Imagine being extremely hungry in a war-ridden country. Internally displaced, in a place you once called home. The only uplifting song which offered a glimmer of hope that one day things would get better has now been taken away. The man, who as a president, is supposed to be a recourse now holds the people’s public expression of national identity to ransom.
This is the situation in South Sudan.
South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir on Monday placed a ban on the singing of the country’s national anthem at any public event in his absence. The directive was announced by the Minister of Information, Michael Makuei after the weekly cabinet meeting.
In a statement to the AFP, Makuei expressed that different leaders and institutions were playing the anthem at whim, thereby abusing the national tune.
“For the information of everybody the national anthem is only meant for the president, in a function only attended by the president, not for everybody,” Makuei said.
South Sudan’s National Anthem
We praise and glorify you
For your grace on South Sudan
Land of great abundance
Uphold us united in peace and harmony
We rise raising flag with the guiding star
And sing songs of freedom with joy
For justice, liberty and prosperity
Shall forevermore reign
Oh great patriots!
Let us stand up in silence and respect
Saluting our martyrs whose blood
Cemented our national foundation
We vow to protect our nation
Oh God, bless South Sudan!
The words of South Sudan’s 11-year-old national anthem, which are more of prayer than a disco song, is said to have been abused and misused by individual and government officials alike. The only time this prayer, which earnestly begs that the country is upheld, united in peace and harmony is used correctly, is in the presence of the omnipotent president Kirr.
“We’ve seen that the anthem is played even when the ministers, undersecretaries, the governor or state ministers attend any function. This order should be observed because the anthem is not mean for everybody…It’s been observed that the national anthem is been played all over,”
Makuei said that only South Sudan’s embassies -which to him is the only place that represents the president- and schools where children are taught the anthem, no one is allowed to sing the song in Kiir’s absence.
Arguable, South Sudan is the most fragile state in the world, with political, security, economic and social indicators all deteriorating amid the civil conflict. More than 60 percent of the country’s 12.58 million population are extremely hungry and despite all the challenges taking a toll on the country’s institutional legacy, all that matters to Kirr is the national anthem. A misplacement of aggression.
In December 2013, Kiirr accused his former deputy Riek Machar and ten others of attempting a coup d’état. Since then, the world’s youngest nation has been fighting a series of ethnic conflict, plunging the country into a civil war.
On 27 June Kiirr and rebel leader Riek Machar signed a Ceasefire Declaration of Agreement with hopes to end ongoing crises but unfortunately, within hours it was violated.
Every sector of the country seems to be misused and the aggression is channelled to the dearly beloved national anthem. In addition to the ban on the anthem, the minister said that military leaders have also been banned from addressing the public when in uniform.