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.
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…
The International community must stop blocking the Referendum for Southern Sudan!! By John Yien Tut Bok Joak March 30, 2010 (SSNA) — The imminent birth of a new state in the region sends a shiver to those opposed to freedom and dignity for the peoples of Southern Sudan who have been exploited for over five…
By Nhial K. Wicleek March 30, 2010 (SSNA) — Although yearning for democratic change where all voices should be heard, the 17 parties that heralded postponement of the election must ensure that the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) is the riding story that guides the spirit of the election. As anticipated during the Comprehensive Peace Agreement…
By Zechariah Manyok Biar March 30, 2010 (SSNA) — Medical workers have been on strike for sometimes now in Sudan, even though Miraya FM reported that there is a mediation team that has been formed to “negotiate between striking doctors and officials from the Federal Ministry of Health to reach a resolution.” Sudan Tribune also reported…
By Luk Kuth Dak “Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. March 29, 2010 (SSNA) — Unfortunately, the interrelated reality of the political paradigm in South…