By Biel Boutros
January 16, 2010 (SSNA) — The composition of the current Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly (SSLA) and the ten states’ Legislative Assemblies (SLA) leaves a lot to be desired. In short, there are those members who know what to do in the august house and in whose interest. These members discuss matters objectively while having at heart the interest of whom they represent. Then there are those other members who do not know why they are in the parliament and for what interest. Anything to do with parliamentarian’s key role to his or her people’s interest is rather a mystery. These ones, when the speaker looks up asking if any contrary views or different opinion on the matter under discussion, the heads sink down and for they fear the eyes may get into contact with the Honourable Speaker’s and because of such uncut dormancy in the important house, they don’t like to be seen. They don’t discuss anything inside for the welfare of the voters and yet they are the very ones loving to be noted everywhere, every time as ‘Honourable’. What are such members being ‘Honourable’ for? Are they really ‘Honourable’?
For fairness sake, these members do remember some other things like who played it cool for them to reach the parliament and where to spend their long unnecessary recess—-of course the cool places for them are obvious and as if any MP who doesn’t go to Nairobi or Kampala or Khartoum is not people’s representative! Have our Honourables got their counties in the foreign lands? Straightly, for the most of the female MPs, they keenly know that they in 2005 were selected at certain hotels either in Khartoum or Nairobi or in Kampala etc by their big brothers who fooled other citizens of their counties and brought up their women in the expense of true people’s representatives. “Let her go there and for me, I am a man and after all a liberator, I would get a place later in the government”. That was what some of their husbands said.
For indeed they are men and have surely thereafter climbed to the highest positions as they bragged of from the start. Yet, a very few of some other female MPs made it that far because of experience and education they have had and therefore, are among the group that knows who they are representing in the parliament. For the gentlemen, some have gone to parliament because a big comrade or a drinking mate close to a big brother has played it down to his advantage and for others; they were rightly brought by their parties based on their wisdom, experience and constructive education they have had. They are among the very group that is committed to discuss matters pertaining to citizens’ interest.
Yet, among all these groups, still there are those who intentionally remain careless and irresponsible to public interest and their malice is partly what causes havoc to this young nation. These members are ever guests in the august house. You see their places are ever empty all the time and some, sometimes come late as though they are in the parliament that operates at random. They are the very members who make the deliberations very hard for motions on the matters of public concern. How? This has been due to their constant absenteeism and one is left to wonder whether these ‘Honourable’ have signed a secret contract of absenteeism! Most of our handpicked MPs, if have been sensitive enough, though got to parliament through dubious means, could have taken available advantage to work hard so that they might have won the interest of the people of their counties but because of their arrogance and ignorance coupled with the belief in ‘appointments’ and ‘favours’ that may crown the next systems and the corruption played by their big brothers and so forth, then over the past years of their honeymoons, they have forgotten the common Southern Sudanese—those who toiled year in, year out to provide daily bread during the liberation. There have been so many problems in different counties but the concerned MPs whether are of the States or SSLA never visited the suffering citizens instead they have for the last four years remained playing hotel politics. Will the citizens who love this young nation return these unproductive MPs to Parliament by voting for them? I am sure some of these rotten MPs will bribe the common man in the rural poor for short-lived cash and empty promises but is Southern Sudan below stolen money? Will citizens of such a county forget quite easily that such a Honourable forgot them over the last five years? My simple appeal is to all ordinary Southern Sudan’s common citizens to vote out these unproductive Members of Parliament for they have failed us and are indicators of bad governance—fit to be discarded and got rid of. Let’s vote for those who will represent public interest, those who will unite the county members rather than secretly dividing them along clannish lines.
Fellow citizens, vote in to power those who will not forget visiting you during recess all the time. Vote for those who will not be guests in the august house by being absent all the time. Fellow Southerners, let’s entrust our interest in the hands of those who will not all the times in the parliament vote in favour of referring critical issues to the committee, which committee later kills the whole matter leaving the serious MPs with heartburns. Fellow citizens, send to parliament only and only those who will not get confused on matters of national interest by being neutral all the times when the august house votes on certain matters.
Fellow citizens, vote for those who will not condone corruption in the executive branch or otherwise. Should we fail to read all these writings written everywhere on the wall, should we be blinded by tribal or family loyalty to vote for incapable relatives just because of blood being thicker than water? Are we ready to vote unpatriotically for the results which we know will be regrettable and disastrous? Are we prepared again for another period of domestic confusion in the South?
Let’s examine our conscience and just simply vote out the unproductive ones in every public office at any level in the forthcoming elections. Replace them with those who have larger heart to serve the entire public—-those whose family interest doesn’t override nation’s. All concerned citizens should not shy away but speak out now so that the next parliament does not become a source of wealth for individuals who care less of their fellow citizens nor will it be a centre for oppression but rather an august house for public interest based on the rule of the law and a watchdog for public assets not other way round.
Biel Boutros is reachable at: email@example.com