BY: Simon M. Deng, SOUTH SUDAN, SEPT/17/2013, SSN;
The poor people of South Sudan wonder every time when they see the motorcade of the President of the Republic of South Sudan, His Excellency General Salva Kiir Mayardit, move mercilessly at high speed on crowded roads in Juba, South Sudan.
Not surprisingly, the innocent people of South Sudan start to inquiry what is wrong with their president? Why President Kirr does not seem to care of his deprived people that are crossing the tiny roads in Juba which comprise of the blind, the disabled, the deaf, children and the elderly people?
When these poor people of the South Sudan suddenly realize the President’s motorcade is coming, they hurriedly run to avoid being fatally crashed like bugs, which is still difficult for the blind, disabled, deaf, children, and elderly people due to their physical conditions in life, and I begin to question what is really wrong with the President of the Republic of the South Sudan?
It was few days ago when my friend and I came across the motorcade of the President Kirr on one of the busier small streets in Juba. I was terrifyingly shocked with the speed of the motorcade and how people ran away to empty a tiny road, and I thought it would be salient to know the health situation of President Kiir himself.
Universally, it is required in the democratic countries that a president’s physical and mental health status should as a rule be in good condition in order for the president to govern the country effectively.
It is more practical in the Western World that even presidential candidates publicize their medical data before an election period.
Citizens of these Western democratic nations demand their leaders to be medically transparent because it is important that decisions made by their leaders are not derived by the leaders with questionable medical conditions.
Is the President, Kirr, abundantly transparent to the people of South Sudan about his “deteriorating health?”
Does he know that accidents occur due to the reckless driving and “irresponsible over-speeding” by his motorcade on these narrow roads in Juba?
Does President Kiir really care about the poor South Sudanese people when he goes to inspect his cows or visit the church or any of his followers social events?
In normal situations except in Juba, the Ambulance is meant to rescue the innocent people on the roads who are usually crashed by the President’s motorcade.
This challenge is really true in Juba even though records show in several occasions that many victims have never received any medical assistance, leave alone any due compensations to the number of civilians and animals killed, mimed, and terrified.
Beside the roads, what else does President Kirr satisfy the country if his health is in fair shape?
Let’s say the first scenario is correct, that President Kiir is very aware of his health status, but he shies to disclose it to the public because he could countenance the loss his job, and since it is not a South Sudanese culture, why care?
Pres. Bashir, from former mother country, does that, as well as Kiir’s new mentor father in Uganda. Why would he care? The close circles of the President dismiss health restrictions by saying it is “normal” for the President to utilize South Sudanese Ambulances even though it draws negative conclusion that President Kirr’s health might be in question.
The South Sudanese Transitional Constitution stipulates in Article (102) (d)(e) that “The office of the President shall fall vacant in any of the followings: (d) Mental infirmity or physical incapacity based on an official medical report submitted by the medical commission to the Assembly for information; or (e) Death,” (Transitional Constitution, 2011).
For those that follow closely the affairs of our young nascent, the Republic of South Sudan, will agree with me that there is much concerned about the political developments in South Sudan since the Country became independent from Khartoum.
With serious trepidation, we can look at the physical and mental capacity of the President on some of the political development issues in the country.
Though President Kiir has established a regrettable relationship with his mentor father whom the country suspects for the political chaos, it is no doubt that the physical and the mental health capacity of the President could be questioned.
Here are some of the examples that should trigger President’s medical health question:
• Decision to shut down oil flow;
• Decision to go to war in Panthou (Heglieg);
• Decision to issue letters to 75 officials but not following them up;
• Dismissal of the Governors (Lakes and Unity States);
• Killing of civilians demonstrating in Wau, Western Bar El Ghazal State;
• Killings of the Murle in Jonglei State;
• Suspension of Ministers Deng Alor Kuol and Kosti Manibe Ngai;
• Dissolution of the entire cabinet;
• Dismissal of the Vice President Dr. Riek Machar;
• Suspension of the Secretary General Mr. Pagan Amum;
• Restriction of Pagan Amum of his freedom to movement and expression;
• Decision to threaten Parliament to endorse Wani Igga or be dissolved;
• Decision to threaten Parliament to approve new Speaker or be dissolved;
• Decision to remove people of Abyei from civil services with no Parliament consent, and
• Decision to extend general election to 2017 or beyond!
Although the list is not exhaustive, it definitely just illustrates why the people should be more concerned about the health status of President Kiir.
Therefore, it is of utmost importance that President’s health situation is evaluated because this could be dangerous and could cause significant consequences to the future of the nation.
Even though President Kirr might receive wrong advices from his trusted circles, it is always true the last decision should always come from a person on the chair.
It is cultural that talking of the Kiir’s health might be considered a criminal offence punishable with years in prison; however, the poor people of South Sudan who elected Kiir as their President need to be included in the ongoing political debate in the Country, because President’s health can’t be left out of the political discourse.
It is critical for South Sudan as a young nation to be more transparent in any aspect, and since our Transitional Constitution possesses no term limits, it would be in our interest if our President discloses and addresses his health condition to the young nation to reduce administrative and political tension like what is happening now in the country.
The demand for President Kiir to disclose his health condition is salient because it would mitigate some political situations in the South Sudan.
Some democratic and developing governments take the issue of health status seriously, and their leaders are obliged throughout their vetting process to disclose their health reports.
Unfortunately, Africa has also witnessed a number of African Presidents who passed away in office due to undisclosed poor health situations which included:
• Ethiopian Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi
• President of Ghana, John Evans Atta Mills
• President of Malawi, Bingu Wa Mutharika
• President of Nigeria, Sani Abacha
• President of Nigeria, Omar Yar Adwa
God forbid, but if the position of the President Kirr falls vacant as it is stipulated in South Sudan Transitional Constitution, how could the people of the South Sudan remember President Kiir when considering all the messes we have seen which may be attributed to his physical and mental infirmity?
Therefore, it is legally and constitutionally imperative that we know where our President’s health stands today.
Simon M. Deng is a South Sudanese activist. He lives in Juba, Sudan and can be reached: firstname.lastname@example.org