How Kiir can be the next President of the Republic of Sudan

Category: Writing aboard the Kenya Airways: A story on coming to Rwanda for the first time
Published on Thursday, 12 March 2009 21:04
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Manyok Biar is a regular contributor to The New Sudan Vision

In the upcoming elections in Sudan, supporters of National Congress Party (NCP) will vote for Bashir and supporters of Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) will vote for Kiir. This means that both Bashir and Kiir need to reach out to their non-supporters in order to win elections.

Bashir has advantage over Kiir in many ways. First, he is incumbent president of Sudan and in African politics incumbent presidents rarely lose elections. Second, population in Northern Sudan is larger than population living inside South Sudan at the moment. This means that Bashir has more supporters than Kiir. The only way Kiir can win elections is to come up with policies that are two times better than the policies of Bashir to win Nuba Mountains, Darfur, and the whole of eastern Sudan.

General Kiir’s policies should focus on promotion of genuine peace together with developmental activities throughout Sudan.

'People's language' 

The problem in Sudanese system of government is that government doesn’t understand people’s language. Sudanese leaders use terror to silence people. When people complain, leaders kill them to force them into submission, not knowing that people become hostile to hostile government. If Khartoum government had understood the language of Southerners after the war of Anya Nya 1, SPLM/A war would not have happened. Today, NCP and other Northern political parties use religion to maintain support from Northerners. SPLM, on the other hand, uses patriotism to maintain support from Southerners. However, none of the above will convince everybody to support the unpopular system.

What people need in Sudan now is the change in the system of government from the reign of terror to a democratic rule in which the voice of people is above the interest of individual leaders. People must be allowed to live their lives in peaceful environment in which developmental activities become major focus. There can be no peace without development and there is no development without peace. General Kiir will have to spell out clearly the road map that will convince voters that he is going to implement his policies.

'Free to air out grievances' 

First step of the road map to achieving peace and development all over Sudan is to know the sources of implementation.

The main source is the people. There needs to be dialogue between the people and the government. Community leaders need to be involved in decision making on how Sudan will achieve genuine peace and development within the next three years. Government should not approach people with preconditions. Leaders need to listen to people to learn about their problems and how they should be solved. People will respect and implement policies that they produce, not the ones that are forced on them. There must also be dialogue among leaders of different regions at grassroots level so that misconceptions that people have about themselves are eliminated. Another source would be the police that will implement the rule of law to protect people from criminals, making them safer.

General Kiir needs to spell out clearly the importance of police so that the army can be reserved for special cases. International community is very important too. There is no country that can stand alone in this global world. Leaders need to show willingness to be held accountable by international community in the same way they can hold other leaders accountable. This assures people that their safety is guaranteed at the larger scale. Assured people become free to air out their grievances in peaceful manner, knowing that they will be addressed.

Second step is to spell out activities that will lead to achievement of peace and development all over Sudan over the next three years. For example, the first thing General Kiir will do if elected president is to bring peace to Darfur. Darfuris must be allowed to put forward their problems and how they want the government to address them. Government will have to level the ground of negotiations so that no side enforces its unrealistic demands on the other. Darfur is a larger area of Sudan that should not be ignored. Eastern Sudan’s problem should also be addressed. After peace has been achieved, the government under Kiir will start developmental activities all over Sudan. International community should be involved in this process.

When second step is clearly done, the attitudes of both the government and the people will positively change. Government will not see the use of force as the only way of solving social problems. People will also see the government as their government that they need to protect. These changes of attitudes would even be realized during the campaign if the road map is clearly developed. 

People all over Sudan will realize that peace is better than war. People hate war if they have something to lose. When developmental activities are going on and people are rebuilding their lives in peaceful environment, they will not even think about dividing Sudan into two. Or even if they divide it, business people will know that they will have high chances of doing business across the border. This is the message that General Kiir needs to give if he is to win elections this year.

*Zechariah Manyok Biar is a graduate student at Abilene Christian University, Texas, USA. He is pursuing a Master of Arts in Christian Ministry and a Master of Science in Social Work, specializing in Administration and Planning. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.