Is It Possible To Disagree And Remain United?!
By: Luk Kuth Dak
‚Äú Progress is impossible without change, and those who do not change their minds cannot change anything‚ÄĚ.
George Bernard Shaw.
So much has been made lately how divided we Southern Sudanese are, and that in practical terms, the magic word ‚Äú Unity‚ÄĚ
no longer means anything to say the least. Not so surprisingly, the hatemonger group in National Islamic front (NIF) and the National Congress Party ( NCP) and the real enemies of democracy and peaceful transfer of power, are leading this relentless campaign aimed at exaggerating the state of affairs of the union in South Sudan before the world‚Äôs audience.
Undoubtedly, the campaign, is taking its toll on South‚Äôs reputation not only in the eyes of
the beholders, the South Sudanese, but also around the world . As a result, some of the South‚Äôs loyal friends in some Western countries are beginning to question whether or not the Southern Sudanese would, in fact, live up to the task of governing an independent state on their soil. Even more so, some key players in the US foreign policy team have publicly bemoaned what they called ‚Äú A dire security situation in South Sudan‚ÄĚ and the SPLM failure to combat it.
Clearly, the NCP leadership has out-smarted the SPLM in selling the notion that South Sudanese are nothing more than just a bunch of primitive tribes who have no idea on how to control some minor tribal fractions much less run a government of any kind . On the contrary, the SPLM leadership continues throwing unproven accusations towards the NCP for arming certain tribes against others, but without producing a solid evidence to backup the claims. Time and time again, we have heard that some weapons that are Khartoum- made were red-handedly captured by the SPLA with the pro NCP Southern militias. If that the case, why then there was never any international press conference called to showcase them so that the international community can see the evidence for itself?! In this era, the media is more powerful than guns, and it‚Äôs free. That‚Äôs the very weapon the NIF/NCP has used and did it very effectively.
We need some answers.
The good news, however, is, the vast majority of Southern Sudanese understands fully that in politics, particularly, disagreements are as often as going to bed at night and waking up in the morning. Matter of fact, there never was a time when we agreed on anything and everything. We are not made to be anyone else but ourselves, and I cannot even begin to fathom being in a country where people thought exactly the same; believe in the same religion and share the same likes and dislikes in everything. Disagreement doesn‚Äôt have to be contentious, and the fact that two parties have opposing views doesn‚Äôt make them adversaries. We would be far better off if we would come to terms with the idea that it is perfectly acceptable to disagree. And if we keep the debate focused on issues and not resort to name-calling and finger-pointing, we will be just fine at the end of the day.
Those racists bigots of the NIF/ NCP must now know that in spite of their well-financed campaign ( with tax payers money) to blackmail the world opinion against the Southern Sudanese abilities in governance, our unity is alive and well, despite the fact that we can‚Äôt get our leaders to agree on much, but that‚Äôs just the nature of politics, especially in a multi party system in any democratic nation, where people can agree to disagree but not being disagreeable, particularly on matter of life or death like our birth‚Äôs right to live as a free and dignified people. And more importantly, our basic constitutional right of self-determination. This must become true.
But as we move towards elections and ultimately the referendum, South Sudan will most certainly need strong leadership from the Sudan Peoples‚Äô Liberation Movement (SPLM), and even a stronger leadership from all of the other political parties, and indeed, the general public. It will take all those entities together to put their differences aside and work jointly for the greater good for the people of South Sudan.
After more than half a century long and counting of a tormented oppression and gratuitous murder (killing for fun) of over two million lives, it would be a fatal political risk for any South Sudanese party or a leader to be on the outside looking in as, our people thrive to realize their dream of becoming a free people for the first time in history.
But if I were advising Lt. General Salva Kiir Mayardit, the Chairman of the SPLM, the 1st Vice President of the Republic and President of South Sudan, GOSS, I would ask him to replicate his negotiation skills with NCP to broach an initiative for a reconciliation and forgiveness with all Southern opposition parties including the SPLM-DC of Dr. Lam Akol. We need everybody around at a time when stakes surrounding our well-being couldn‚Äôt be higher. We very few options to choose from: either we unite to liberate our land, or die together as fools.
Next, and finally, I would gently suggest to the commander-in-chief to keep his promise of protecting the rights of all of the Southern political parties who will be vying for votes all across-the- land, to practice politics with all the freedom under the law.
If he accomplishes that, he will win the support and the confidence of
not only the Southern Sudanese people, but also the world around us.
And yes, it‚Äôs possible to disagree and remain united.
The author is a former anchorman/ reporter with Juba radio, and he can be reached at: [email protected]