The presidential spokesperson is said to have issued a decree ordering Al Jazeera, the news channel, to immediately ‘edit out’ and ‘stop airing’ sections of a recent interview with South Sudan President Salva Kiir in which he could be seen, choking with emotions and wiping off tears from his eyes when asked about his early childhood, the suffering of his people and what gives him sleepless nights.
According to the spokesperson, the disturbing clips wrongly depict an unseen and weaker side of the President at time when the President needs to be seen and feared as solid-as-a-rock, strong and composed leader of a confused nation and people. The footage, the spokesperson added, could be manipulated by hostile forces and could inflict irreparable damage to the image of the country and the president – and that cannot be allowed to happen.
During a routine interview with Al Jazeera journalist Nick Clark, the President was asked a range of seemingly normal questions such as his childhood, the ongoing violence crippling the country, and the future of the peace process with rebels of Riek Machar.
When asked what gives him sleepless nights – a question that apparently triggered and brought to light a soft side of a president burdened with the leadership of the 3-year old failing state – the president started having difficulties with his words as he choked, his eyes watered with tears and an inner softer, almost cuddly side of the person seen by others as a cold-blooded killer, began to emerge.
Many people who first saw the uncut version of the interview expressed mixed emotions. Although some related to the president and understood his emotions as a mere mortal who wants to see an end to the suffering of the people of the young nation, others, however, believe the emotions are tantamount to how he regards Riek Machar and the rebels who, according to him, are the cause of the senseless deaths and the source of ridicule and embarrassment to his leadership.
It is unclear whether Al Jazeera has honoured the order to re-edit the interview to specifically hide or remove those sections showing the softer human side of a broken President that many see as a cold-blooded composed and calculated killer of a people he was supposed to protect and lead.
In January this year, the same presidential spokesperson threatened journalists not to publish a picture of the President wiping his face with his signature pink handkerchief because it [the picture] “destroys the image of the country”.
An edited version of the interview can still be viewed on youtube and on the news channel’s website.
Editor’s note: this satirical piece is to celebrate Kiir’s softer side.