defending’ the legitimate government. Cool.
However, Uncle, what you don’t know or seem to be inconsiderate or negligent about is that, when that day comes, Salva Kiir will not be there for you, Buor will not be able to protect you, your colleagues will giggle and some will, in fact, throw parties to celebrate your descend.
I’m not telling you to stop supporting your regime, Uncle. I am not telling you to join Dr Riek, to be a rebel. Nor am I asking you to resign. No.
What I am trying to say is that, carry on with your work but tread carefully. Your mouth. Your tongue. Your lips. I repeat: t-r-e-a-d c-a-r-e-f-u-l-l-y.
Summarily, in your quest for cleansing the skunk-stinky face of the Government of the Republic of South Sudan, do not be like a man who takes off the only clothes he possesses to clothe another naked man.
Tearz Ayuen is a South Sudanese journalist currently working in Juba. He can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org