JUBA – South Sudan President Salva Kiir has on Monday, July 22, banned singing of the national anthem at any public event in his absence.
The directive was announced on Friday, July, 20 by the Minister of Information, Michael Makuei after the weekly cabinet meeting over the weekend.
The directive notes that the National Song is being misused, especially by government officials.
“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,” Hon Makuei explained.
Speaking to the press, Hon Makuei said the instruction states that the national anthem shall be sung only in the presence of the President.
“It’s been observed that the national anthem is been played all over. 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.” Hon Makuei stated.
The South Sudan anthem is usually played or sung during National holidays, especially during the Independence Day celebrations, and is also performed during cultural and other festivals in the country.
The anthem serves as an expression of national identity. And it also reminds the youngest African state of its history, struggles, and traditions of the nation and its people.
Hon Makuei said President Kiir’s directive also warns all Commanders in their respective forces to stop and resign from speaking at public occasions.
“They have the choice either to leave the uniform and go to the public and be politicians and be free to speak in public rallies,” Hon Makuei said. Adding that; “Even if you are attending any function, please keep away. Don’t talk because that is not your field.”
Even though the motive behind the ban still remains unclear, people of South Sudan are suspecting that the directive stemmed after the newly appointed Chief of Defense Forces, General Gabriel Jok Riak in a recent statement, angered members of the public, including soldiers.
General Gabriel Jok Riak in his recent speech from the Presidential Palace in Juba on Independence Day publically told soldiers that sacrifice is more important than salary, a message that has attracted a lot of criticism from some members of the general public.
However, according to Eye Radio, a station based in Juba, the directive of President Kiir has attracted countrywide outcry by members of the public. The decision is being described as a “Mistake.”
The directive was announced by the Minister of Information, Michael Makuei.