On Martyrs’ Day, parliamentarians at South Sudan’s National Legislative Assembly (SSNLA) have unanimously voted to grant the very alive president the honorary title of ‘Martyr of South Sudan’ for continuing to shed blood (not necessarily his own) for the sake of the world’s newest nation even after ‘the other martyrs stopped doing so’.
Accepting the award at a public rally in Juba on the July 30th – the first official celebration in 3 years – Pres. Kiir thanked the MPs and the public for their acknowledgement of his bloody service and promised to continue shedding more blood for the country.
“I accept this very important title, and being your only living martyr [sic], I promise all of you that I shall not stop now, otherwise the shedding of the blood shall be in vain…
“Many martyrs only get this kind of accolade and acknowledgement after death, but this is truly an honour bestowed on me… I will not disappoint you… I will shed more blood for the sake of this country…” Pres. Kiir said.
On 30th July 2005, Dr John Garang – the then leader of the SPLM – died in a helicopter crash as he returned from an official trip in neighbouring Uganda. The day has since been officiated as National Martyrs Day and observed by South Sudanese as such as a public holiday of remembrance.
Pres. Kiir’s democratic ascension into martyrdom makes him one of the very few living souls to be declared a ‘martyr’. Pres. Kiir joins Kim Jong-un and Iddi Amin Dada as the only heads of state to hold this title whilst being very much alive and kicking.
Saakam managed to speak to one of the MPs, a member of the vetting committee that determined whether the president met the criteria to become a national martyr, and he had the following to say.
“H.E President Salva Kiir ticks all the boxes and more when it comes to being a martyr of this great country. If it is blood, he has shed not only his but the blood of thousands more. He has survived various attempt to kill his opponents in the name of this country, and so on. If it was up to the vetting committee, this country could have been renamed ‘Salva Kiirdom’ and I believe no one in our nation would have opposed it. He is not only a martyr, but he is also a saint.”
With this newly elevated status and being the only living ‘martyr’ of the nation, the president will, from now onwards, be respected and revered for possessing wisdom and vision that no other South Sudanese could ever achieve in their lifetime.
His words, directive and degrees will be considered sacred and criticism or violations thereof will amount to nothing short of blasphemy.
Saakam will keep you updated.