I think radio messages from local government officials are hilarious.
For example, when the LRA came through two weeks ago, the county commissioner got on the radio. He told the people not to fear them, since they were only a small band. He encouraged them to take out their guns, machetes, bows and arrows to defend themselves. So the people did arm themselves. (So much for the disarmament that the UN did here last year!) Men in civilian clothing were walking around town with AKs strapped on their backs. Lots of the men in the village were carrying bows, arrows, and machetes. I even saw a woman riding on the back of her husband’s motorcycle, brandishing a machete in the air like she thought she was going to encounter another band of LRA around the next corner. (That sight gave me a hearty chuckle!)
So, in light of the recent situation in Yei (what with the disabled soldiers rioting for their pay), the county commissioner came on the radio last night. (Please note that the commissioner was conspicuously absent from the radio – and even his office – during the last few days. He ran into hiding the moment he heard that the soldiers were beginning a riot.) Mr. County Commissioner’s message went something like this,
“Dear citizens, the situation in Yei Town has been resolved. His Excellency Salva Kiir Mayardit, the first Vice President of the Republic of Sudan, came to mediate the situation yesterday. The soldiers have received pay, so there should be no more problems from them. However, my citizens, if they try to cause problems for you, you should not accept. If they come knocking on your door in the night, you use everything in your house to attack them. Kill them and then leave their body in your compound, and I will come collect it. Even if you have nothing in your house to defend yourself, use a knife. If not a knife, bite them with your teeth. And no business should happen in town tomorrow morning, as the whole county is told to assemble in Freedom Square for an address from His Excellency Salva Kiir Mayardit, the first Vice President of the Republic of Sudan. He will talk to you citizens about the situation at 10 AM. There should be no business conducted tomorrow until after that important meeting.”
Ah, local government officials in Sudan.
So, my last day of class at Reconcile Peace Institute is postponed until after “His Excellency Salva Kiir Mayardit, the first Vice President of the Republic of Sudan” speaks. Thanks, Mr. Vice Prez for freeing me up to write this important blog post.
(If the VP says anything incredibly noteworthy, I’ll get a post up about it sometime this weekend.)