National Anthem not for President alone, Ateny clarifies
By Peter James Loruba
Presidential Spokesperson Ateny Wek Ateny has clarified on the confusion that emerged after Government Spokesman Michael Makuei Lueth controversially said the National Anthem should only be sung in the presence of the President.
After last Friday’s Cabinet meeting, Makuei said the National Anthem should only be used in the presence of President Salva Kiir. The statement caused public uproar and criticism.
“It is observed that the National Anthem has been played all over and everybody is playing it at will. For the information of everybody, the National Anthem is meant for official functions attended by the President not for everybody. This should strictly be observed because it is not meant for everybody,” Makuei had cautioned.
However yesterday, Ateny said the Information Minister was quoted out of context.
“The National Anthem has exceptions, it can be sung at all schools without reservations, at all sport events that involves South Sudanese teams being football, basketball, baseball and others when the national team is playing a foreign team because that team will sing their national anthem,” Ateny clarified.
Some diplomatic missions had said they will abide by the new policy while some schools are left stranded on whether their students should continue singing the anthem.
“All the events that are graced by the President, the First Vice President and the Vice President under normal circumstances, the National Anthem will be sung also during the diplomatic missions to countries outside South Sudan because they are the representatives of the sovereignty of the Republic of South Sudan in those countries,” Ateny clarified.
He however said occasions of no significance to national sovereignty attached officiated by state governors should not have the national anthem sung because they are not national occasions.
“Unless during occasions when the governor is the representative of the President like celebrations of Independence Day are the only times the National Anthem could be used without the presence of the President,” he added.
Ateny said people should not think that order had personalized the National Anthem for the President.
“The National Anthem is owned by the people of South Sudan and what the cabinet had tried to say on this was to make the use of National Anthem valued so that it doesn’t lose its meaning even the officials who are not supposed to be using the National Anthem like the undersecretaries, national ministers should be taken to account,” he added.
Ateny said the information minister did not have enough time to explain because he talked after the cabinet meeting.
“We have not talked about the consequences of what will happen if someone breaks the regulation because cabinet will be seating on Friday and will make clarification on what is needed and what is not but governors should be thinking about the rules as given by the cabinet,” Ateng stated.