By Duop Chak Wuol
March 22, 2018 (SSNA) — It was a common perception in Adolf Hitler’s Germany that working as an assassin for the notorious Nazi’s secret police, the Geheime Staatspolizei (Gestapo), was a noble career in the Deutschland. It is now clear that South Sudanese President Salva Kiir has adopted Gestapo-like tactics to terrorize the people of South Sudan. Kiir’s use of a Gestapo against his critics, political opponents, and civilians is not just wrong, it is hauntingly familiar and a threat to the very existence of South Sudan.
Most politicians like to make bold political statements, proclaiming better days ahead for their citizens or countries even when they know their promises are unjustified—or, rather, absurdly imaginary. This is also the case in the minds of many ruthless tyrants. In Kiir’s mind, it is all about killing anyone who refuses to abide by his cruelty, imposing an ethnic reign, looting state resources, and blaming it on unidentified culprits or unknown gunmen whom he owns. This is exactly what Hitler did when he conducted a brutal campaign against those he believed to oppose to his leadership. It should be clear to the people of South Sudan that Kiir is a modern admirer of Gestapo methods who believes that he can kill with impunity and remain untouchable.
There are many similarities between Kiir’s unknown gunmen and the Gestapo’s assassins. For many years, Kiir’s unknown gunmen have terrorized, arrested, tortured, kidnapped, and killed people, and yet none of the assassins have ever been put on trial. The reason why Kiir did not use his submissive Judges to punish members of his killing squad is the fact that he is the one who employed them to commit atrocities on his behalf.
What intrigued me about Kiir is the fact that he likes to accuse people who he disagrees with of wrongdoing. He believes that anyone who refuses to abide by his brutality is wrong and that such a person deserves punishment. For example, Kiir, with the help of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, orchestrated a scheme to make his rivals look as if they were working on a plan to topple his government. He put his plan in motion on December 15, 2013 by accusing them of plotting a coup, presenting groundless evidence to support his self-managed claim, and then turning around to blame them for being the ones who started the war by attempting to remove him from power. This was, in fact, a colossal lie. Kiir later used this misleading allegation against his opponents the morning following the outbreak of war. He declared that his then-deputy Dr. Riek Machar, along with many senior leaders of the Sudan People’s s Liberation Movement (SPLM), planned a coup against his government and that some of the plotters were detained. Kiir also demonstrated this seemingly blame-the-victim strategy in July 2016 after he colluded with Taban Deng Gai to try to assassinate Machar at Juba one (J1). Most South Sudanese were shocked when they saw Kiir accusing Machar of starting the J1 fighting. Kiir’s policy of blaming the victims is the same tactic Hitler used against his rivals.
The recent politically motivated death conviction of former Machar’s spokesman, James Gatdet Dak, and South African William John Endley has exposed Kiir’s deceit in a stunning way. The decision by the court proves that Kiir’s mentality is no different from the former Nazi leader, who was very good at targeting his critics. Kiir, through his sycophantic Judges, alleged that Dak committed treasonous acts and that Endley was a spy for the rebel leader Machar. Kiir then falsely blamed the two men for being the masters of their legal troubles — troubles that were carefully fabricated at J1 and given to a Kangaroo court in Juba to punish the men. All the charges labeled against both men were unreasonable in merit. The truth is that Mr. Dak was a critic of Kiir’s regime and Mr. Endley was simply an ordinary South African who happened to be a friend of Machar. In a logical sense, Juba’s tyrant does not want anyone who likes Riek Machar. The man has developed a very serious hatred towards Riek Machar. His hatred for the rebel leader has reached the level of madness. Kiir’s policy of rewarding the killers and punishing the victims reminds me of an ancient King who is consumed by the fantasy of wanting to make people embrace his cruelty, justify his atrocities, and glorify his madness.
The real reason behind the convictions was simply an attempt by Kiir to tell his critics that he is capable of punishing anyone who criticizes his leadership — this is exactly how Hitler operated through his Gestapo-managed courts. Kiir’s decision to use a court to punish Dak and Endley is probably the biggest act of hypocrisy to ever be committed in South Sudan. There are many people who have carried out far more serious crimes than Endley and Dak, and these people are still working for Kiir’s government. So, if Kiir wants to punish people, he could have started with his tribal militiamen who massacred innocent Nuer civilians in December 2013, crooked elites, and former ministers who looted hundreds of millions of dollars. Salva Kiir is simply not a national leader as I indicated in some of my preceding writings. His actions will be an indisputable living testimony in the history of South Sudan. The man is simply too destructive for the country. For instance, prior to the outbreak of the war in Juba, Kiir became increasingly brutal, visibly enraged, spoke out in a tribally-motivated tone, and publicly recalled past divisive events. This was a dangerous move displayed by the very person whom the people thought was their leader. I believe Kiir’s political opponents also contributed to what was then a looming political tragedy by not speaking out against his divisive language. All these actions led Kiir to falsely accuse his rivals of planning a bogus coup, which resulted in a spate of targeted killings in Juba — it was a gruesome display of his leadership that went down in history as his biggest political blunder.
The South Sudanese tyrant has turned the country into a graveyard for greedy empires. It is good to remind people that the empires in question are Uganda, Egypt, Ukraine, Morocco, Kenya, and Eritrea. There is no doubt in my mind that these nations are the main investors in Kiir’s atrocious regime and benefited from the ongoing war, all in complete disregard of humanity. The leaders of these greedy countries are fueling the conflict by dressing up in sheep’s clothing, crying peace, and shedding crocodile tears. Kiir always likes to accuse his critics of treason and other crimes, but he is the one who should be accused of committing treasonous acts because he has sold South Sudan to these greedy kingdoms. Salva Kiir has no feeling for any loss of life unless such a loss poses a direct threat to his own life. Kiir is a cold-blooded leader who would kill, smile, and then blame the victim. What I find puzzling about his tyrannical mindset is that he does not recognize the fact that those who feel oppressed by his leadership have the right to fight for their rights; be they cultural, social, economic, or political rights. It is worth mentioning that many dictators who persistently oppressed their citizens ended up facing serious ramifications. This is what happened with Hitler: he announced that those who opposed his leadership had no reason to live, yet he ended up being the victim of his own brutality. If this is what Kiir wants, then he must publicly declare that he is the enforcer of a 21st century Gestapo and that he has decided to deny the South Sudanese much-needed democratic changes. Kiir is now the obstacle to the democratization and development of South Sudan. The only reasonable thing for him to do now is to denounce his destructive leadership and vacate the presidency.
Salva Kiir’s leadership is built on the ideology of a tribal supremacy. He empowers ethnic ideas created by the hooligans of the infamous Jieng Council of Elders (JCE), deceives everyone in his inner circle, and robs the people of South Sudan from their national pride by cunningly changing the constitution to legitimize his tyranny. The sheer size of his crimes is appalling for any reasonable person to comprehend. If there are people who still support Kiir’s Nazi mentality, then I would argue that allowing him to continue ruling the young nation will be a bonanza for his viciousness. The Republic of South Sudan is now a modern version of a Gestapo-run state where everyone is expected to think sycophantically. The South Sudanese must not allow Kiir’s Nazi mindset to give birth to a Gestapo baby with a “kill with impunity” statement written on its forehead.
The author can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.