To disgruntled SPLM candidates: Concede to the nominees for the sake of Southern Sudan

Category: Writing aboard the Kenya Airways: A story on coming to Rwanda for the first time
Published on Wednesday, 03 February 2010 23:43
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Akol Aguek
(Vermont USA) - Total disclosure: I am not speaking for the SPLM political Bureau in anyway but simply expressing what I believe to work for the interest of Southern Sudanese in the long run.

It is very simple: uniting the rank and file of the party as we head into the general elections must be the ultimate goal for all Southerners at this point in time. It is all hands on deck and each of us has to play a role larger than ourselves. It is in such a spirit that I personally ask the dissident members of the party who clearly have genuine grounds to dispute the nomination process to concede the races for various positions and unite behind the party “nominees” as the election days draw near.

Concession: I do know that those dissatisfied, “defeated” SPLM candidates have a point. The nomination process was not perfect and it could have been better and here is why I think they have genuine concerns.  As a political science student who had worked on analyzing US electoral process dating back to 1865 – present, I have to  argue that the nomination process put in place by SPLM Political Bureau was a top down process that did not in any way allow the voices of ordinary Southern Sudanese to be heard, and that was very unfortunate, and elitist on the side of SPLM leadership at best.

I reiterate (with emphasis), the nomination process was an imperfect top down process put in place by the Moment’s leadership that is interested in nothing but maintaining the status quo. I mean SPLM Secretary General, Pagan Amum knows better that the US major parties’ conventions they visited in the Summer of 2008 happened long after people have spoken about who should be their flag bearers. Delegate had to vote during the conventions as a matter of process to endorse the will of the people.  What happened with the SPLM nomination process is nowhere near the US nomination processes that Hon. Amum witnessed little over a year ago.

I have no doubt that those who question the integrity of the process are right because it is very obvious that the process organized by the SPLM leadership was designed in a way that would ensure the maintenance of the status quo in the end.  For example, there is something to be said about individuals pleading with Hon. Alier Yom to not run against Hon. Michael Makuei Lueth because the Minister for Constitutional Affairs was deemed as too big to fail. Fair question could be asked: in what sense does that line of thought holds water?

We have seen both leaders playing their major roles during the liberation struggle, and both of them as a matter of history have stayed put until the victory was achieved.  So the persuasion itself was demeaning to Hon. Ayom in every measure.

The point is the party leadership went into this with the idea of ‘do not reinvent the wheel as long as nothing is broken’ and that serves the very purpose of maintaining the status as I am going to argue in favor of that very line of thought given all that is at stake.  So our heroic nationalists who put themselves up for public service have a point when they complained that their defeats have nothing to do with the choice of their electorates.

The point is well taken.  At ordinary times, this elitist top down approach would not be acceptable because the democratic process needs nothing but the people to nominate and elect their own representatives to serve on their behalf in the government.

But we are not at those ordinary times this year 2010 all the way into 2011. The position I am taking in this piece is “let the perfect not be the enemy of the good” for we have too much at stake right now that we cannot afford to be distracted by side issues that could be addressed down the road after the general elections, and referendum have taken place, and Southern Sudan has become an independent nation.  The failure by our comrades to concede and unite behind the “nominated” members even though they have a point is the best gift they can deliver to our enemy at this point in time. It will polarize the party into the “entitled” to lead against the “dissatisfied” by the status quo and factor in the tribal inclinations which is where such divisions end up, we will have a fractured party that is weakened to the point of not winning the elections let alone pursuing the national interest of the expected independent Southern Sudan.  Let us unite and keep SPLM-Khartoum (to borrow Kuir Garang’s term) at bay because we do not know what Bashir has for them in order to destabilize Southern Sudan.

We cannot give our enemy a free hand to determine our destiny. I sincerely appeal to our beloved heroes to quit the races and work for the bigger goals larger than themselves.  It is the same goals which they went in the bush for and risked their lives for 22 years. The unity of the SPLM is in their hands and they have to take on that challenge. The time to tear down elitism and entitlement will surely come. Today is not that time.

*Akol AguekNgong, is assistant director of admissions at the University of Vermont, Burlington, VT, USA. He is a regular contributor for NewSudanVision.Com. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.