Sudan elections: verbal contracts between the politicians and the electorates


Mabior Atem de Kuir,
"Candidates are launching their official campaigns with ceremonial colorful dances, well articulated speeches plus careful citation of late Dr. John Garang’s famous quote of bringing towns to villages,” writes David Mabior Atem de Kuir

Winnipeg MB, Canada - As the election date is fast approaching, verbal political contracts are signed between politicians and voters.  These verbal contracts are signed orally through lip services delivery by promising the voters that they will bring the development to villages.  Political campaigns are painted with future promises such as building of roads, schools, hospitals, elimination of poverty and many more things.  Besides all these wonderful promises, ordinary voters are intensively divided between the SPLM mainstream and Independent. The magnitudes of that internal division have resulted into political fragmentation, which will create political vacuum.   The splitting of the same people who fought for the same freedom for the marginalized communities all over the Sudan will be weakened by the Sudan defining moment namely; elections and referendum.  The leadership has to be mindful that political fragmentation will bring unpredictable future for the preservation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).

Analytically, are lip services deliveries much stronger than the practical delivery of services to the villages?  Going through the speeches, line-by-line, none of the politicians has not addressed something different from what they have been saying and doing for the last five years.  On the other hand, some contesters’ speeches are lacking democratic indicators such as accountability, transparency, gender justice, human rights and good governance.  Not putting such position indicators in the speeches will make verbal political contracts lose because voters would find it difficult to make judgment of who is the best candidate. 

Furthermore, reflecting on the past four years accomplishments leads me to conclude whether new or old, these candidates have the same common characteristics because they are from the same cadres.  This leaves me to reflect on the famous proverb that whether new or old candidates, “they are birds of the same feathers.” Clearly, some of them have been holding senior positions since the inception of the GoSS without any tangible results, which could be presented to convince voters.  The case in point is a corruption pandemic where zero tolerant policy was introduced and enacted by the Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly but lacks solid evident that the policy is being followed or implemented. 

Whose responsibility was that? The answer is clear even if not being stated.  Our President speaks loudly about corruption as he said in one of his campaign speeches: “corruption remains another competing enemy of the south Sudan along with HIV and AIDS.  We successfully fought liberation wars but we are yet to fight another bitter and hardest war on AIDS and corruptions."

In my opinion, our leadership political agenda for upcoming elections should have included the following:

·         Reduce insecurity: intra-conflicts, inter-conflicts ethnic conflicts

·         Reduce food shortages:  lack of agricultural investment and no employability projects

·         Improve infrastructure: concrete roads, electricity, bridge and railway to increase trades within and outside

·         Improve taxation system not personal daily decided at the road blocks

·         Create welfare system for widows, elders, orphan children and the disabled not lip service systems

·         Create practical social service systems not theoretical systems: health care and education: preschool, primary secondary, colleges and universities

·         Promote economic development geared toward entrepreneurships not come-and-go-funding-system as well as foreign grant assistance

The SPLM leadership platform should address the above outlined points in order to achieve a balance between the future and present needs.  The above points should be our priorities if our politicians and voters have to sign an agreement verbally.  The SPLM objective and vision should reflect daily social problems encountered by the marginalized people.

Campaigners are allowed to make cases about rural development through presentation of what they think as an engine for rural development such as modern farming instead of subsistence farming, micro-finance and investment in purified water.  Implementations of these things outlined above ensure economic prosperity as well as prevention of malpractice; nepotism and corruption.  This will credit the importance of implementation as it has been stated clearly by a long term friend to people of Southern Sudan Mr. Roger Winter that “a written policy is only as good as the quality and faithfulness of its implementation.”

Our leadership has some brilliant ideas but implementation is our third enemy if AIDS and CORRUPTION have taken first and second.  As our president stated "Although it is hard fighting them, we must not give an inch to either AIDS or corruption so they ruin our nation from recovering and developing faster," he said adding his cabinet has on Friday the 26th, agreed to put additional measures on how to fight corruption through an established anti-graft commission headed by Dr. Pauline Riak.”  However, formulation and regulatory policy are very different from one another!  Anti-corruption headed by Dr. Pauline Riak was formed long time ago to regulate mismanagement of public funds but regulatory body has brought nobody to the book while there are rampant issues of corruption. 

 I will end this piece with quote from one of my favourite authors, Jean Allard who said that “a system without penalties for wrongdoing gives tacit approval that such wrongdoing can continue that it is not really wrong.”

*David Mabior Atem de Kuir is a Masters candidate in Public Policy and Public Administration Program, Specializing in Strategic Planning and Management at the University of Manitoba with proposed Thesis on Immigration Policy. He can be reached at: E-Mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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