Expected Results from SPLM’s 2nd Convention
*By James Okuk
The 10th May, 2008
will mark an important point in the long awaited democratization within political parties in the
before they opt to rule the Country. Here a movement which has been struggling for two decades (plus) against injustice in sharing political powers, economic wealth, and security arrangements, and also against the hegemony of Arab (Jellaba) and Islamic culture, will show the whole country,
and the World that it is capable of realizing democratic process without reservations or regrets. We shall miss our dear charismatic leader Dr. John Garang, our active Elder Dr. Justin Yac, our dear brother Dominic Dim, and other SPLM/A members in this convention. May God rest their souls in peace!
After having conducted its Primaries successfully at the grass-roots levels, the SPLM young party has been set to take its delegates to
– its stronghold – in order to revise its vision, manifesto, constitution, and programmes in the context and demands of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). CPA brought a new reality to the
after the National Congress Party (NCP) accepted a win-win deal that recognized the right for Self-determination for the People of Southern Sudan with a special independent status for semi-autonomous rule and Security Arrangement under the control of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA). Also in Juba the delegates will elect the party top leadership who will be entrusted and mandated to implement the agreed decisions and expectations (of the majority members) for the remaining three years of the interim period before South Sudan divorce from the North amicable.
I did my reading and studies for the mock test for this convention and came up with the following mock results. You are free to agree or disagree with me because politics is an art of the possible if not impossible. Also this is not a mathematical calculation. So please keep your nerves cool if I happen to provoke you with what I think.
The Chairman of the Party
is Salva Kiir:
After considering and analysing the politicking that has been going on prior to the 2nd Convention, and also after considering some relevant factors, I came to foresee that H.E. Salva Kiir is going to be nominated unopposed by the delegates to continue as the Boss of the SPLM. These are my main justifications for this answer:
1) Kiir has a forgiving heart and a forgetting mind. He has done this in Rumbek meetings in 2004. He is humble and a man of dialogue who listens more and talks less. Kiir doesn’t retain the boat when he has crossed the river with it because he likes others to use the same boat to cross to that side too. He managed to convince Other Armed Forces (OAFs) to join the SPLA or be de-militarized. He signed
declaration with H.E. Paulino Matip who became his Deputy for SPLA Affairs. Only that the total integration of these forces remains a problem because they were not sincere enough to come to SPLA with few higher ranks and more lower files. Kiir was courageous to tell the OAFs that the integration will not be possibly finalized unless they arrange themselves as a modern army where the number of soldiers is more than the number of officers and commanders and not vice versa.
2) Kiir managed to control the situation when the CPA was almost becoming strangled in 2007 as a result of the pull out of the SPLM cadres from the Ministerial and Advisory positions in the Government of National Unity (GoNU). Kiir stood to his call for non-return to war situation even when H.E. President Al-Beshir threatened him with the re-activation of the Popular Defence Force – Holy Warriors or Mujahideen – to defend the borders of
from encroachment by Southerners as a reaction to the tunes of war drums that were beaten by some gentlemen of Abyei Area. During this created crisis, Kiir rejected the American proposal to re-adjust the CPA in the expense of
. With that rejection he proved that he is the Joshua for the Southerners (Junubin); the one who will lead them to total freedom from the oppressive North without any waver.
3) When H.E. Mallik Agaar came up with his proposal of Confederation for the sake of unity of the Sudan – which was welcomed by the NCP and supported by the Darfurian Movements – Kiir rejected it and proved that he is a true son of the South who is not interested at all in unity of the unattractive and unbalanced One Sudan. Also when H.E. Pagan Amum said the CPA can be revised if this can please the Darfurian Movements to sign a peace deal with Khartoum, Kiir also rejected this because he knows that the Darfurian are for Islamic Sudan even if they are not Arab.
4) When some elements within the SPLM allied with Southern Political parties and Darfurian Movements in order to strangle the CPA by postponing the Fifth Census, again our dear Kiir proved that he is a watchdog for the implementation of the CPA so that it continues to be alive (although staggering) to reach its logical end of ushering in an independent and Secular African State of South Sudan with good neighbourhood with the Islamic and Arab State of North Sudan.
For all these main reasons and others, Kiir deserves to be given another chance for SPLM Chairmanship; a chance that will take the South to its proper destiny. Of course, like any human being Kiir has his dark side but people expect his bright side to overweigh his darkness when they give him the second chance to lead the SPLM in the future challenges, opportunities, weaknesses and threats.
The Deputies of the Party’s Chairman:
Also having considered the political moves of the current deputies of H.E Salva Kiir, I am seeing that Dr. Riak Machar will continue to do well as the second man to Kiir because he has managed to work smoothly with him so far. Also it will be good for Dr. Riak to complete his mission of mediating peace between Uganda Government and Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) so that Eastern and
becomes relieved from insecurities caused by these bandits who have no realistic vision for
except terrorism by ‘tong-tonging’. Dr. Riak is also a committed cadre who does not suck from tax payer and oil share money of
in order to travel abroad for useless trips. He is also a good reconciler of communities and Protestant Churches, which are important factors for inculcation of the Culture of Peace and forgiveness in
. Dr. Riak is also a calm gentleman who swallows bitter pills at hard times. He can help the South by keeping the Nuers united and teaching them patience and non-anarchy for the good of
Of course our famous composer of Dr. Garang’s anthem of “baba ja, splm hakuma bitana, hakuma bitana Splm” – i.e. “papa has come, splm is our government, our government is splm” – will remain as the third man to Kiir. Hon. Wani Igga is known for his non-confrontation approach and he has managed to survive in all situations because of this tactics. He knows to hide his head in the sand like an Ostrich when things are very hot to touch. Though many Equatorials do not like him, he has
in his heart and he loves all Southerners (Junubin). He goes along with Dinkas even when many Equatorians hate them. Igga has managed to work smoothly with Kiir even when he has been put under pressure by his kinsmen. The people of malakal like him because of his funny stories and broken Arabic. Also the women of the SPLM respect Igga and he can manage to keep these women to remain as good supporters of the party in the coming 2009 elections for the government. Igga has managed to supervise the SPLM Primaries neutrally to the extent of accepting the lost to the current Deputy Secretary General for South Sudan Sector (Dr. Ann Itto), and also for the governor of
(H.E. Taban Deng) in the democratic competition.
The Secretary General of the Party:
Dr. Lam Akol Ajawin
will be the awaited Secretary General of the SPLM. He is very good at the executive work and political mobilization both at the top and at the grass-roots as he is well-experienced for this. Akol encourages youth involvement in good politics and forward thinking rather than backward pity. He does not ignore the wisdom of illiterate elders in the villages and he can address Dinkas, Nuers, Collos, and others in their own mother tongues eloquently. The Shakespearian English speakers in international arenas cannot even intimidate him.
Even the Arabs Kings in the
and the Gulf are amazed at his Arabic language command. The Germans cannot gossip freely near him. Dr. Lam is humble and interacts with any person regardless of his social status, race, tribe, or religion. He is not a luxury-obsessed leader; you can see this in his house furniture and in the simple food in his table. He is well qualified in managing either opposition or proponent party activities. He is also a hard worker and a good strategist who doesn’t get frustrated or resort to lies or drunkenness when things get worse and unbearable. Akol doesn’t compromise with contradictions and deviations from the agreed principles because these are never good for sustainable progress of any kind. He knows that inconsistency takes a person or a party a step forward and another or more steps backward.
Dr. Lam likes clarity of thoughts and rejects elusive ideologies that are deceptive to ordinary people who are the heart of democracy for the SPLM and the government, also the core for the success of Self-determination in the 2011 plebiscite. Kiir admires Dr. Lam and even when he removed him from the portfolio of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs it was for the sake of the unity of the party. Kiir has been taking the advice of Dr. Lam seriously because he trusts his well-calculated analyses of political issues and problems. Also Dr. Lam respects Kiir and has never insulted him in public even when some communist elements within the party tried to push Kiir to the wall to take unpopular decisions to dismiss him from the SPLM. Kiir preferred to listen to Akol’s side of the story and he got convinced of his sincerity for the good of the SPLM party by focusing on
and leaving alone the North to the NCP and their Islamic agenda as agreed in the CPA.
Dr. Lam understands very well that the future of SPLM lies in
and never in
where communist have been trying to pass their agenda and spoil the hopes of Junubin in the name of the SPLM. Kiir has understood this practical strength of the party very well and has been working according to it for his own safety, safety of the SPLM, and safety of
The Deputy Secretary General of the party:
Hon. Abdel Aziz Adam Hilo
will probably be fit to become the Deputy Secretary General because he is also a hard worker and a good organizer like Dr. Lam. During the time of struggle, the Nuba mountains has been known as the most organized liberated area of the SPLM/A because of his hard work.
is also a sincere man and a non-drunkard; he has the good of the people in his heart.
and Akol can go along well in organizing the SPLM robustly with clear strategies before 2009 elections and 2011 referendum. Both of them are not money hungry and will not play or run away with the fund of the party. They will use the money of the SPLM for real purpose of strengthening it to face and challenge other political giants in the
. They are not going to allow weak and sycophants members to hold key positions of the Secretariat (where they only care about good pay and comfortable cars and privileges without good work for the party). Dr. Lam and
will make the people of Transitional Areas to understand the need for Separation of South Sudan from the North for the sake of good and collaborative neighbourhood where our borders will be opened to them without restrictions. Dr. Lam loves late Yusif Kuwa and he will not forget Nuba even if
becomes independent in 2011. Dr. Lam will not also forget the people of
because he lived among them when he commanded a SPLA battalion in that area in late 1980s. Hillo and Akol will ensure that Southerners continue to help the people of Transitional Areas so that they become stronger to maintain their rights in the North. And who knows, may be the South will unite again with the North in future with a Confederal system of governance on a new basis of equal, free and un-marginalized citizenship of the
I think I am taking more space and my readers may get bored if I continue. I am omitting the negative sides of these mentioned leaders because the aim of this article is not criticism. It is not right to criticize our leaders every time because they are also human beings like you and me who can never be devils or angels. They are not infallible in their teaching like the Catholic Popes. Our leaders have credits besides which need to be acknowledged at times. So let me stop here, but this does not mean ignoring other people who might get other positions which are as important as the higher ones for the smooth running and coordination of the SPLM business as a child of the CPA. Long Live SPLM and Long Live all its cadres as they pursue their good or bad luck in the commendable SPLM democratic transformation process; a move which made donors happy in Oslo this month to pledge about Five (5) Billion US Dollars for recovery and development of the war-affected areas of the Sudan, and for building the culture of peace in the context of CPA implementation and its continuation to the logical desired end.
*James Okuk is a PhD student in Political Philosophy in the
. He can be reached at [email protected]