S.Sudan President Personalizes National Anthem

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Salva Kiir , President of  south sudan has reportedly banned the singing of the country’s national anthem at any public event in his absence.

According to reports by South Sudan’s independent radio, Eye Radio, the directive was announced by the minister of Information Michael Makuei after the weekly cabinet meeting last weekend.

Singing the national anthem in Kiir’s absence tantamount to misuse according to Makuei. 

“We’ve seen that the anthem is played even when the ministers, undersecretaries, the governor or state ministers attend any function. This order should be observed because the anthem is not meant for everybody…It’s been observed that the national anthem is been played all over.” Makuei is quoted as saying by Eye Radio.

“Everybody is playing the national anthem. For the information of everybody, the national anthem is only meant for the president, and functions attended by him.”

It is not immediately clear why Kiir has chosen to personalise of the national anthem, normally a national symbol and identity. South Sudan became an independent state in July 2011 after breaking away from the upper Sudan following a referendum and Kiir has been president ever since. 

The new development comes at a time when Kiir has agreed to face-to-face talks with South Sudanese opposition leader Riek Machar, a step that could energize the lagging talks on a government for the civil war-wracked country.

In a letter dated July 8 and sent to President Kiir’s security adviser, Tut Gatluak, Machar said he is ready to talk with the president as long as he can freely move about in South Sudan. The Kiir administration invited Machar to meet with Kiir after the government and opposition groups missed a May deadline to form a transitional government of national unity. The period was extended for another six months.

In the letter viewed by VOA, Machar said he will meet Kiir to discuss the challenges of implementing pre-transition activities since recent months have passed “without substantial progress.”

 Representatives of the various parties who sit on the National Pre-Transitional Committee have held several meetings on implementing the peace deal.

Machar urged Kiir to “make a special request” to the Transitional Military Council in Khartoum, where he said he’s being held under house arrest. He wants Sudanese authorities to transport him to Juba and back to Khartoum after the talks.

Stephen Par Kuol, SPLM-IO secretary for foreign relations, said Machar should be able to go wherever he wants once Machar arrives in South Sudan.

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