By: J. Nguen, CANADA, AUG/10/2014, SSN;
In Washington DC, it was reported that it was business as usual in President Kiir’s camp after the US–African leaders Summit was concluded. Funny though, contrary to the well celebrated and published summit, the world is still laughing and making fun of President Salva Kiir’s naivety.
In the eyes of roaring international audience and flushing cameras, United States Sec. of States, John Kerry, called President Kiir a “militant” and he did noticed. Kerry has hyperbolically referred to shuttering cameras as “machine guns.”
United States was the host country, but its behavior reflects no formidable host. It remained complicit and ignorant as usual considering its stand and policy toward Africa and the so-called developing nations. The gruesomeness of this dynamic played out when Africa’s heads of States arrived in Washington DC for the US–Africa leaders’ summit.
For example, during Kiir’s photo ops with Sec. Kerry, Pres. Kiir was insulted and disgracefully treated with disrespect by the host nation. This is not the first time President Kiir’s administration suffered abuse in the US. In 2013, Kiir’s top officials were ill-treated and harassed as well.
For instance, Vice President, James Wani Igga and Foreign Minister, Marial Bil were stripped naked at the point of entry to the US on their en route officially to the United Nations even though, they had their diplomatic passports. Both were treated like thieves and criminals in New York.
As the saying goes, when you‘re naïve in politics, you will be made fun of and become a laughing stock at best. In Washington DC, Pres. Kiir was made fun of, abused and dehumanized like a war criminal.
In this respect, I believe Sec. Kerry has fed on the South Sudanese outcries considering Juba Nuer massacre on December 15th, 2013, where Kiir owned the blame.
Some may say Sec. Kerry made undiplomatic remark toward the President. However, the question is whether Mr. President knows that he was called a “militant” indirectly or not.
Precisely, this to say that President Kiir is not accustomed to any other sounds but machine gun, and this is perfectly true regarding his military career as a war general, while much greener to political twigs and turns.
In this regard, Sec. Kerry was reported to have stated that cameras’ shuttering sounded like machine guns when journalists were busy taking photos of a man who has butchered his own citizens. Kerry remarked that “this is like machine guns, isn’t it?” Naively so, Pres. Kiir responded “yes, they sound like machine guns.”
Yet, little does the President know that he was just being made fun of and called “militant” by his host. It was true that Kerry was referring to the troubled South Sudan of which Kiir owned the blame. South Sudan was rocked by machine guns since 2013 to the present.
Pres. Kiir squarely owned the responsibility. Therefore, Sec. Kerry was right. President Kiir acted out like a militant.
To put Kerry’s remark in context and honest perspective, Pres. Kiir has trained private tribal militias from his tribe. And on the 15th of December, 2013, Pres. Kiir was alleged to have instructed these militias to carry out one of the worse 21st century genocide ever. More than 10, 000 innocent Nuer civilians, women, elderly and children were massacred in Juba, South Sudan alone, based on their ethnicity.
Besides, not only did Pres. Kiir suffer insult in Washington DC from John Kerry, the President was also shamed by thousands of South Sudanese who took to the streets across United States and Canada.
On the 6th of August 2014, more than 6 thousand strong South Sudanese demonstrated across North America. From Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto in Canada and throughout the US and with more emphasis in the Washington DC, where the summit was being held, South Sudanese called on Kiir to resign to give peace a chance and stop bloodshed.
Elsewhere, protesters gathered in front of governmental buildings, but in Washington DC, they converged on the Freedom Square condemning President Obama for inviting a “ruthless killer.” The Protesters questioned President Obama’s administration intention and accused it of “flip-flopping” on South Sudan crisis.
SPLM opposition Diplomats in Washington DC
On August 2nd, 2014, top notch SPLM diplomats under Dr. Riek Machar Teny also arrived in Washington DC for the same purpose, the Summit. Thereafter, the diplomats will remain in US to enlighten the American public and President Obama’s administration about the nature of conflict in South Sudan and what really happened on the 15th of December 2013 in Juba which led to current crisis. The team will also further presents the SPLM’s position on the way forward to arrest the conflict.
The team was led by the former South Sudan ambassador to United States, Hon. Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth. Hon. Gatkuoth painted a different picture of President Kiir and labelled him untrustworthy president and who “is looking out to the East, precisely to China.” An act Gatkuoth called a “hopeless betrayal” to the United States of America and friends of South Sudan, who had helped the world’s newest nation to gain its independence.
Gatkuoth mentioned that “Without Americans’ supports, South Sudan would have not gained its independence.” But, “as we speak, Kiir just bought weapons and got money from China.” Mr. Gatkuoth also accused unknown nations of hidden interests.
For Pres. Kiir’s presence in Washington DC, Ambassador Gatkuoth told the gathering of more than 3600 strong South Sudanese on August 6th that, “you should not be worried about the dictator’s presence in the land of freedom and the home of the brave.” “Washington DC is not Salva Kiir’s world, it’s our world.”
That being said the former Ambassador Gatkuoth is well versed with the Washington DC’s politics. He well fits in Washington than anyone else of his caliber.
Besides, Mr. Gatkuoth’s message to the world was clear and precise. He lamented, “For South Sudan to heal – for South Sudan to reconcile – for South Sudan to develop again, you cannot have Salva leading it.”
This is a resounding position and it has been echoed by many voices in South Sudan and across the globe. Many voices have stated that Salva Kiir has “murdered innocent civilians based on their ethnicity and therefore he has lost legitimacy to govern.”
Interestingly, it’s politics, who could have predicted that Kerry would have called President Kiir a hopeless militant. Well, hate it or love it, it’s what it is.
J. Nguen is a South Sudanese living in Canada. He can be reached at nyolgaar.com