14 April 2010 Press Statement April 16, 2010 (Juba) — We received today confirmed reports that Dr Funda Dominic, the Secretary for Cultural Affairs and the Chief Agent of the SPLM-DC Candidate for President of the Government of Southern Sudan for Equatoria Sector was detained by the SPLA soldiers in Tore, Western Equatoria State….
Chairman, The National Elections Commission Dear Sir, Subject: Obstructions to my elections campaign in the four States of Bahr El Ghazal April 16, 2010 (Khartoum) — I refer you to my letters dated 21st and 29th of March 2010 on the obstructions made in Wau and Rumbek against launching my campaign in…
April 16, 2010 (SSNA) — The United South Sudan Party (USSP) condemns in the strongest terms all the harassments and detentions to which it’s Leader, Mr. Clement Juma Mbungoniwia was unnecessary and illegally exposed.
Mr. Mbungoniwia, a lawyer by profession, was detained several times on Tuesday 13th and Wednesday 14 April 2010, by the security personnel and the police while in Source Yubu Payam, Western Equatoria State, in south Sudan,and was lastly asked to leave the Payam for Tambura, together with a truck that was hired by the USSP to transport its supporters from Mabenge to Kpatanayo polling station.
However while in Tambura, the Supreme Judge was able to free Mr. Mbungoniwia, and asked him to return to Source Yubu and resume his political activities normally as none has the right to arrest him (Mbungoniwia) without first consulting with the Supreme Judge’s Office given the former’s legal background.
By Zechariah Manyok Biar
April 14, 2010 (SSNA) — The elections taking place in Sudan today and the upcoming referendum are exposing the real interest of some members in the international community in Sudan. Some people in the international community are trying to brand South Sudan as a failed state to scare South Sudanese away from voting for secession in 2011. There are disturbing articles that are published these days by great newspapers like New York Times that appear to play nothing more than planting fear in the people of South Sudan.
Alex Perry, in his article published by the New York Times on April 12, 2010, quoted David Gressly, the U.N.’s regional coordinator for southern Sudan; former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, whose Carter Center promotes health and democracy in Sudan; and Major General Scott Gration, U.S. special envoy to Sudan as doubting the standing-alone of South Sudan if its people chose to secede from the North in 2011. Mr. Perry says in his article that many aid workers and development experts in Juba have now coined the term “pre-failed state” to refer to a potential state of South Sudan. Can South Sudanese agree with these views?
One cannot rule out the difficulties that South Sudanese will face when they voted for independence in 2011. There might be violence or even economic collapse. However, nobody in South Sudan will regret his or her choice for secession as some people in the international community would like South Sudanese to believe.
What standard of functional state in Sudan is the international community using to call South Sudan a potential failed state? Had there been a functional government in South Sudan under both the British and the Arab rules in Sudan? If functional economy and stability are among the criteria used to judge a functioning state or a failed state, then when did South Sudan have the functioning economy and the stability since the independence of Sudan in 1956?
I lost six siblings from late 1950s to early 1970s in their young ages to malaria that would have been treated if there were clinics in the area. I am the first to graduate with the college degree in my family since the creation of the world. I am now thirty-five years old and I have never voted in any election. Some people who are voting at the age of 90 today in South Sudan are voting for the first and the last time in their lives, but the voting process is still not free and fair. Many people in South Sudan tasted sugar for the first time in the history of their families in the 1980s from the rations provided by the United Nations.
Do we have any criterion of a functional state in the above examples to compare the potential South Sudan nation with? If staying under Khartoum rule is what makes South Sudan functional, then why did we face all the above conditions and more under the Khartoum rule from 1956 to the time we rebelled against the government in 1983? What evidence shows that Southerners cannot rule themselves?
The fact that the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/A (SPLM/A) managed to control Southerners during the war would have been a good indicator on how South Sudanese can rule themselves. SPLM/A was undoubtedly one of the most organized rebel groups over the last two decades. SPLM/A even had better human rights records, compared to the government in Khartoum. SPLM/A was able to educate its soldiers during the liberation war not to kill the prisoners of war (POWs). After the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005, SPLM/A set free thousands of the POWs of Sudanese army. Those freed POWs are still alive today. How many POWs from SPLA did the government in Khartoum release? None.
So, who between SPLM and the National Congress Party (NCP) can lead a functional state? If SPLM/A could control the people under its command during the war without paying them any salary, then why would one think that South Sudan under SPLM or any other Southern party would be a failed state after 2011 when it will be paying at least some kind of salary to its workers?
The international community does not seem to care about the freedom of choice of South Sudanese. Some groups in the media are hunting these days for people who are willing to say whatever the media would like them to say in order to give the impression that Southerners love to live in the united Sudan, even when opinion polls of Southerners indicate otherwise both internationally and locally.
The Voice of America (VOA), the Radio that I admire, published on April 12, 2010 an article that has so many errors that the well-known Radio like the VOA would have first crosschecked before publishing the article.
“The trouble with free elections is, you never know who is going to win”.Leonid Brezhnev
By Justin Ambago Ramba
April 14, 2010 (SSNA) — People are flocking in their thousands all over the war ravaged South Sudan to get a taste of what it is like to vote in their ever first experience. However, it is true that, this very much anticipated democratic process itself is not free of hiccoughs and snags, which are obviously upsetting at certain times.
“Our two elections agents were each hand cuffed and chain tied to each other by the neck, an act that is reminisce of the old slavery era. They were then driven away from Riau Polling Station,………..”. Wrote, veteran politician Bona Malwal Madut Ring, the South Sudan Democratic Forum (SSDF) candidate for the geographical constituency No.8, Warrap State, who eventually pulled out from the race.
Other similar events might have been reported in other parts of south Sudan however so far no serious events have been reported and the foreign observers seem to be to seeing some credibility in the process as expressed by former Ghanaian president, John Kufour: “People generally appreciate the elections, although there are a few glitches and flaws here and there”. John Kufour who is also the Head of African Union Observer Mission in Sudan, said.
But who are we, to avoid disappointments at this stage of our history which is marred by lots of manmade hurdles primarily intended to undermine our will to live as free people.
If you are a south Sudanese or happen to have lived or even just visited this remote area of the human civilization, you will never hold back your appreciation for the strong will demonstrated by these deprived people, who despite all the odds are set to prove all sceptics wrong should they keep their composure the way it currently stands.
Stories after stories have been told about the extreme difficulties encountered not only by the common people who turned up to participate in this historical event, but even some big boys have had their I.Qs tested. I can only say that what we have is a complicated voting process, even by foreign experts’ admissions.
So far I remain optimistic, with a very high hope that our people will continue to abide by their enduring spirits, although of course as usual, the devil always hides in the details. Things are only declared well when they register happy endings. Let us hope that we will continue to behave ourselves, while we learn our first lessons in the school of democratic transformation. It should be a pride for us to see that our people are keen to practice their basic rights by going out to choose their leaders through the ballot and never again through the bullet.
It is also the wish of the author to draw our collective attention, so that clear lessons are drawn from this very chaotic electoral process, such that similar situation are avoided in the coming referendum, especially so when we are barely left with few months at hand.
As south Sudanese we should be able to see that the chaos surrounding these elections is no coincidence. This is a calculated chaos. And those who came up with it are the same people who have spent most of their lives rehearsing these very devilish techniques in the students’ Unions since their school days. While I underline it here, I also would be appreciative that none of our people should ever try to copy it or even carry it over into our future independent nation of south Sudan. These are one of the many bad habits that are to be left behind while we cross over to the Promised Land.
Many people are on record for their persistence in calling for the forward procession with the current elections at a time when most were already fed up. Of course many on the other hand are also on record for underrating it while others out rightly boycotted it. However it is good that the voice of the mind has dominated and here we are voting and learning.
The very slow pace to the democratic transformation as well as the accompanying confusions that surround the entire electoral process are themselves no doubt the work of some political forces. The dominant National Congress Party (NCP) of the Indicted, incumbent president Omer al Bashir, who in himself is not only a human rights violator, but a typical enemy of democracy and a non- believer in any peaceful transfer of power, has a major hand in what we are seeing, however the SPLM & it’s northern opposition parties also did contribute and are still doing so.
Is it not true that he (al Bashir) got where he is now through an unconstitutional military take-over from a democratically elected government? Now at this eleventh hour, who are those out there, who want us to believe that al Bashir has converted to democracy or even that he is in any way convertible?
Al Bashir and his NCP were in no way concerned about seeing any democratic transformation is the country. Asking these coup plotters to revert to democracy is more or less like requesting an assailant to resuscitate its deceased victim. Democracy to the totalitarian Islamists is but, a forever enemy.
Who doesn’t know that, after the Oil revenues started to flow, the last thing the NCP would ever think of is to loosen its grips on power? The same applies to our friends in the SPLM, with more than half a decade of thorough soaking in the Oil money; they too would like to cling to power.
Now no wonder that elections were considered as distractions and to some extent, the government of national unity where other smaller partners are to be silence with Oil money, was seen a better option. What followed was reluctance towards the preparation for the run up to the elections. Delaying tactics became the official way of conducting business at the Palace, the GoNU, and the GoSS and almost everywhere else. Yes! And why should they ever hurry?
Lessons undoubtedly learnt are, lack of political will, poorly conducted population census, delayed naming of the members of the National Elections Commission (NEC), delayed financing, delayed printing of the ballots, non professionalism in dealing with the voters registry (lack of proper revision of the names –and much delay in producing the final registry- confused and contradictory positions of the political parties.
The current general elections, without the least doubt at all, remains the first ever since the creation, where south Sudan is able to vote in a true multi-party democracy without any outside intimidation. Look around and you can see that all the candidates, the voters, and poll managers are all from the south.
In contrast to everything we see now, in the 50’ and the 60’s, not just that the elections were controlled by northern administrators, traders, military officers, but even many of the candidates representing our people where in fact people who weren’t from the constituencies, and contested on the two major northern sectarian parties’ tickets, the UMMA and the DUP. Today it is different, better, and indigenous, though still confused and messy.
With the need to draw lessons from what have surfaced now largely in form of obstacles to free and fair elections, one is urged to call for vigilance among our people and their representatives.
By Dr. James Okuk April 13, 2010 (SSNA) — The rigging of elections by force in Southern Sudan that has been carried out by SPLM candidates and supporters in some constituencies should never be taken lightly by Hon. Abel Alier and his staff of the National Elections Commission (NEC). Tough measures should be taken immediately…
By Dr. James Okuk
April 11, 2010 (SSNA) — With all the manifestation of unfairness and tactics of blocking freedom-for-others by the SPLM/SPLA in Southern Sudan, the April general elections slightly missed the abortion disaster and got born lamely at last. Of course some of us are happy to see the life of these lame elections than abortion, which could have made the 2011 referendum for self-determination of Southern Sudan a casualty of leadership incompetence. But bravo to the CPA dictates and international/regional pressure on the SPLM to respect the schedule of the elections as the National Congress Party (NCP)’s partner and President Omer Al-Bashir has shown the whole world without wavering. This is great even if not the greatest yet!!!!
At last, and despite the SPLM confusions of disorganization here and there from within and without, the people got allowed to practice their secret right of choosing their best leaders even though in an atmosphere fêted with fear of Salva Kiir’s lost to Dr. Lam Akol Ajawin after counting of the casted votes in the South. Dr. Lam himself has been denied by Kiir’s undemocratic directives to cast his vote in the South because by the time of voter registration he (Dr. Lam) was still banned to go to the South to practice his constitutional democratic rights. However, after intense pressure on Kiir and the group, Dr. Lam was allowed at the last hours to take his campaign trail to the South but under some confidential restrictions and harassment by Kiir’s supporters. See how unfair is the April elections on Dr. Lam’s civic rights.
Any way, thanks to Dr. Lam Akol and his team of Southern political parties for accepting to play the elections political games on unleveled ground in the South for the sake of safeguarding the 2011 referendum and waking Mr. Salva Kiir from his political slumbers with blunders. If at all there are people whose complaints would have been justifiable for boycotting the elections, it would have been Dr. Lam Akol and his Southern allies (including some of the independent candidates) whose political activities were obstructed by the SPLM in the South under the pretext of fake reasons of militia-lization and NCP-lization.
However, the very man who fears much now is Mr. Salva Kiir because of possibility of not making it to resume officially the duty of the GoSS president who automatically becomes the SPLA Commander-In-Chief after taking the oath of office. This fear of lost is terrible for Mr. Kiir because it shall be a big lost for the kingdom he has been building up for himself in the South, surrounded by shameless parasitic thieves of public rights, the corruptists. I hope the elections campaigns has taught Mr. Kiir some tough lessons and perceptions he has never had conceived in his life as a leader of Southern Sudan, thanks to Dr. Lam’s courage.
It was so laughable to hear and see Mr. Kiir calling for “change” in his electioneering slogans when the very target to be changed was supposed to be himself for the sake of making Southern Sudan a free zone from bad omens that befell her in the last five years of CPA era. Will Mr. Salva Kiir be capable of the change and will the hopeless situation that crept in during his rule in the South become a source of good hope again for the people? I give a benefit of doubt.
The only credit that makes me to agree with Mr. Kiir and some SPLM leaders, so far and so good now, is their unwavering stand on conducting the referendum in time as agreed in the CPA document.
By Luk Kuth Dak April 10, 2010 (SSNA) — It’s ridiculous that the very journalists, who made a living on extolling the dictators in Sudan while they were turning South into blood pool, are now lecturing us on the benefits that come along with Sudan being a one country and a one nation. I spent…
By Justin Ambago Ramba, MD
April 9, 2010 (SSNA) — This far we have reached and the elections remain. It is all about one long journey that our people together walked the walk. Nature has its shortcomings and it can only be misinterpreted by a wicked mind. The people of south Sudan bravely tolerated the hardships of incompetent leadership, and I hope they will not be misled into yet another miserable era like the one they barely survived over the past five years which followed the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). No war, yet no peace.
When underperformance becomes so common, it is only sensible for people in responsibility to make critical analysis and soul searching. This is better than if they courageously take some time off. The entire SPLM led GoSS is badly in need of such a break. They might have acted out of good faith, though worrying greed can still be seen in some eyes. However whatever made them in the first place to take up those leadership positions, the truth is that they are no longer appealing to average citizen. The charms are since gone and the people out of hunger, misery and destitution are crying for a change.
People of south Sudan want this government changed; you as an individual also want the same thing. No surprise my brothers and sisters that both Dr. Lam Akol and President Salva Kiir Mayardit are currently calling for this very change and in their open campaigns. I have heard with my own ears and read with my own eyes the slogans, “Vote for Change”, raised by our two presidential candidates all over the local and international media outlets, thanks to technology. But realistically one of these two men must be telling lies. However should we all run and hide behind nationalism as opposed to being tribalist bigots and proceed to assume that they are both fair in their judgement and are truly calling for change , then this even sooner than later brings us face to face with the obvious. Here we can only change the incumbent leadership with a new one. I will never claim to know it all better than everybody out there, but how on earth do you change the status quo. Obviously not by performing some kind of surgical operations or juju-voodoo charms on either candidates as that is outside the electoral mandate, even if it were to improve anything.
Our votes can only change the faces and persons in offices, but as for their characters, policies, management abilities and credibility, these are all issues that they should have either learnt at their former schools, places of work, political parties or even family homes. We as the poor masses cannot build up competent leaders through the mere act of putting papers in the ballot boxes. Leaders are made some elsewhere, and the election season only offers us hopefully the fairest opportunity to pick the good ones and obviously not to do the opposite.
Many observers the worldwide don’t believe an iota of the Change thing; president Kiir is seen and heard spreading all over the place. The truth that I see and so do many others, is that voting for Kiir could only be justified by other reasons ,but “Change”, definitely is not a part of it. If Kiir has already from day one of his campaign went out openly to choose his incumbent Vice President Dr. Riek Machar as his running mate and hopefully to continue in office together, can this be called the first step to this dubious slogan of change? My dear folks is what you are seeing a change?
The CPA is a document that we have to implement if we are to play by the rules. However the way some southern politicians wanted to remain in offices without conducting elections is an issue of great worry. Our people must never ever give politicians the undeserved option of walking into leadership positions without popular mandate. The credibility of any elections is obviously an issue of concern, but how on earth do you expect a credible act from a source which lacks that very value. In parties where democracy is virtual non-existent, as is the case with our grand totalitarian political dinosaurs, you can only be praying for a divine intervention should you be expecting them to deliver anything, even if just the second best that can be acceptably described as credible.
Our incumbent leaders initially chose to implement the CPA in the ways that suited them. Dates were dishonoured. Whole events were carried out with the least of national responsibility. The end result is that, we now have a wrong population registry, we have the wrong constituencies and we are stuck in a political atmosphere where the much anticipated democratic transformation can’t find a place. Yet all those in office are aware of a constant fact in Sudan’s politics, and it is that, all previous elections where precisely partially carried out, as the people of the south were all through under a protracted war situation. It was in such partially conducted elections that today’s opposition strongman, Sadiq al Mahdi made it twice to become the Prime Minister of the country. Many so-called gurus of the Sudanese politics still today insist and continue to misname al Mahdi’s last term in office as Sudan’s second democracy, though the whole lot came about in an election when vast areas of the south were deployed with bullets and not ballots. Anyway we shall come to that another time.
Now we are hearing so many confusing statements from the delirious SPLM leadership, none of which is of course new to anybody. The dual SPLM policies of being both a southern party and national one again it is as well as a partner in the government and a leader in the opposition can never be missed even by anyone who has never set foot into a Psychiatry class. The gut feeling is that there is a terrible mental instability in play, somewhere right inside the decision making body of the once greatly applauded movement. One day they want a full boycott, another day they go for half a boycott, the next, it is pull-out from the presidential race. More surprises to come, just keep tuned.
Cdr. Yassir Arman blew off his only historical opportunity to possibility beat the spoiled boy of the al Mahdi family or even together bring under his foot, the Islamic giants of Omer Bashir, Dr. Nafie, Ali Osman Taha……………..etc. However Arman himself knows why I thought so, and he is not in any way disillusioned with the dislike al Mahdi has for him, nor the open hatred that he has although suffered from the NCP. I will be crazy to envy him for that. Yet Arman shouldn’t have used Darfur as an excuse for his withdrawal from the election race.
It is no longer a secret that the NCP is keen to find a settlement to the Darfur issue, but a one that will continue to guarantee the Northern Riveran Arabs the domination of the centre on the Sudanese politics. This can only be achieved in a setting where the south shall no longer have a share in the Institution of the Presidency or any other arrangements of the National Unity Government. If Dr. Khalil Ibrahim is demanding a full control over a united Darfur and even with some appetite for Kordufan, while he also intends a vice president’s position, you can see now how power ambitious the JEM leader is. With a big Dr. Khalil , a big incumbent Salva Kiir, both Omer Bashir and Ali Osman Taha will for sure find that institution of the Sudanese presidency a very tight room to manoeuvre inside.
When the South is final gone in 2011, the NCP or any other ruler in Khartoum will for sure find some ease in sharing the presidency with Darfur. Again should Darfur remain under the current situation, the need to breakaway in an autonomous state or even the less talked off self determination referendum will surely begin to grow bigger and bigger.
By Zechariah Manyok Biar April 2, 2010 (SSNA) — The election crisis in Sudan is threatening the stability that the country enjoyed over the last four years. Opposition groups, including the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) that has now withdrawn its national presidential candidate, seem determined to boycott the elections this month. There are many…