Wednesday, May 4, 2022

*Is President Kiir a teetotaler or a complete...?

"Should Biar develop some tact and finesse in his activism?  Yes! Finesse and nuanced articulations are public relations necessities Biar must learn because focusing on Kiir’s personal failings creates distractions that move us away from important issues Biar discusses internationally and regionally."

Yes, I know, some of the things
Dr. Biar Ajak said during his appearance on Nairobi-based KTN News are not part of the activism many of us would recommend. Discussing President Kiir's public inebriation sounded like a conversation between two friends on the weekend over nyama choma and some beers at the comfort of their home.

 The Kenyan journalist sounded like a gossip not a journalist (Well, I don't know what being a "journalist" means these days! But that's beside the point!).

 Biar may have let the excitement of the moment carry him away. We must note, however, that Biar is always on point when it comes to the failures of the government in Juba even if we may not agree with how he articulates his positions.

 He is an activist not an opposition politician so his occasional overzealousness should be excused. We may perhaps suggest using filters when it comes to media appearances because "journalists" these days prioritize a good narrative over facts.

 It is difficult to know these days what is an opinion and what is a journalistic “this is what happened!” Even Journalists in world-class television programs and newspapers editorialize what should be a mere description of the old time, “what happened!”

 But there is a bright side to Biar's schadenfreude.

 This may sound silly, but this is a wake-up call for those around the president. Why does a man who is not even seventy walk like a hundred-year-old? Why does the president occasionally appear inebriated without his aides or advisors realizing that such unsavory appearances do not do justice to president's moral and political standing in South Sudan and in the region?

 I'm looking at the bright side of what Biar said for its practical importance. If you don't want Biar to say what he said then don't make the president appear the way he appeared in public.

 Are there people around the president who enjoy seeing the president inebriated and sickly? If the answer is "no" then why does this happened time and again?

 Those who care about Kiir Mayardit should now, I suggest, ensure that the president is protected from unsavory public displays.

 I've always said that President Kiir is being let down by those around him. The president is allowed to step out while looking either sickly or inebriated.

Biar and the KTN journalist may have been somewhat informal and tactless, but they discussed a FACT we can no longer ignore. Let's ensure that the president does not appear drunk in public instead of berating those pointing out that apparent fact. Biar wasn’t telling us what is merely inside Biar’s mind; it’s something we can all see.

If the president's advisors cannot protect him, then I think it's time for Kiir's children to protect their FATHER. Kiir's advisors make him sound and look like a fool. How is that support? How is that care? How is that respect? How is that patriotism?

In South[ern] Sudan first government website, President Kiir was described in his profile as a teetotaler. I thought it was strange that they needed to mention that on a government website. That they thought it was necessary to mention that on the government website raised a red flag for me because most of us know that President Kiir is not a teetotaller.

While I, like many of you, don't agree with Biar's schadenfreude at the expense of President Kiir, I think we need to redirect our attention and anger at Kiir's advisors because Biar is only an observer who is stating a fact with which we are all familiar.

Should Biar develop some tact and finesse in his activism?  Yes! Finesse and nuanced articulations are public relations necessities Biar must learn because focusing on Kiir’s personal failings creates distractions that move us away from important issues Biar discusses internationally and regionally.

 We must talk about possible solutions for inter-ethnic killings, deadly floods, hunger, economic stagnation, political incompetence, corruption, political intimidation, gender-based violence, child-marriage, bad schools, bad roads, bad hospitals, bad leadership…You get the point.

 As South Sudanese, we need to prioritize solutions rather than dwelling on problems with which most of us are familiar. Dwelling on problems without solutions is the reason why SPLM leaders failed South Sudanese.


* Kuir ë Garang is the editor of The Philosophical Refugee.

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