South Sudan government on Tuesday took steps to allow limited exceptions to its broad prohibition on the singing of the national anthem, permitting specific events in the country.
Information Minister Michael Makuei announced last week that President Salva Kiir banned anyone from singing the national anthem unless he is present.
He said that different officials were playing the anthem at whim, which was an abuse of the national tune, noting that order was issued during the cabinet meeting.
“For the information of everybody the national anthem is only meant for the president, in a function only attended by the president, not for everybody,” Makuei said.
The order has caused public outcry.
However the president’s spokesperson Ateny Wek Ateny told media that the order will be observed with the exception of embassies, schools, major public gatherings and sporting events.
“The resolution of the council of ministers was misunderstood because the exceptions were not clearly spelt out,” Ateny said.
“The national anthem can be sung in schools where children are taught the anthem and the love of the nation, so schools are within the exceptions.
All South Sudan diplomatic missions abroad are allowed to use it because they are representing the Republic of South Sudan,” he added.
Ateny, who is also the presidential press secretary, noted that the order also gives exceptions to sport teams and major national events.
“Other exceptions include events in the country and they require the president or the first vice president to grace. Also, during sport events when the national team is expected to play a match outside the country and also inside the country, he explained.
The president’s spokesman said the order banned state governors from singing the national anthem while gracing events.
“What is not allowed is when the occasions are graced by governors and those events have nothing to do with the sovereignty of South Sudan, so these are the events in which the singing of the national anthem is prohibited,” Ateny said.
Ateny did not say what the punishment would be if Kiir’s orders were violated.
The national anthem was written shortly before independence in July 2011.
Source: Radio Tamazuj