Please President Kiir Mayardit, take the lead
BY: Arual Deng Arual,
The latest decision by SPLM Political Bureau (SPLM PB) to allow independent candidates contest for elections while retaining their party membership is the wisest decision yet the party has made. The unity of the party (SPLM) is crucial for the realization of development, freedom and peace in
South Sudan where the party is popular and forms the Government (GoSS).
However, the popularity of the SPLM as a political party in the South is a direct consequence of the SPLM/A war of liberation and should not, therefore, be construed as a vote of confidence in the individual SPLM leaders.
The SPLM/A was formed by the people as a political/military institution to fight injustice and restore peopleís lost dignity through decades of mismanagement by some centrists in Khartoum. Our people joined the SPLM/A en masse as they later died en masse.
Some undertook long blistering journeys from as far as Awiel across the Nile swamps to Ethiopia then back to Southern Sudan, crisscrossing, trotting, walking, running, crawling many lands and jungles for over two decades bearing mosquito bites, going without food or water for days, eating wild fruits and shrub roots, missing families, burying dead comrades or leaving them for scavenger bird and animal to feed on, sleeping or walking in rain, soaking and boiling dried animal skin for food and risking land mines.
It wasnít for fun. It was a choice between slavery and freedom. And that was the cost of freedom since it is never free at all. Yet our suffering never ended with the CPA nor will it end on 9th January, 2011.
Indeed, we will vote overwhelmingly and unriggably for independence come that day. But, our marriage with the North is unlikely to terminate immediately following referendum.
There are pending issues (though they should have been settled over the past five years) to be resolved before the North and the South would call each other our neighbouring country.
These issues include the unsettled murky North-South border, debt sharing, transfer of Southerners in the North to the South, and many others. So, it may take another 1 to 2 years before we could consummate our free new nation. In that period the unity of southerners will be as important as the independence vote itself because it is our only guarantee against possible sabotage by the destabilizers of the Sudanese politics.
But, who else to unite Southerners than the SPLM? The SPLM signed the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) with the National Congress Party (NCP) and as a result formed the Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS). It also looks likely that the SPLM will form the next Southern Sudan Government after April elections, whether in partnership with other political parties in the South or by itself, if it wins parliamentary majority in the Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly and most of the ten states assemblies and governorships.
[I assume Salva Kiir will win the South Sudan Presidency by default because Dr. Lam Akol is already bust by his own Somalization statement which has generated a furor among many pro-independent Southerners].
The fact that SPLM is the ruling party in the South, and is likely to be so for the coming years, calls for a responsible governance from the party leadership because it is responsible and accountable government that unites people more than anything else.
The recent political fuss about the so-called independent candidates exposed how deep the crack within a party can run when matters of democracy are mishandled. If the SPLM Political Bureau and the
Colleges had followed a democratic system of selection rather than favouritism and patronage, independent candidates would have been few. But see how they mushroomed?
It was a sign of great mistrust between the SPLM PB and the
Colleges on the one hand and the aspiring SPLM candidates on the other. Why divide a party into loyal and non-loyal members? How loyal are the so-called loyal candidates and to whom are they loyal? Why engaged in this endless war of internal wrangling?
Anyone privy to the SPLM will acknowledge that the war within the party had a long history and unless it is handled with caution, it is what will finally throw the party into the trash can.
There are recent examples of infighting which ordinarily members of the party loath and which show how selfish some SPLM cadres have grown in recent years.
For example, immediately following the formation of GoSS a hate campaign started within the SPLM between the so-called Garangís boys and Kiirí boys. While the former (Garangís boys) accuse the later (Kiirís boys) of post-war incompetence the later accuse the former of war-time mismanagement and cronyism. The war between the boys, which hinges on libelling and backbiting, continued until early 2008 when, after running out of usefulness, it died of natural causes.
And as if the boys have not learned their lessons, another front was created, this time between Riekís boys and Kiirís boys (a combination of original boys of Kiir and some former boys of Garang). Some of Riekís boys just joined the SPLM after 2005.
But who are these boys who keeping on wrangling without ever growing up? When will they become men of their own and stop confusing the people of
Southern Sudan? The fact is some of the boys are as old as the SPLM itself. They were there right from the inception of the SPLM/A. Some were high ranking SPLA commanders before they turned political at the eve of the formation of the Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS), back in 2005.
However, there are boys who are as young as the CPA.
These young SPLM cadres joined the party when it became clear that
Southern Sudan was on the irreversible road to independence; whether through the comprehensive implementation of the CPA or by unilateral declaration of independence/war, and because of their political patronage found themselves in influential positions.
Some of them even became more equal than the proverbial old SPLA soldier who joined the liberation in 1983 but after the peace found himself jobless and homeless: no army, no police, no prison, no wildlife, no fire brigade, no civil service, no medal, and no nothing.
What a shame really?
My message to the boys, young or old, please stop dividing the party on the basis of Riek, Kiir or Garang. SPLM is a peopleís party and will exist irrespective of Kiir, Riek or Garang. Are you better than our dead comrades? Is libelling the only way of earning you a job?
Please stop all this nonsense even for your own sake because people are watching you and eventually you will become irrelevant in their eyes as unscrupulous opportunist who scratches other peoplesí back for selfish gains.
Remember, true dignity and prestige can never be purchased or gained through ill-gotten wealth or political leadership but be cultivated personal integrity.
Nevertheless, President Kiir and his Vice Riek Machar should not allow rumourmongers sow seeds of hatred among Southern Sudanese. The Party is for the people and everyone must be treated with equal respect.
Please, President Kiir, take the lead and root out tribalism and cronyism within the party. No candidate should imposed himself/herself or be imposed on citizens