Articles and Analysies
Why the SPLM must resolve its Presidential candidature now BY: Isaiah Abraham, JUBA, South Sudan
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May 5, 2009 - 11:39:41 AM

Why the SPLM must resolve its Presidential candidature now

BY: Isaiah Abraham, JUBA, South Sudan

 We are talking here of the SPLM Sudanese Presidency candidature and also that of the Government of the Southern Sudan. There is a huge climate of suspicion hanging over our heads as to which way the SPLM is taking this matter. The party is secretive about it and hence its mind boggling why keep this important topic secret and allow the public to opinionate everywhere.

Whether it's a hot potato or not, we are interested in the Southern Sudan Presidency debate, not Khartoum's unless that is what traitors and pretenders want us to believe.

Some section close to the President of the GOSS feels that it's better there is no election and preserve the status quo than to share the current powers of the SPLM Chairman, especially to someone who is an 'outsider' and a spoiler whose past trails with blood, deaths, betrayal and displacement of Southern Sudanese. They would rather support the NCP candidature instead.

The same group is also nursing an alternative idea - (if things come to shove -) to have this particular individual lose in a proxy internal election that would pitch him with the current Speaker of Southern Legislative Assembly, Mr. James Wani Igga.

They further propose that Gen. Kiir should retain his Southern Presidency at the expense of his national presidential contest against the National Congress Party (NCP) man, Field Marshal Omar Hassan Ahmed Al Bashir That is, Mr. Kiir's party might name another candidate probably, Dr. Mansoor, Nhial or Amum, for that National top seat.

No one knows how this is going to happen without disturbances in the SPLM structures, and if it happened, what will happen to the rhetoric we have been hearing from these party?

There are others yet who think its better to lose party leadership than losing the executive in the South to Dr. Machar. We are being opened about everything and you got to bear!

No extremes here, everything is within the reach of politics. Each of these proposals has drawbacks and a cost and hence a concern from this writer. We shall only confine the discussion on the importance of making a decision that is highly anticipated (decide on time who to contest Southern Presidency and who for Khartoum seat). 

Let's get going: Gen. Kiir's name obviously can't be on both ballot boxes, can he? He will have to choose between the Khartoum or Juba Presidential seats. The circumstances under which the current arrangement (vesting myriad of powers under one individual) were made have long been preceded by the death of the CPA author (Garang).

Late Garang was a real challenger, undisputed, moreover, who was going for nothing short of the national top seat (Sudanese Presidency). That situation has tragically changed, because Kiir isn't Garang to do the magic (win that election) against Al Bashir. Keeping his name on both boxes isn't again a better option; there is nothing like omni-president.

But one wonders why that idea be piloted in the first place, as if the SPLM is Kiir and the reverse is true. The SPLM latest insistence to parochially individualized an institution in the face of objective realities must not go unchallenged.

Just curious, why Kiir's name on both ballot boxes! Unless its Salva Kiir or anyone from his tribe, the election must not be allowed to take place. A tall member of his group put a face arguing like that and I have failed to understand his reasoning.

That is unacceptable; no Southerner likes it including those ahead of us --in the graves-- people who fought for our freedom. We live in a new age, where boundaries (tribal included) are getting thinner each passing day. What matters most is who delivers, regardless of his/her ethnicity.

It's time then to separate an institution from patronizing (individualism), and look at our leaders as individuals independent of the party or system. Who best suits the challenges of leadership must not be obstructed because of some ugly cards behind our chests.

The SPLM identifies itself with Gen. Kiir we know and that is understandable but the truth is that each member of that party deserves a chance like Gen. Kiir and has the same passion and obligation to carry on the baton of liberation the same way Fr. Saturino Lohure did it in the 1960s.

The SPLM party first and foremost must be concerned about the unity of its ranks and files. There has to be a giant to fill up those shoes left by late Garang; a figure so big, transparent, vibrant, to move us gently out of the woods. To be honest, Kiir never filled those shoes and will never fill them despite pockets of successes under his administration in the South today. We had expected more, not mediocrity!

The party has many qualified figures we could be entrusted with our affairs and here it isn't proper for some confused members (real beneficiaries of our messes) of that party going around confusing our people further by unrealistic theories about who is fit and who isn't. History will judge this people harshly if the opportunity before us is lost.

Undoubtedly, the President has done a lot to bring our people together, working round the clock to keep us safe and secure. With some problems still unresolved, no one expects him to do miracles over-night given our complex issues at hand. Gen. Kiir should be celebrated. He must allow himself to be helped.

Mr. Kiir therefore should challenge Al Bashir and allow his deputy to take care of the house ( Southern Sudan) behind him. The SPLM Chief should name his deputy without rigorous processes that are often tribalistic. The party ought to nominate and anoint both of them immediately, there is no time to waste. Ten months isn't long.

The former (Kiir) shall remain as the Chairman of the party whether he looses or wins there. If he looses, he may still keep his current seat of the First Vice Presidency in Khartoum with his eyes on the Southern affairs.

Dr. Machar on the other hand will assume his duties as President of the Southern Sudan Government and Commander-In-Chief of the Southern Army (the SPLA). Dr. Machar will get to business and I bet that he will take the monster called nepotism by its horns. The best place to start it is from our ministries and governmental institutions in the Government of the South Sudan.

Truly, Dr. Machar will detribalized the agriculture ministry where 85% are Bari speaking; Security, Finance and Education where 80% are Dinkas and Southern Customs Unit where 75% there comes from his Nuer tribe, not to mentioned over 50% in the army. You could imagine the kind of troubles waiting our nation with that kind of tribal structures. We don't have time to talk about some commissions that made of clan households altogether.

This is a time and moment we must not lose it as a nation. The SPLM must swallow its pride and make the necessary if not highly expected decision to put this matter to rest.

Mr. Kiir surely is a proud man and he needs a 'donkey' like Machar to help him. I don't think a right-minded person would ever continue to dwell in the past; Dr. Machar has 'grown' and this is his chance, it has just come; and the SPLM should pave the way for him! Fate is smiling on him in many directions. Dr. Machar is a committed leader, our destiny would be safe in his hands! Attempts to stop him on malicious or tribal grounds at this critical time can't work.

Gen. Kiir and his supporters were made to believe that he (Kiir) must not be 'disturbed' until the Interim Period is over; that assumption is fast fading away given the circumstances, namely the need to keep pace with the constitution and that of managerial gaps in the GOSS. Indicators point to the man next in hierarchy, the same way Gen. Kiir was nominated in Kamotho (New Site nearly four years ago).

The African icon Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela of South Africa has demonstrated to many that the blood isn't thicker anymore at this era by standing behind a Zulu Presidential and party candidate (Zuma) against his own Xhosa's (Mbeki) in the South Africa leadership tussle.

Mr. Kiir, it's you today to try this ever smiling man from Leer County and your legacy and that of your tribe would be both remembered fondly, given their sacrifices since independence of the Sudan in 1956. Show the way and your supporters will follow and cease from conspiracies that only help no Southerner in the long run.

To the Vice President, its your turn to make a difference needed and let it be that big. Start from within your party: unite it. Take good care of SPLM 'boys', Mr. Nhial, Mr. Amum, Gen. Oyai, Gen. Mamur, Gen. Oath, Gen. Bior, Gen. Pieng. Gen. Boll Koang, Gen. Cirilo, Gen. Aloor, Gen. Wilson, Gen. Malong, Gen. Wani and Gen. Gier.

Second, invest in our infrastructures, our people, our stomachs and in God and everything shall go well with you. Show how it's to serve than to be served- serving and an accountable government. Then democratize systems, even from their cores.

Southerners, isn't it time to be heard and do away with a see-nothing, a do-nothing administration that has impoverished our beautiful land, the very place our late dear leader Dr. John Garang perfectly erected its foundations under a tree in Naivasha-Kenya?


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