Articles and Analysies
Do South Sudanese Presidential Candidates Address Citizens’ Fundamental Issues? by: Miyar De’Nyok or Akurdit, WATERLOO, CANADA
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Feb 23, 2010 - 10:01:11 AM

Do South Sudanese Presidential Candidates Address Citizens’ Fundamental Issues ?

By: Miyar De’Nyok or Akurdit, WATERLOO, CANADA


The greatness of a nation is the strength and greatness of its leaders in making decisions that promote citizens’ future destiny and prosperity. All elections are about improving the livelihoods of citizenry, bringing in new changes, promoting infrastructural development, and enhancing social cohesion and compatible cohabitation .

The question facing the South Sudanese presidential candidates today is: does each of the candidates have strategies to tackle the citizens’ fundamental issues ?

Our candidates should focus on issues such as economic development, environmental integration, socio-cultural integrity, good governance and regional integration. These fundamental issues are the most important reliabilities for tackling the South Sudanese’ future destiny and prosperity; therefore, a discussion on each issue will broaden understanding on how our candidates are talking about seizing governing in the South .

Economic development: is the most significant aspect of reliability that needs to be addressed immediately. This is the time our citizens should evaluate and hear from our candidates what they will say to the media and to them concerning how each of them is going to move Southerners forward in economic development. In the South there are few private sectors investing in the country.   The Government of South Sudan (GoSS) is the biggest employer to many South Sudanese and another second employer is Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs ).

Understandably, GoSS can't be the employer of all the citizens. In other words, Government can not solve every citizen’s problems.   However, government can create blended policies that integrate private sectors to invest in the country. Globally, the intensively economically developed world is being prosperously enriched by the private sectors. The private sectors employ about 60% to 80% of the populations. The private sectors cannot invest in a country that does not permeate their investment opportunities. It is logical and reasonable that South Sudan was attracting many investors since 2005; however, the blended economic policies are not conducive enough to convince foreigners for safety on investment opportunities .

Our candidates should outline their economic strategies. The public is keen and eager to listen to how the presidential candidates will launch campaigns and to persuade voters to vote for them. If a candidate fails to underline ways of creating jobs for them, then that will likely lead to loosing the election; something none of the embattling presidential candidates seem to eschew .

Although there are meager physical infrastructural developments that are going on now in the South, there are still need to develop not only urban, but also rural communities. As late Dr. Garang de Mabior said that, “let's take towns to villages not villages to towns”; Dr. de Mabior dreamt of capacity-building through agricultural resources, utilizing oil revenue and Nile water. One of the researchers found out that Sudan is capable of feeding one-third of the world's population if only all the resources it owns are utilized and explored properly .

Indeed, it will be a delusion if the two candidates will not outline how they will advance the economic development of the South.   As a voter and commentator, I need to see that our candidates address public services such as roads construction, communication and electricity facilities. All these are important public goods that need to be incorporated into development as many of the Southerners are expecting the next elected government to score 100% on economic development .

Environmental Integration: According to climatologists report and UNEP environmental assessment of 2007, they asserted that South Sudan is one of the regions in Africa that is going to be affected by climate change and environmental degradations. The rest of the world is moving ecologically while South Sudan is catching up and falling behind in terms of environmental integration. What makes the South rich is the biodiversities and endowment of natural resources it has .

Illustratively, the candidates should not be deluded that integrating environmental policies into sustainable growth and development will not do good to our economy. They must understand that resources are the backbone of a country’s economy. For instance, oil revenue is being explored without environmental and sustainable assessment. The adverse effect that will accumulate will not be realized now, but the future consequences on the residences around the oil rich areas in the South will not be excellent phenomenon to their neighborhood livability .

The best example that should guide our candidates or policy-makers in the South is the cause for war in Darfur. For example, Darfur war is a war on environmental issues related to arable land. The pastoralist Arab tribe communities occupied the arable land, evicting the African Fur tribes and other communities from the farm land .   

Supposedly, if there were integrative environmental policies, the conflict in Darfur would have been curbed early without escalating it further .

Integrating environmental policies will create renewable energy that can be harnessed from the sun and wind, and River Nile can generate electricity to many residences in the South. Thus, this will create job opportunities to our citizens .

However, our candidates are only exchanging derogative accusations without being straight communicating to local citizens about their future plans .

As President Obama said that, “any country that invests in renewable energy technology will lead the next global economic prosperity”; hence, the South has potential resources to inject vigorous investment in solar, wind, and hydroelectricity generated from River Nile .

The voters in the South should be concerned on how the next head of GoSS is going to improve agricultural production, electricity provision, road construction, and communication facilities. These services can not be developed without considering environmental integration but the embattling candidate seems to lack environmental initiatives .   

Good Governance and Regional Integration: Good governance is always the hub for all forms of government. The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) has tried its level best to introduce democracy in the Sudan through the attainment of Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed in 2005. It was the visionary struggle and dream for the South Sudanese to have equal right to freedom of expression, speech, association and secular constitution .

It will be significant bias if SPLM can not be given credit for what the Southerners have achieved today. This creditability is imperatively revealed through some of the issues that SPLM has been pushing through the Government of National Unity (GNU) Assembly in Khartoum. These issues such as referenda bills, census suppression, voters’ education, border demarcation, and demanding for full implementation of the CPA are the fundamental segments of the South self-determination .

With these fundamental segments, SPLM has scored accreditation for governing responsibly and knowingly the Southern Sudanese self-determination. Therefore, if there is a way good governance can be defined, then SPLM has shown that responsibility by protecting self-determination of all the citizens in the South and marginalized areas .

Although the SPLM-DC leader allegedly accused his former party (SPLM) of corruption and poor governance, the fact remains that his alliance with northerners, advocating for the unity of the Sudan will hurt his electoral voting .

SPLM-DC leader was quoted by referring to the secession of the South as Somalization. His recent interviewed with and editors have revealed that Dr. Lam Akol focus is going to invoke more tribal conflicts then he thinks. As Dr. Akol said that if elected, he is going to demarcate new borders between counties and states; instead Dr. Akol should focus on the north-south border, he is reviving something that does not contribute to goodness of the Southerners .

Dr. Lam Akol is not ready to lead South Sudan responsibly and he does not think that self-determination is the important right for the Southerners .

Although Dr. Lam Akol accused SPLM of corruption, he has not even outlined how he is going to govern responsibly. I was looking forward to hear his strategic plan, but what I heard was tribal conflict, counties and states border issues .

he SPLM has established disarmament program that is undertaking place through SPLA and UNMIS in the counties. I would like to be realistic and honest, Dr. Lam Akol’s county borders, he is referring to are the border issues between Shilluk and Dinka Padang on the eastern bank of river Nile. I think as national figure, it is mischievous for him to focus his campaign on issues within tribal lines .

Dr. Lam Akol must be aware or warned that if he is embracing borders that were not there by making Shilluk to be big in the Southern Sudan map, by doing so, that will spark into serious conflict among those communities. Therefore, he is pursuing a dangerous path that will not even give him victory in the polling stations .

Regional Integration: is important for economic development and international foreign policy. SPLM has established the Ministry of Regional Corporation headed by Oyai Deng Ajak. It is a great achievement and progress to the South to anchor roots and relations with the neighboring states and the West. Foreign policy must be something our candidates should focus on so that when South Sudan secedes next year (2011), then the South will have much support and acceptance by other countries .

SPLM has also scored credit on regional integration with eastern African countries while SPLM-DC did not even attempt to visit the neighboring countries in eastern Africa. SPLM-DC wants to embrace the same policy of National Congress Party (NCP) of considering the Sudan to be Arab country without giving African communities recognition of their self-identities .


Take Home Messages :  

1- Our candidates must demonstrate that they will govern responsibly by outlining the fundamental issues.   2- The South Sudanese want to see fundamental changes in the next government and these fundamental changes must be underlined and highlighted at the campaign trails. 3- The candidates must clearly state their position on the secession of the South. It will be a delusion if any of the candidates cannot state whether they support secession or not

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