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Cons and Cues About The Sudanese Forthcoming General Election/Isaiah Abraham
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Aug 2, 2007 - 11:53:22 PM

July is fully accredited with activities by different parties, including the Peace Partners in the System, the National Congress Party (NCP) and the Sudan People Liberation Movement (SPLM). There are positive indications and signs that this important exercise (election) will indeed take place either at the end of 2008 or earlier 2009. The House (National Assembly) has moved in that direction and if National Deputy Speaker (Mohamed Hassan El Amin) word is anything to go by, we shall expect Election Bill passed within the next three months. His Excellency the President of the Republic Omer Hassan Ahmed El Bashir is upbeat and confident that his party shall do everything possible to make it happen. We must trust his words.
 
Democrats of all stripes in our land therefore should hone their interests and be engaged. Too much is at stake to leave it to political parties to chart out course of our destiny. But will our democratic institutions prove sustainable? Do the ruling party and opposition have the wherewithal to deliver a depth of leadership to ensure smooth and fair general election? 16 months short and we shall answer the above questions.
 
In that light of what we received thus far, there is going to be two nominations rules or mixed practices; one for free election and the other on the quotas or percentages by parties in the coalition or peace. The SPLM had supported the idea of free or direct election while the NCP didnít wholly buy or get away satisfied with this idea, instead pushed the SPLM to accept the two systems as mode in the upcoming election.
 
Therefore both systems if passed by the House shall form the basis of this election.  That means a candidate could still be elected through normal suffrage by the people or appear among some quotas from his party. Nothing is clear though as to what difference would it make if the same candidate who got defeated could go and come around to the House by nomination through his/her party.
 
But there are also bills and prerequisites on that way, such as the Census and the Geographical status of each constituency and the need to gazette and probably enact Armed forces, Police, National Security, Election Laws and Representation bills.   Every single bill is crucial and hence the cue to the same.  
 
Itís of interest to know moreover whether that period of three months is enough to clear all the said hazards on the way for that election. But there is steam and intention from both parties. The essence and rationale then the last month political jabs and jibes against anything from parties in the competition are signs that could break or make that General Election simple, free and fair.  I believe so.
 
The leading opposition parties on their part such as the Umma, the Democratic Union, People/Popular Congress, the Communist, the Sudan Liberation Movement seemed to have agreed to the formula provided that this coming election must meet the international standards in all its stages including that of fair media coverage to all parties, fair representation in the administration of the election primaries be it Census, registration, budget discharges and final declaration of the winner. They had all been participating fully earlier in the debate and anxiously waiting to be part of the long awaited National Election Commission.
 
The ball is set rolling and our Southern leaders are still gasping and goading with political realities facing the country. They must get their act together and be organized.   President Omer Hassan El Bashir has been fronted by the NCP as their party flag bearer or their candidate in the presidency. The Umma Party and Popular Congress are busy nowadays as their ĎNadawatí show it. We need to put across our dear President Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit. Gen. Mayar is qualified and is fit to unseat El Bashir. He is simple, calculative and outstandingly a great team leader.
 
But our Party or Southern Leading party, the SPLM is still not keen to show its national leader to others; rather chose to fight NCP from behind. It is good to tell the Sudanese that this is party is rotten. But for any reason the SPLM Party is stark dead with fear of unknown! Portentously, the other opposition parties are positioning themselves for a fight (political alliances); our Southern Political Parties should do the same for our common good. May be our leaders should inch away from abrasiveness or everyday messages.
The NCP isnít listening and so other Northern Political parties. They are slow and left the SPLM to do that game. We got to be careful; the North would always be the North.
 
Someone from NCP has called SPLM utterances as Ďdry tears from the crocodileí and hence only Ďa divisionary from its failures to govern Southern Sudan.í That man missed the point!   But the fact is that the SPLM doesnít know its popularity in Darfur or know much about SLM/JEM political strategies. There is general feeling in Darfur that the SPLM is a foreign political organization like the United Nations or African Union. It echoes well somehow as none of our leaders has ever stepped a foot there or visit Camps that are much affected such as Kundabi, Kulbus, Salea, Sirba, Habilla, Manngarsa, Sisi Ardamata etc in Western Darfur State. If they know then it must be in pieces.  
 
But the SPLM have national mandate to workout national plans and schemes that are sellable. The party is popular and have clear picture of how they want the country to be managed. The dilemma is that other political parties, particularly in the North are distancing themselves from the SPLM, and rather forming an umbrella in disguise known as ĎJama El Safí. The SPLM isnít desperate and could pose a threat if they strategize earlier. Blacks are the majority and if they come together next year, then will mark the end of our oppressors forever.
 
But Mr Amum strikes a chord with audience the other day (Martyr Commemoration Day). What a moment and a man that was! Our President Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit goes too close and perfectly deep to his heart and challenge our people to unite or they perish.  The battle has started and cowards must give way or brace themselves for humiliation. The SPLM has blown the trumpet for marching and only if our people remained solidly behind the SPLM, it would just be a pipe dream. With all the glaring positive flat forms, there is however need to share our political future with our brothers and sisters in Southern Kordofan and Igessena Hills. Why not establish ties with Dr. Khalil Ismail and Mr. Abdul Wahid El Noor or Mohamed Musa of the Beja? Why not exploit that crisis in the far North where masters in Khartoum trampled on their ancestral backyards?
 
But the party must not go out in its presence shape. There is no time left and therefore prudent that the SPLM open up for fair competition to its national positions. They need not be reminded often that the physics of election is freedom! They know it. People want to elect their representatives both locally and nationally. Political patronage is dangerous and an outdated fashion. Party loyalty or affiliation yes is important but democracy is blind; whenever people settle on anyone, regardless of any background, their choice ought to be given optimum respect.
 
There is swirling disillusion and reasonable dissatisfaction that GOSS has not lived up to the ideal of justice and equality in South, particularly on issues to do with Good Governance. It might reflect itself in the election. Our dear President Kiir is really doing his best though somehow his team isnít executing his ideas. A single act of corruption alone in that Government (GOSS) could have brought down that Government.
 
None should be allowed to hurt 10 million or so Southern Sudanese. By single strike by none other than Mr. Arthur Akuein Chol our people are left with deep scar (bad precedence). He has caused damaged to the party and laugh over the blood of our martyrs and look heís going scot-free. The head of our Government should try his best to restore that lost hope in his government and the party.
 
 The party while still a Movement in the bush fighting for our freedom, never practiced tribalism or nepotism the same way itís being practiced or about to formalized today in Juba and most of our States. We must use this election to get rid of those individuals who are guilty of this vice.
 
Late Garang knew this dilemma and had to appoint Regional Caretakers (Governors) based on their capabilities not necessarily they come from their respective regions. Our Interim Constitution for Southern Sudan provides this and supported him- A 31 (1) and 61 (a-e) . We mustnít deny our people opportunities to build Southern Sudan irrespective of their tribal origin. Laudably though, the Ministry of Legal affairs, Judiciary and Interior are doing a good job. They employ Southern Sudanese everywhere based on the need.  
 
Our current President is trying to balance system by making each part of our beloved land feels part of the whole, as far as employment opportunities are concerned. This monster called tribalism and its Ďsisterí nepotism have taken deep roots that might need new faces of struggle to fight it. Godís forbids, we are doomed nation if we continue like that. Again we donít value our past to teach us a lesson or two.  
 
In the Movement then aides of our commanders come from any corner of our land. Why did our leaders abandon that path? Why didnít they do what they have been doing for years and only to throw it away when itís dearly needed? Our people are indeed great and only needs great ideas.
 
We need to move away quickly from divisive activities and turn against evils and bad practices that often prevent us to move forward, develop or mature.  We got to shun our regionalism and sectionism and only be labeled as just Southern Sudanese. We got to stop snarling at each other on the basis of our regional or tribe and only look at the personalities in our society.
 
But as we scratch the surface of our quotidian realities, the question is whether this generation of our leaders and members (including me) wish to carry on its shoulders the historical curse of having been the ones who destroyed, in an act of self-serving irrationality, a movement (Party) that is hope to millions of Southern Sudanese. I donít think there is anyone in his right mind who want to get to the anal of history with that distorted image. Galileo Galilei once said ďI donít feel obeyed to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.Ē  
 
We have enough potentials and only if we are willing to tap them. Productivity is the key. We wonít get over our social and economic woes unless we shed some uncouth or bad habits; and on top of them are poor time management, idleness/laziness and unnecessary drinking.   Our leaders arenít responsible for these but we;  unless we ourselves helped them do something towards this end. If we know a leader who isnít doing anything or falls within that category, we must all participate and vote him/her out.
 
Our leaders are requested to show leadership and responsibility in this important exercise for our country and our future.  We got to stand behind our leader Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit, and what not if he stands against President Omer El Bashir.  President El Bashir is beatable but this could be missed if the SPLM row slowly.  
 
Democracy is nasty and many things would come to the fore or reflected when elections are called. Itís said Ďnothing is more unjust or capricious than public opinioní. The SPLM is accused of being tribal party headed by Mr. Kiir from Dinka. This is not true and an upsetting notion that should not be allowed to be advocated throughout when we discussed or debate national things. A civilized mind never pays damn attention to such primitive views whatsoever.
 
But if it happened we must accept the realities of existence that has brought majority of our tribe Dinka to the lime line of history. There is no way they wonít be the majority whether the head of any ruling party is from them or from another tribe. They are represented in the 7 states of our 10 states and therefore if we have 10 ministers, Ĺ of the ministers could still go to them whether we like it or not. This must not stunt anyone, itís a fact we got to know and live up with. Unless we scheme to bully, they could still deserve more seats in the Upper house or in the Executive.  
 
Nevertheless, on their part, they have moral obligation to lead by example. They are like big brother in the family, who should have set up order in the house. Their contributions and sacrifices during the war were immense and are noticeable that couldnít be ignored but also they shouldnít use it to frustrate others from active participation in the national building.
 
Arthur individual act and fracas thereafter have thrown the whole community ability to lead into one thousand dollar question. The action by some Youth from SPLA Malual Dinka origin who participated in the release of Arthur Akuien plays itself to the negative. They are/were on the wrong side of the law. Authorities must not allow this act to pass our books. Gen. Mamur could have been removed. We should forgive then Mr. Sabrino Majok Majok because he was getting information from afar.   He is a gentleman and a patriotic.
 
 
 
 
Isaiah Abraham is a Southern Sudanese; he could be reached on [email protected]


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