Dear Governor -Elect, Col. Bangasi Joseph Bakosoro Governor of Western Equatoria State Sir, April 27, 2010 (London, United Kingdom) — On behalf of the United South Sudan Party (USSP), I would like to offer you my warmest congratulations on your election as the new governor of Western Equatoria State (WES). During the election campaign…
“Society is one vast conspiracy for carving one into the kind of statue likes, and then placing it in the most convenient niche it has.” Randolph Bourne By Justin Ambago Ramba April 23, 2010 (SSNA) — It was a huge disappointment to many sons and daughters of western Equatoria state all over the world when…
By Justin Ambago Ramba
April 22, 2010 (SSNA) — South Sudan sadly enough continues to hit the headlines for all kinds of disasters, from hunger, thirst, disease, illiteracy, poverty, insecurity, corruption, weak governance, cattle rustling , banditry…….etc , while its leadership stands amid all these chaos completely looking blank. But you will be wrong if you think that any of these are due to natural misfortunes. No it is not the case, at least not in the remote Western Equatoria State (WES).
By all standards, nature is very generous in these parts of south Sudan. It is a region blessed with vast fertile land, ever green vegetations, and reliable rain falls. Good drainage, peace loving communities, and a very high rate of literacy and civility. This is one of God’s several heavens on earth which Man is trying to turn upside down.
Dozens of extremely bad incidents have happened in WES state which started the regrettably killings of those top police officers in Yambio few years ago, the recurrent LRA attacks, the unchecked insecurity posed by the Mbororo nomads, the assassination of the prominent female political figure late Mariam Biringi, the massacre of the school children in the aftermath of the CPA celebrations earlier this year and many others. Unfortunately as if to confirm the hidden hands of the authorities, no culprits have been brought to book.
With the above records, the ordinary person in WES takes it that, the government has either abandoned them or is even beginning to work against their very existence. People are desperate and as with anything else the way out is to have a change for the better, which they sought to achieve through the elections.
It is for the sake of change and the much need liberation from a tyrant administration that the citizens of WES went out to vote in their thousands, enduring all the harassments, intimidations, and threats of bodily harm posed by the security and police personnel throughout the voting period.
Many also had to endure the inconveniences created by the National Elections Commission’s (NEC) poor work, like misspelling of names, misallocation of names from the original centres of registration, long queues, thirst, exhaustion, rains, bad roads, and walking long distances on foot.
Many elderly and disabled citizens (cripples, blind etc) also took it upon themselves and challenged the hot tropical sun to reach the scattered polling stations to vote. All had one belief in mind, and it was to vote in office a new administration that can cater for their interest as opposed to those false liberators who have just over a night, become new rulers ( Neo- Jallaba) by doing exactly what the northern Arabs did or even worse.
However, although the people are sure that the change that they voted for is forth coming, undoubtedly they were disturbed and angered by the cowardly act of burning the ballot boxes which were on their way to Yambio, from Yeri in Mvolo County as well as those burnt in Yangiri, Ezo County.
The claim in the media that the burnt casted ballot papers were the works of some unknown bandits, reminds the citizens in WES of the familiar tone often used by the local authorities in statements repeatedly issued in this targeted part of south Sudan since 2005, each time the secret hand strikes.
How can unknown bandits just appear out of the blue on a main road between Mundri and Maridi at a time when roads in WES were closed immediately following the last day of the polls? In Yambio itself people were banned from either driving cars or riding motorbikes in the streets. Soldiers were eventually deployed all over the state.
Anyway if ‘unknown bandits’ is another word for ‘those cowards’, then let it be. Otherwise even without the least of finger pointing, the locals have already reached their verdicts. Nobody in their right state of mind can believe this cheap ‘whitewash’ story. Can anybody explain the miracle, how the so-called ‘unknown bandits, spared the three people on the truck? Here is a scenario where a policeman, the truck driver and the intelligence personnel all managed to escape the funny ordeal alive and completely unharmed. If it were the LRA, the overused scapegoat in WES killings, lips and ears would have been cut off or even limbs chopped.
Again to drive the point home, how on earth is it that the ballot boxes were transported on a truck whereas the whole process in its initial stages was handled by choppers? Were the UNAMIS only left with that one chopper that incidentally broke down? Why was the commissioner of Mvolo so ungenerous in providing the much need security escort for such an important and risky mission? Is this not the same commissioner who disrupted Col. Bakosoro’s campaign in the first place?
By Zechariah Manyok Biar April 21, 2010 (SSNA) — Everybody, including analysts who predicted some months ago that there was going to be a widespread violence during elections in Sudan, now agrees that the voting process in Sudan was peaceful. But they still know that a peaceful voting does not mean the completion of peaceful…
“If pigs could vote, the man with the slop bucket would be elected swineherd every time, no matter how much slaughtering he did on the side.” Orson Scott Card. By Justin Ambago Ramba April 21, 2010 (SSNA) — All eyes are now on the Sudan as it counts its most controversial polls. However the very observers…
By Justin Ambago Ramba
April 18, 2010 (SSNA) — It is now clear that when war was ravaging in south Sudan over a period well beyond two decades, some African leaders like the types of Idriss Deby, weren’t even keen enough to see where the whole thing was eventually driving the politics in this region of the continent. Even the 2 million plus lives lost in that war seem to move none of their nerves. Countries like Chad were either busy installing their own totalitarian regimes or as likely could be, were in fact supporters of the Islamic government of Khartoum that declared the Islamic Holy War of “Jihad” supposedly against the non – Muslims infidels of South Sudan.
Like Dr. Khalil Ibrahim of the Darfuri, Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), President Déby’s cousin, it was a religious duty to fight against the southern Sudanese rebels. He took his AK 47 and joined the Mujahedeen to raise the banner of Islamic conquest in the jungles of Africa. The dream never materialized and Khalil himself is now a rebel leader against the same unjust regime that he once fought to promote.
Given the many ideological and ethnical commonality between the two Zaghawa Islamists, it came as no surprise at all that on April 16th, 2010 the Chadian president went on the Media to add his voice to the handful sceptics and warned against the outcome of South Sudan’s forth coming self determination referendum where it is more likely to vote for secession and become Africa’s newest state. Deby openly declared that south Sudan’s independence would spell trouble and he calls it "a disaster for Africa."
"We all have a north and south, part Muslim and part Christian. If we accept the disintegration of the Sudan, how do confront attempts to break the other countries?" Chad’s President Idriss Deby said.
"I say it loud, I’m against this referendum (separation) and against the possibility of division" he added. "Do you really think that the Khartoum government would agree easily on the loss of the south with its oil and minerals?"He added.
Chad is a country that borders the war torn province of Darfur. Officially it is known as the Republic of Chad, and is a landlocked country in north central Africa. It is bordered by Libya to the north, Sudan to the east, the Central African Republic to the south, Cameroon and Nigeria to the southwest, and Niger to the west. Due to its distance from the sea and its largely desert climate, the country is sometimes referred to as the "Dead Heart of Africa".
Like Sudan Chad is abound with ethnic and religious groups, which fought with each other bloody conflicts.
In 1960 Chad obtained independence from France under the leadership of François Tombalbaye, a southern Christian. Resentment towards his policies in the Muslim north culminated in the eruption of a long-lasting civil war in 1965. In 1979 the rebels conquered the capital and put an end to the south’s hegemony.
However, the rebel commanders fought amongst themselves until Hissène Habré defeated his rivals. He was overthrown in 1990 by his general Idriss Déby who received huge backing from the National Islamic Front (NIF) a.ka National Congress Party (NCP) government in Khartoum. Recently, the Darfur crisis in Sudan has split over the border and destabilised the nation, with hundreds of thousands of Sudanese refugees living in and around camps in eastern Chad.
In 2006 Déby unilaterally modified the constitution to remove the two-term limit on the presidency. This removal allows a president to remain in power beyond the previous two-term limit. Most of Déby’s key advisers are members of the Zaghawa ethnic group, although southern and opposition personalities are represented in government.
Corruption is rife at all levels in Chad; Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index for 2005 named it the most corrupt country in the world, and has fared only slightly better in the following years. In 2007, it scored 1.8 out of 10 on the Corruption Perceptions Index (with 10 being the least corrupt). Only Tonga, Uzbekistan, Haiti, Iraq, Myanmar, and Somalia scored lower. Critics of President Déby have accused him of cronyism and tribalism.
The aforementioned lines were meant to give the readers some insight into the country that is patiently rotting under the current totalitarian regime of General Deby. If it is anything to go by, Chad in its own right is atypical example of an active political volcano. But instead of working out home-made solutions, unfortunately our Zaghawa life president is worrying himself with issues next door. This is typical of post Oil boom intoxication. You only need to look up north at Muamar Ghadafi of Libya to fully appreciate this political syndrome.
Let no one make mistake in generalising the political problems of the African continent though on the surface they all seem to have their roots in the artificial national boundaries. These frontiers were drawn by the European colonialists with the primary aim of weakening existing African governing structures in order to make the people easily colonisable.
However while the whole of the African national boundaries were drawn for them, the African people themselves have on the general defied frontiers in favour of communicating with their kinsmen across them. This is true of all the existing frontiers where similar communities and ethnic nationalities exist on either side.
Although the entire continent of Africa is yearning for a continental unity as was enshrined in the organisation of the African unity (OAU) charters and then carried forwards into the African Union (AU), yet the anomalous existence of what are in fact a distortion of the image of Africa, in the form of Sudan, Uganda, Kenya, Chad, Nigeria, Somalia, Ethiopia …….etc (all piled together and forced into a life- long disharmony) has had its toll by creating artificial citizenry. Our people are so much consumed within our national disharmony, that we are left with no energy to unify Africa.
It is the types of Idriss Derby who go on changing their countries’ beautiful constitutions so that they can remain in power for life thus oppression the people and denying them any chance of peaceful transfer of power. And now when he is done, the Chadian general who has his eyes on Darfur, is questioning, how could the northern Sudanese possible allow the south to secede with all that huge oil?
April 16, 2010 (Juba) — 1.ARREST OF AGENTS IN MAIWUT: The polling agent of the party in Maiwut was taking the IDs of the party polling agents for Maiwut and Longichuk counties from Malakal when he and the party Chairman in Maiwut were arrested in Maiwut on the 10th of April. The ID cards, a sum of 7,900 SDG the agent was carrying and their mobile phones were seized. After protest by the party he was released at about 9:00 am on the 11th but the cards, the money and the mobile phones were not returned.
2. ARREST OF CHIEF AGENT FOR LAKES STATE IN RUMBEK: The Chief Agent of the candidate for the President of the Government of Southern Sudan for the Lakes State, Mr Abraham Mapour, was arrested in Rumbek town on the 10th; the second time within a week. He was only released the next day.
3. INTIMIDATION AND INTERFERENCE WITH POLLING IN FASHODA COUNTY: The Commissioner of Fashoda County, Paul Arop, State Minister of Education, Dr Munyikwan, Major General Alfred Akwoc (a candidate in the elections) and Akwoc Dok (Also a candidate in the elections for a different seat), all from the SPLM, moved with a force of 30 SPLA soldiers led by a Brigadier, two Lt Cols and Police Col Obwonyo and intimidated the voters in three polling centres: Lul, Bhol and Agod. They threatened the citizens that if they vote for the Torch (symbol of SPLM-DC) they will not see the sun again. When the citizens did not seem to be intimidated, they took away the polling boxes of Bhol Centre and drove to Kodok without the elections officers. The boxes contain the ballot papers cast that day. The same group later went to Golbany Centre and prevented some people from voting.
4. IRREGULARITIES IN KAPOETA TOWN: The polling officer was just ticking the Star (symbol of the SPLM) and handing the papers to every citizen that comes to vote. The party agents present protested and the officer concerned did not listen to them. Because of this obvious rigging, they wrote a petition to the High Elections Committee and withdrew from that centre.
5. IRREGULARITIES IN TORIT TOWN: (a)– Malakia Centre: The party agent, Bona Sebastian, was picked up by an SPLA Brigadier from the polling centre, taken away in a car and threatened with death if he goes back. His sin was that he protested against the irregularities committed by the polling officers who were ticking the ballots in favour of the SPLM. (b)– Malakia and Gumba: In this centre, the people were voting without identification, opening the door wide open for rigging. (c )– Mishony Centre: The party agent, David Legga, was asked to leave the centre not to witness the rigging being made in favour of the SPLM.
1. IKOTOS: The Supervisor of the party agents in the county, Mr John Caesar Lokordok, was attacked at about 9:30 pm this evening by two armed men in plain clothes and the motor bike he was riding seized by the attackers. The attack was politically motivated. When he went to the Police to open a case against them, the Police officer on duty said no case will be opened until after the elections!!
2. PIBOR: In Pibor, the SPLA security personnel were forcing the voters to vote for SPLM candidates only. Those who dare to defy their orders are beaten up.
Date: 12 April 2010
1. LAKES STATE: (a)- Ulu: The security threatened the voters who did not vote in the way theywanted. (b)- Yirol: At Barbakeny Centre the voters were told to vote for the SPLM and when they refused a scuffle broke out. (c)- Rumbek East: At Malek Centre the SPLA personnel were threatening the voters to vote for the SPLM candidates only.
2. WARRAP STATE: The party agent, Mr Madut Chan Ogwak, was detained since yesterday in Tonj and is still under detention. Eleven agents of other political parties were also arrested on the same day.
1. NORTHERN Bahr El Ghazal STATE: (a)- Udhum, Aweil West County: An old man that the SPLA security saw voting for Dr Lam Akol was arrested in the polling Centre and his ballot paper torn. He is still under detention. He is called Luol Ochalla from Riang Angon village. (b)- Aweil East: One of the candidates from the SPLM contesting for the Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly, Garang Diing Akwong, closed down the polling centre when he realized that the people were not voting for him. (c)- Aweil East and Aweil West Counties: The two Commissioners each took the ballot boxes to their homes and packed them with ballot papers in favour of the SPLM (d)- Aweil South: One of the candidates from the SPLM, Garang Majak, took two ballot boxes from Maper Centre. (e)- Thirty-two (32) centres were closed down by the State Government.
1. JONGLEI STATE: Bor Town: The SPLM was telling people inside the voting centre to vote for Salva Kiir. The polling officers did not object and it went on for some time despite the protest from the agent of SPLM-DC. Also, yesterday at around 2:30 pm, The GOSS Minister for Legal Affairs, who is a candidate in the elections, moving with a group of SPLA soldiers ordered the voters to vote for the SPLM. When the Policeman guarding the station protested, he was disarmed.
2. UPPER NILE STATE: (a)- Melut County: The returning officers at a number of centres in Geldora were handing the voters ballot papers already ticked against the SPLM symbol and only asked to put the papers in the appropriate ballot boxes. Agents of the other political parties who protested against this kind of irregularities were asked to leave the centres. (b)- Maiwut: The party agent, Mr Thiyang Manytap, was arrested on 11th by the SPLA and is being kept in their garrison. (c)- Many County: The Commissioner of Many County arrested two of the polling officers in Kaka in order to use the rest to rig the elections in favour of the SPLM. He also arrested the polling agent of SPLM-DC, Mr Obach Nyikang. In Athidhwoi and Golo centres, the agents of the party were arrested by SPLA soldiers on orders of the Commissioner. (d)- Renk: Mabior polling centre was closed by the SPLA on suspicion that the voters were not voting in favour of the SPLM.
1. UNITY STATE: (a)- Chotchare: At this polling station, the SPLA and supporters of the Governor, who is a candidate for the same position, took away the ballot boxing at 4:00 pm on the 11th, stacked them with ballot papers of their preference and got them back. (b)- Lingyiera: At this polling centre, agents of the SPLM, Pou Maluak and Garjang Matiop, opened the ballot boxes at 2:00 am in the morning and tampered with them. Other agents who were guarding the boxes protested and reported the matter to the High Elections Committee. This centre should not have been there in the first place but was imposed by the Governor. (c)- Buoth, Koch County: The SPLA Major-General Dor Manjour threatened the voters and beat some of them. (d)- Jak: The SPLA soldiers shot at the voters queuing outside a polling centre hitting one of them in the hand. (e)- Riak: Here the SPLA soldiers opened fire on the voters seriously wounding Mr John Jang Luak who is a candidate in this election. The voters dispersed into the nearby bushes and two of them are believed to be dead. The cars of SPLM-DC and the NCP were seized.
Date: 13 April 2010
1. CENTRAL EQUATORIA STATE: (a)- Jebel Rejaf: on the 12th, our agent, Nhial, requested that the ballot boxes be closed at the time set by the elections schedule. He was arrested by the military intelligence of the SPLA component of the JIUs and taken to their camp where he was beaten. (b)- Customs Souq: Our agents were sent away by the military intelligence of the SPLA because of their insistence to record the last serial numbers of the ballot papers used. (c)- Kator Centre: Our agent, Marko, wanted to record the serial numbers of the ballot papers. He was taken away at about 12:20 noon by the military intelligence of the SPLA to their camp and beaten. He was set free at 4:30 pm. It is left for everybody’s guess what they did with the ballot papers in this period of four hours. (d)- Moniki Payam: The Leader of the elections team in the Payam was ordering the voters to vote for Salva Kiir. When our agent, John Michael, protested he was sent away from the centre.
2. LAKES STATE: (a)- Yirol: the party’s agent was arrested at Lekakodo centre, driven away by SPLA security personnel and detained for five (5) hours from 1:30 pm to 6:30 pm. Note that the polls close at 6:00 pm daily. (b)- Gondu: The Leader of the elections committee was directing the voters to vote for the SPLM and allowing some people to vote more than once (indelible ink was clear). Near the station, the SPLM supporters were parading and chanting SPLM slogans something prohibited by the elections Act and regulations.
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…
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.