We deserve civilized elections.
ďIt is better to have live face to face debates between our candidates rather than resorting to back biting.Ē
By: Justin Ambago Ramba, MD.
Now it is time that the two Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA),
accept the bitter fact that while they were busy jumping from one alliance to the other, the other political groups
were able to get access to the insidesí weaknesses as well as points of strength of these
so-called dominant political parties.
The National Congress Party (NCP) of President Al Bashir once in awhile found itself with no choice but to forge a workable alliance with other
new groups ďthe parties of the national unity governmentĒ, of which the SPLM-DC of Lam Akol, is a prominent member, while tactfully maintaining its bumpy partnership with the SPLM (mainstream Ė Salva Kiir), these leaves the Sudanese electoral scenery with clear loads
of trans-ideological deals.
Omer al Bashir is lucky to have been offered a last chance by his followers and sympathizers in a final attempt to uplift him from the dark pit where the International Criminal Court (ICC) indictment has him confined.
The Sudanese President is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in the Darfur region of western
Sudan in the conflict that erupted there in 2003.
Bashir's party wants a landslide victory as a way of strengthening its legitimacy and as a rebuff to the Western powers that support the ICC.
Whereas in the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement (SPLM) leader , Salva Kiir who has been for most of the period absent from the Presidency,
no any shape to stand up to Omer al Bashir in the run for the countryís Presidency, and
his SPLM party was forced to accept the realities of their shabby political organisation.
Judging by the statements of Dr. Luka Biong that he made earlier in the public media, the party seems to have pre-occupied itself with the task
of securing a job for their uncharismatic leader more than any thing else.
Kiirís reputation for poor governance and unkempt leadership skills have become an everyday talk amongst the South Sudanese wherever they are. Unfortunately the party had to go back to the same situation that it faced during its second convention and the same leadership crisis surfaced again. And as usual the status quo was left unaltered.
Kiir is not ready to quit the political scene yet, at least not before he goes into history as the first President of the Independent state of
South Sudan to be declared in 2011 in case the self determination referendum ends in favour of secession.
Again Kiir who himself doesnít believe in institutionalism, has been on record for not encouraging the rising of any credible institutions in south
Sudan throughout his current rule. He hardly respects the Constitutions, or the Army laws that clearly states that, ďSPLA soldiers are not allowed to participate in politicsĒ.
Now Kiir wants to run for the elections while clinging to his position as an officer in the SPLA in defiance of both the Interim National Constitution as well as the Laws that govern the SPLA. His obsession for the army shows how unsafe he feels. It is for his own personal and psychological well being that he delusions himself with this false reassurance the military seems to offer.
In the face of a bitter reality, the SPLM political bureau ended up endorsing a candidate better known as a party liability, thus indefinitely locking up the entire party in a tight prison of tribal politics.
Both Omer al Bashir and Salva Kiir are the sitting President and the Vice President respectively, and while they are running the elections, they have high chances of winning landslide victories through the help of their numerous aides.
There are people outside there who totally lack any
nationalism and are willing to do anything to please their masters even if that amounts to rigging or manipulating the laws, the regulations or misinterpreting
the Interim Constitutions as we are currently hearing..
But as south Sudanese we are not yet done unless we discuss the other important personalities which are Yasser Saied Arman and Dr. Lam Akol Ajawin. The former is the SPLM deputy secretary general of its northern sector, while the latter is the ex-foreign Minister in the GoNU (SPLM ticket) and currently the leader of the splinter group, the SPLM-DC.
Both Yasser Arman and Lam Akol have lately become very controversial figures in the Sudanese politics largely due to their influence which is more of a national calibre.
Arman, a northern Muslim has accepted to be the SPLM flag runner for the Sudanese presidency,
Omer Al Bashir, in a clear move to save his partyís image after its predominantly southern leaders have settled for constituencies in the south.
To the northerners, Yasser Arman is a problematic person and having fought the civil war on the side of the southerners, thus against his kinsmen of the north, Yasser risks being seen as a traitor to say the least. However this very energetic gentleman has played the role of Robin Hood in the slums of Khartoum, where he courageously stood by the rights of the marginalised Sudanese
largely hail from south Sudan, southern Blue Nile, the Nuba Mountains, Darfur or Eastern Sudan.
It will not be an overstatement should one say that, Arman is the best person to see to it that the CPA is implemented to the spirit and the letter. The southern Sudanese would prefer someone who understands their plights the same way that they do. And of all the northern Sudanese Muslims, none can do that well than the person of the SPLM deputy secretary.
In a country were racial relationship plays a great deal, Arman who has come very close to being a southerner himself, will hopefully win many of the southern Sudanese votes, more so than Omer al Bashir who is on record for genocides in both south Sudan, and Darfur.
Unfortunately things might
not work well for the northern Muslim SPLM strongman, because the strong quest for two separate Sudanese states have even entered most houses
in northern Sudan, following the fierce resistances put forwards by the people of the south , during the two decades civil war.
Now than any other time before the north is willing to allow the south to go its way, because any going back to war can be seen as a dťjŗ vu.
Furthermore the fair unity that Arman has fought for and continuous to do so, is not in fact the unity that Arab north can willingly accept. It is for this last reason that they may not vote for him.
Lam Akol Ajawin, our forth character is prominent south Sudanese academician who has dominated the modern Sudanese politics for over two decades. He has been a long time controversial figure which is also true of his relationship with his former colleagues of the ex-rebels, the SPLM.
This outspoken former Sudanese senior diplomat
is now the sole nominee of the Alliance of Southern Sudan Political Parties which held the South-South Dialogue in
Khartoum last year. DR. Lam is to officially run against H.E Salvatore Kiir Mayardit for the Presidency of the Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS).
Akol can better be remembered as a fellow who once joined the memberships of the SPLM (twice) and the NCP, however his continued close ties to the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) during his service in the Foreign Ministry led to his
his colleagues at the ex-Southern rebel group.
Nevertheless, Akol has insisted at the time that the SPLM partnership with the NCP is particularly valuable and also campaigned in favour of the Sudanese President after the issuance by the International criminal Court of an arrest warrant against him.
Since Dr. Lam had declared his intentions to run for the GoSS Presidency as early as 2009, he had come under a continuous attack from his former party mates. But the biggest showdown was when Salva Kiir directed his Minister to write a circular to all the state governors in south
Sudan, instructing them to obstruct all the activities of Lamís splinter group, the SPLM-DC.
On the other hand some SPLM supporters in their continuous struggle to name and shame the chemical engineer, continues relentlessly to label him (and Dr. Riek Machar Teny Ė the incumbent Vice President of GoSS), as
traitors and a deserters for their roles in the 1991 split.
Whereas those who keep pointing fingers at Dr. Lam and Dr. Riek were themselves deeply involved in committing horrendous human rights abuses in their own dirty pasts, yet they would still want to argue otherwise. Ironically their message would mean that they are allowed to kill irresponsibly from other communities while similar acts if committed against them should be deemed unforgivable and unforgettable for ages to come.
The National Elections Commission has yet to tell us which of our four candidates are accepted to run, although of course the famous Darfur genocide perpetuator, the incumbent president Omer BashirĎs candidacy has been approved in spite of the issuance of the ICC warrant for his arrest.
Dr. Lam Akol Ajawin declares that, ďPresident Al Bashir is the only person to sign working peace agreement in Southern Sudan,
Darfur, and the Eastern RegionÖ.. El Bashir was also credited with stopping wars and the bloodshed which had plagued the nation for so long.Ē
ďAlso the inclusive administration instituted by President Al Bashir already is a good step for political pluralism and social and cultural diversity. Mr. Bashir is the very one now working to implement democratic transformation and as it was embodied in the interim Constitution of the country and the CPA and he should be given the chance to continue with thisĒ. He added.
Akolís statement however needs to be taken with a pinch of salt. It has never been all roses under al Bashirís rule over the two decades. He is in fact a wanted person by the international justices for crimes committed by his regime. There is no way that al Bashir can be all that appealing to Dr. Ajawin.
As south Sudanese we are concerned largely about our destination to become an independent nation come 2011, but at the same time we also expect to be led by capable persons who believe in the establishment of credible institutions that can withstand the test of time. We also expect our leaders to lead by example; as such we expect them to have self denial and a complete submission to the Constitutions and the Laws of the country.
Our current government in
Juba and its incumbent leadership is without any doubt a disgrace to us all.
Starting from the way the public money is handled over the past five years, to the army, the scholarships, the security, the food security, the health, the infrastructure, and the
plans for our future nation, all have been full of typical amateurism. We need new faces, new talents and new spirits in other words a complete overhaul.
With people dying in the crazy inter-tribal fights in Warrap,
Upper Nile, Lakes and Jonglei states due to a very rudimentary policing and security system, there remains no any justification for the current
leadership and its cronies to continue in office; unless of course we are happy the way everything else is deteriorating.
Finally it is our own choice to adopt a working democracy to change our governments whenever they are not performing satisfactory. It is now that the importance of having a strong nationalistic opposition comes in.
To avoid any biasness and unfruitful back biting, the top candidates for the posts of the National Presidency and the Presidency of South Sudan should be encouraged to carry out live televised face to face debates that should also be aired over the radio, thus helping us all to compare between our candidates and make informed choices.
Dr. Justin Ambago Ramba, M.B, B.Ch, D.R.H, MD is the Secretary General of the United
South Sudan Party (USSP). He can be reached at either [email protected] or [email protected]