OpEd, Politics

I was a good citizen until they broke my heart

Sometimes, people make me angry for nothing. Is it necessary for a citizen to meet his/her president? Yes, it is. But it is more necessary for those citizens who need to meet their president.

In 2018 at All Saints Cathedral where prayers for Yirol plane crash victims were conducted, mourners queued up to greet President Salva Kiir Mayardit. I joined the queue. I was right because I was a mourner too. If it comes to whether or not I was a citizen, I was a citizen and I’m still a citizen. If it comes to whether or not I was fit to meet my President, I was more than fit to meet him.

All people were allowed to meet him. When I say all people, I mean all people, including the ordinary ones. So, without thinking twice, I joined the line. But one big challenge was that I was in the segment of the line dominated by people with big bellies. I had no other option to go for. I tried forging a big belly but it did not work out. So, I just forgot it and moved on with my flat stomach.

One long, rude-looking man with black goggles kept an eye on me. He was in a black suit and standing outside the line. Every time I moved forward an inch, he could strictly look at me. He did it three times. I then felt uneasy. I told myself this must be a bodyguard of the big man. I was like, if I leave the line, it would be a problem and if I continue, it would too be a problem. So, I found continuing with the line a lighter problem than quitting the line.

When I was about to take a step forward again, the man reached for my tiny arm and dragged me out of the line. I did not resist him. I had once seen a person who resisted a security personnel and the way he was tortured, I could not bear it at all. As he was dragging me away, he told me to forget going there. If you want to be safe, be far from here, he added. I did not fear him but the manner in which he talked to me told me this guy must be dangerous.

You know what, security personnel who approach softly are more dangerous than those who start with whipping and slapping people. Those who whip people, to me, should be re-trained. He returned to his business and I remained standing to take the data of those who qualified to meet President Salva Kiir Mayardit. I took the data very well. So, why was I removed from the line? The line was for both ordinary people and VIPs. So, why me?

Was it because I lacked a protruded belly? If so, then why do they allow VP Prof. James Wani Igga to meet President Salva Kiir Mayardit? Why do they allow Dr. Bak Barnaba Chol? Why do they allow Hon. Puot Kang? And so many others who have no big bellies. Was it because I have never held any position in the government? Is the SPLM Youth League not part of the government? I was the Chairperson of the defunct Nyang County SPLM Youth League. Can this not qualify me to meet my President? Was I seen as too infectious to infect the president?

What was it really? This is not a small thing. It has abraded a healed wound. I was removed from the line in 2005 when the late Dr. John Garang de Mabior visited Yirol. Many people got a chance to greet him. Other people even greeted him more than twice. When I drew closer, I was whipped back and that was the end. No one was again allowed to greet him. Unlucky me!

When Dr. John Garang died and the body was taken to Rumbek, I was not removed from the line of people who passed near the coffin to pay their tributes. I paid my tribute and cursed the soldier who did not let me shake hands with Dr. John Garang when he was alive. Who installed a gun in me? Who has charmed me to be always seen a threat by personnel? I’m harmless. Even more than harmless. I’m a good citizen. A very good one, I tell you. I’m not desperate to meet the president but I have an important word of blessing to tell him. It is not an old man alone who blesses, even a young man like me can bless too.

It is a constitutional right of a citizen to meet his/her president, whether in office or outside the office. If I was reported that I’m a citizen who does not keep quiet and that, I must not shake hands with the president, then get informed that a person who tells you to go the right way is not an enemy but a great friend. I tell you, a very great friend.

Comments are closed.