DEMOKIIRACY: LAST CHANCE FOR SALVA KIIR TO PICK UP ‘MO IBRAHIM PRIZE’ AND ‘MANDELA II OF AFRICA’ TITLE?
NB: This post was from my “Old Flame” published on December 6, 2013 in reaction to Mandela’s death… (https://www.facebook.com/penndengong)
History is a good god of its own. It has the ability to bestow and also withdraw. It has two faces, and can alternate them in two phases accordingly. The faces of the historical coin are faith and fate. One face is human in nature; the other is God’s. If a man shows one, history changes the other. This means if a person is faithful to history, history will in turn be not fateful to that one. This is seen in Mandela’s biography: human in the beginning, god in the ending—humanity in phase I, spirituality in phase II. However, for Salva Kiir Mayardit, I am afraid! Having seen how far and fast in his sleeping he is slipping into the wrong side of the two-faceted coin of history, he has this day (December 6) to borrow a leaf from Mandela in his funeral or lose it all to too bad legacy, methinks!
This year, 2013, history has presented two vacancies for an African faithful servant to grab and squeeze his or her name into. One, nobody has won the prestigious Ibrahim Prize for Achievements in African Leadership in 2013. According to digital news sources, the world’s biggest cash award is lying idle on the table for the second year in a row. The prize committee headed by former O/AU’s Secretary General, (Rtd.) Salim Ahmed Salim, in London for the Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership, have decided that no one merited the award. The Ibrahim Prize, which is paid for by the Sudanese telecoms billionaire Mo Ibrahim, but decided by the committee, is the largest cash prize in the world, amounting to $5m over 10 years and then $200,000 annually for life. What an ideal deal for the next Mandelas of Africa!
It is awarded to African leaders who provide a strong role model to others and who have stepped down voluntarily from power. Aha, I like that phrase ‘stepped down VOLUNTARILY’. Since the prize was launched in 2007, it has only been awarded three times. The first (and the best according to this author) was to Cape Verde’s President Pedro de Verona Rodrigues Pires (2011), Botswana’s President Festus Gontebanye Mogae (2008) and Mozambique’s President Joaquim Alberto Chissano (2011). That means Mama Africa had not given birth to worthy leaders for the prizes of 2009, 2010, 2012 and now 2013…(and maybe even 2014, given the current political barometer readings across the continent).
This prize seems so tantalizing, very mouth-watering, indeed! I wish I were Kiir. Imagine 5 million dollars (Obama’s papers) for the next 10 years and 200,000 FOR LIFE (kudos to the young retirees)! But given our African style of democracy, full of leaders but no leadership, the leaders whose main aim is to dip one’s hand deep into the coffers of the people’s offers (treasures). Of course, this amount is just a pocket money to an average kleptomaniac African dictator, especially the brand of our heroes who could burn, and then fail to account for, over 4 billion dollars a year!
Two, as if that is not enough. There is this rare vacancy created by the Father of African Democracy, Nelson Rohalhalha Mandela. He passed on just less than 24 hours from the time I am advertizing his vacancy like this. Before I ‘nepotically’ appoint my uncle for that iconic title holder, let us see first among the current African leaders who could dare the post. To me, only one may attempt to try on the shoes of Madiba, but on very numerous conditions.
First, it should be noted that Mandela has set a record too high to dare, leave alone break, for our current African leaders. When I mention ‘current African leaders’, I want you to mirror a picture of a bunch of dictators hell bent on amending national and international laws to keep and treat them with a ‘colonialism-free’ dignity in power, something I call ‘immunity by impunity’.
Biblically speaking, all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of democracy. Ours being modeled here is so unique and rich in niche that I would call it ‘DemoKiiracy’!
Nelson Mandela has three unique records, set forth very straight…a freedom fighter, a statesman and a peacemaker. Hey, Salva Kiir Mayardit, president of the two-and-half-year-old Republic of South Sudan is my candidate for the award. However, whether my candidate has a candid date with democracy is not my judgment but for Salim Ahmed Salim and the Ibrahim’s Prize Committee.
This dilemma already brings me to the much dreaded question I asked in a leadership-media forum that we used to run in the run up to our national independence in 2011. “Is any of you in the GoSS (Government of Southern Sudan) and the SPLM (Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement) ready to make for us a ‘Mandela of South Sudan’ after the independence?” I asked the Panel, comprising Gier Chuang Aluong, the then Minister for Interior and Gabriel Changson Chang, Minister for Information and Broadcasting of the time in Millennium Restaurant, Juba.
My ‘suicide mission’ question (according to South Sudanese feelings) did not only leave my fellow journalists and civil society leaders with mouths gaping but also threw the panel members into confusion. “Er…this will be addressed in the ongoing Constitution of Southern Sudan; but is really a good question,” said Changson, who is a chairperson of another political party. Gen. Gier was lukewarm, suggesting that it depends on the will and choice of the people of South/ern Sudan who will evaluate their leaders on the achievements.
Of course, winning independence for the long-oppressed people was even qualifying enough to earn one an automatic Nobel Peace Prize (valued at only 1 million dollars) compared to 5 million of the African Leadership award. For reasons not known to me but to the news editor at SSTV (Truly African?), the clip of that media-leaders forum was played several times for the three months of the advent of Independence scheduled to July 9, 2011. While conducting a campaign in Torit in March 2011, a friend called me and warned me that my question was causing jitters at J1 as being repeatedly replayed on SSTV. That I should ask the editor to pull it down or expect some further questioning for ‘who is behind’ my agitation! But the role of the media is to set the agenda, not ‘set the agitation’.
Thank God, before the question went viral into a discussion, I was relieved by a source privy to the Ministry of Information that the monotonous program was pulled down on orders from above, probably due to that question of somebody to make a Mandela out of the leadership of South Sudan. In other words, the question alludes to President Kiir handing over the power democratically and peacefully the Mandela style. By testing the waters and tasting the orders of democracy barely a few months to the declaration of our independence, that was the day I learned that nobody in our would-be independent country would win Mo Ibrahim’ Prize or Mandela’s title before or upto 2020.
In conclusion, if Kiir had to do unto Mandela’s will, he would proudly own the title ‘Father of the Nation’. This title is not bestowed by virtue raising the flag and pulling a big party of independence. It is given as an accolade to the job well done. But, I am afraid, with the way our political race is going downstream at a breakneck speed now, Kiir may end up with a work hell done by the end of his tenure i.e. with a broken nation to hand over!
Nevertheless, he still has time to make us hang portraits of him in our boardrooms as well as bedrooms,use his name faithfully (not forcefully) on streets, schools, hospitals, etc. If Salva Kiir does us the next Mandela, I will hang his picture on my neck like Christ’s. Doing it otherwise will make not me alone to hang his portrait on the skeletons of the victims of their power struggle in genocide museums the Rwanda way (God forbid).
With the deadline running too close, in a nutshell, General Salva Kiir Mayardit has (not) only two, but even three, titles to chase after. The three are for free, only on condition that he delivers a people out of slavery non-violently, organize and hand over to them peaceful elections, and then give a clean, well balanced sheet of financial accountability…and then cap it up with willingness to replicate the same values to the entire continent and the outer world.
Unfortunately, as the Bible says, the soul is willing but the body is unable, Kiir may take the title on condition that he does not frustrate his ethnically radicalized nation into fighting/scrambling for power. Unfortunately, President Kiir will not resist the temptation of power, especially the manipulation by his ‘looternants’ (Lieutenants). He will be forced to force his way to elections, as seen in the frustration of his SPLM colleagues now, and this may cost him the title of the next Mandela of Africa!
Tong-du-ku-tong-die…! My childhood bet towards 2014/15!