In the aftermath of war, it is common for people to reassess what is important in life, or what we want to do with our lives now that we have survived such a horrific time. War also throws our leaders into a sharp comparison with each other; they are divided between those who are banded together against us—against their own people—and those leaders who act in our protection. Within this second group of leaders, there are also those whose actions catch the attention of all of us as a people.
I’m not easily impressed by self-centered individuals, especially when they use certain misleading language to sway people. Instead, my admiration of leaders comes from observing well-rounded and competent leaders. Thankfully, I can assure you that the Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Michael Makuei Lueth, falls in these categories of excellent leaders. He has done exceptionally well in his role, and this is a sign of true national—a leader who is loyal to the people’s government. You would be lying if you said Michael Makuei has not done wonderful job fighting for the people both before and during peace negotiations. Perhaps he disagreed with you, or with your uncles, father, brothers, sisters, mothers, friends, or others, but that doesn’t make him an incompetent public figure or less of a man. Makuei Lueth is Makuei Lueth, and he will remain that way, protecting the welfare of the people whether you like it or not. He does what is right and what is best for the people of South Sudan, even if it means ruffling some feathers along the way.
As a lawyer by training, Makuei is known for his fierce way of tackling problems without fear, and this approach separates him from a number of public figures. When the Minister was first appointed by H. E. President Salva Kiir Mayardit, people had mixed reactions, although Mr. Michael Makuei himself seemed to fit number of jobs. Amidst the anticipation of being appointed as the highest Minister of Legal Affairs in the country, there were other unfounded rumors about a different position that Makuei might take, but the President knew where Makuei’s potential was and where he would best fit—even if some of the people did not agree with the appointment.
Fortunately, those people who doubted him underestimated his understanding of the position and the tasks associated with it. In fact, at one of the most trying times in the country’s young history, a softer, less confrontational voice would have been very detrimental to the country’s progress amidst the chaos. People needed a serious voice, and that voice was and still is the Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Mr. Michael Makuei, who has been very constructive in his attempts to protect the interests of the South Sudanese people throughout the peace process. Makuei has been very informative during this strenuous time, and he gained the confidence of many more people based on his responses to grievances that had been overshadowed by the peace negotiations. Every time he said something, I felt harbored by his adequate responses. His ability to fully understand and express views of the people during peace process was clear and fully addressed.
Michael Makuei knows how to protect what belongs to all of us—our rights to the country and our dignity—and that’s why I feel he deserves my respect and your respect as a leader. He has shown the usefulness of being a public figure, which maximized his credit in the eyes of South Sudan’s citizens. This trust then triggered a better understanding about the meaning and the significance of being a citizen of this country. Makuei developed an outstanding legacy of protecting people and their interests, and nothing can be more impressive in a leader.
Our country is not seasonal or temporary; therefore, it is worth standing up and doing what we can to reduce the immeasurable pain of our people. As we raised the flag of our newly independent nation, a desire grew within many of us—a desperate desire to appreciate bigger things for their own good. We began to gravitate towards those motivated leaders, while we tried to avoid those people with childlike behaviors who were more likely to instigate the public. Unfortunately, those instigators are very vocal, so the worst may have a chance of happening again, especially at a time when the country has yet to stabilize. We must do what we can to follow in the footsteps of leaders like Michael Makuei.
For example, a citizen-centered community association has a chance of benefiting the community at large, so we must encourage those groups. It is remarkable how Michael Makuei has been very tough and serious, standing against those who would dig our country’s grave. It takes collective works in order for the country to revive its economy and social life on various fronts, which would then reconstruct people’s lives. We must stay positive and strive to come together, instead of using spiteful language that only fuels our differences.
Like every country, our priority is peace and prosperity, which we don’t have right now. Unfortunately, hidden agendas are driving the country’s resources to certain individuals, and therefore, we are in dire need of someone like Makuei on the side of the people. It has also become very clear that foreign countries are taking advantage of our current situation. There has been pervasive economic exploitation coupled with a number of other problems, and together, these issues often leave us floundering.
Historically, where do we belong as citizens? We are not like those people who are killing their way into power. Our primary vehicle for identifying our problems and resolving them is in the hands of our fellow citizens and in the hands of honest leaders. It has become rare for our South Sudanese people to respond to our own issues to some degree. As a result, we are more susceptible to outside influences. Children who have barely hatched are becoming shockingly violent, and we must stop it now before it gets worse. Even though what we need the most is development in the country, we have to ensure that we are developing into the kind of country we have all envisioned.
I am very certain that the international community can help in our country, but I am also sure that we have the capacity to develop our country on our own, which could assuage our concerns. Right now, there is a lack of competition in our country, because we are all one nation. That commitment to unity might change if the structure of the country changes. For instance, I don’t want to draw deceptive conclusions, but the President may change his mind on the creation of 28 states, which would then open up a host of many new concerns. In the wake of considerable change, our proposition for other improvements might be left behind.
In general, people feel violated when the President reverses important decisions that were taken to heart by the citizens. The President must respect our whole country as sovereign; therefore, certain decisions must be maintained and protected as the right of the people. Recently, the President proved that people collectively endorsed his decisions (with the exception of a few rebel-held areas). But popular support for one course of action shouldn’t be the reason to reverse what people want in other situations. Please, no reverse.
Based on the materials presented to The Washington Times, the President said that during challenges, it is up to the government to make certain decisions, “because a government must lead,” and this is exactly what we would like the government to continue to do. There are no exact standards to be followed other than the desires of the people, so why should the President feel the need to revisit every decision ever made? I am aware that the endorsement of the President is well perceived across-the-board, and that opinion must be respected. Yet amidst these crises in the country, most people who are politically aware and socially conscious, like Michael Makuei, have been very vocal about the corrupt peace agreement proposed and later signed by IGAD Plus.
Personally, I have spotted a number of public figures whose questionable actions were hard to believe throughout the conflict. Such incalculable damage was done by some of our leaders, and those actions are quite difficult to comprehend as citizens who rely on our leaders to protect our welfare. Unlike those leaders with questionable intent, Mr. Makuei didn’t appreciate an offhand approach to the peace negotiation. Even though the results of the negotiation were shocking and the citizens were heavily numb to it all, Makuei emphasized again on this very idea that the “government must lead.”
In his case, Makuei’s convictions are well-aligned with the strong sovereignty of South Sudan as a nation; therefore, he sees nothing in the peace agreement, because it lacks honesty, integrity, and finally, it lacks reliability. This stance is aligned with his belief that the peace agreement may not have durability due to complex circumstances associated with the agreement, and thus, it may not sustain a healthy or viable South Sudan. Even with pressure from the international community—as they believe that there is not an abundance of time for more peace negotiations—some of our politicians are still rash with their opinions and careless with their decisions. While many leaders have employed this aloof approach when they needed to, Michael Makuei has spearheaded a number of concerns within South Sudanese politics. He does so, first, by forbidding anyone to tarnish the government, and second, by making sure the position of the government is well-presented and protected on the world stage. You need this kind man in your team.
At this point in time, we don’t have the metrics to measure what every public figure like Makuei has accomplished before and after the signing of the unworthy peace agreement. For some inexplicable reason, no one knows what this vague peace agreement will actually bring to our people. We must instill our faith in the very few individuals, like Makuei, who have excelled at carrying out their duties. Makuei has projected very impressive and articulate ideas on issues that matter to the South Sudanese, and we can only hope that he sees these ideas through to fruition.
As an individual, I have been desperate for peace, but the IGAD Plus peace that was proposed and signed may not led to real results, but I appreciate reserved part of the government. It would seem that self-destructive politics has taken root deep inside of many of us. This mentality has then created even more differences that continue to drive us apart, because there are already those in our country who do not support this peace agreement, regardless of whether it is controversial or not. The South Sudanese people have seen the biased nature of the peace that was proposed by IGAD Plus and the western world.
Through it all, the Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Michael Makuei, has encapsulated how we want our country to be represented. In his case, the process of voting has delivered to us the right authority figure for the job. As citizens, we must proceed beyond voting to continue supporting our great leaders like Michael Makuei Lueth.
This article was written by Deng Kur Deng, AKA, Raanmangar. You can reach him at: firstname.lastname@example.org