30 March 2014

South Sudan: S. Sudan's Kiir Cautions Family Members Over Private Lives

Photo: Voice of America
South Sudan President Salva Kiir

Juba — Perturbed by the way last week's media portrayal of his family member, South Sudan's President Salva Kiir has reportedly cautioned his relatives on how to conduct themselves while in public.

"I have always told you to behalf in a way that would not create inconveniences to other people, because the way you conduct yourself would be interpreted to mean different things by some people", Kiir reportedly told a family gathering on Saturday.

"The real issue would be twisted and politicized", added the South Sudanese leader.

A Kenyan daily reported on Friday that the president's 23-year old son, Manut Kiir Mayardit was briefly detained by cops after he assaulted his sister under the influence of alcohol.

This anti-social behavior is what could have prompted the head of the world's youngest nation to convene the meeting during which he caution all family members, wherever they resided, to refrain from habits that would attract public attention.

"You have to understand that you would never be alone wherever you go. So be careful with whatever you do," said Kiir, describing as "unfortunate" media's coverage of the incident.

"It is unfortunate that you would never be left to live like any other persons, which is act of interference with privacy and individual life and the people [media] who do this should know that they are stepping into other people's life", the president reportedly stressed.

CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT

Article 22 of South Sudan's Transitional Constitution states that the privacy of all persons shall be inviolable; no person shall be subjected to interference with his or her private life, family, home or correspondence, save in accordance with the law.

The article does not, however, specify which private lives should not be interfered with and whether such provisions were confined to individuals inside the country or not.

A critic of the president called the incident a "total failure" by the latter to manage his family.

"Some people may be struggling to find interpretations of this incident, but for me, it is a total failure on the part of the President to manage his own family, which is a clear reflection on how he is managing the nation," a senior member of the ruling party (SPLM) said Sunday.

"If you cannot manage your own family, it follows automatically that it won't be possible managing millions of people with different family members from different ethnic ground", added the official, who preferred anonymity.

Another critic said children learn from environments in which they are brought and that any misconduct from a member of the first family was negatively reflected on the whole nation.

"What happened it Nairobi may be construed to mean an individual, failure but it can also be interpreted to mean the failure of the whole country, because this is the conduct of the family of president of the nation", he said.

"Some people from outside South Sudan may interpret it to mean a general conduct of the people of this country. We would automatically be viewed as violence country."

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