By Deng Gai Gatluak,
May 19, 2016(Nyamilepedia) —- Freedom of speech is the concept of the inherent human right to voice one’s opinion publicly without fear of censorship or punishment. “Speech” is not limited to public speaking, but generally taken to include other forms of expression. This fundamental human right is stipulated under article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1949) and article 24 of the Transitional Constitution of South Sudan (2011).
If there is truism, it’s the fact criticism is an inevitable part and parcel of humanity! If you’re a leader, you must expect criticism. If you are not being criticized, you are probably not a leader. The issue is not whether or not you will be the subject of criticism; the greater issue is how you should respond. Criticism can be tough to deal with when emotions, personalities, egos and tribalism come out to play and unfortunately this is what is happening in South Sudan.
My personal research shows that up to 80% of our self-talk, political discourse and responds to criticism against our leaders are habitually negative and consistently brimful of defensive tribal politics. This is an absolute impact of tribal hatred, presume suspicion and fear of unknown, reason being, we allowed ourselves overwhelmed by the destructive spirits of tribalism and blindly become defensive to criticism against our leaders.
Consequently, we presumably think that if at all a “Nuer” guy criticized Salva Kiir on his role as a leader, then that gesture manifests criticism against Dinka as a Community and on the other hand, if a “Dinka” guy does to Dr. Riek Machar, the same mentality surfaces of which this is a complete misplaced reality.
My dear citizens of the land, this is what is killing our Country and people are gradually developing skepticism to freedom of expression for fear of being branded tribalist when criticizing leaders from a certain community, notwithstanding the fact that the criticism might perhaps be a constructive criticism against the said leader for the sake of nation building. Eventually, we might probably afterwards zip our mouths and allow our rights strip away from us while the politicians continue utilizing the fracture of our social fabric and accumulate wealth. Give it a thought!
Conclusively, my dear Countrymen and women, let’s advance a sincere spirit of constructive criticism and separate leaders from their communal affiliations by refraining from generalize political rhetoric in order to establish a healthy political arena in our beloved Country. Criticize Salva Kiir as a leader and not as a Dinka and vice versa to Dr. Riek Machar as leader and not as a Nuer. Let’s wake up and “separate the sheep from the goats”.
Long Live South Sudan! One People! One Nation!
The author is a public law lawyer: Specializing in public international law; Human Rights, International Humanitarian law, Constitution and administrative law. Currently pursuing Master of Laws (LL.M) at Girne American University, Turkey. Former Child Protection Coordinator at Dak Organization for Relief and Development-DORD and Can be reach via; +905338330664 or email@example.com.
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