Commentary

Five months away from southern Sudan referendum!

 

miyar1
Miyar de Nyok
(Calgary AB) - 
The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) is five months away to its full implementation. The CPA’s full implementation failures or successes will be determined either by confirming the unity of the Sudan or seceding of South Sudan as independent state. The preparatory processes for referendum exercises have taken tough routes since 2005. There are impediments that have not been resolved. These impediments include 20% of the undemarcated borders, post-referendum arrangements and wealth sharing just to mention a few.

 

Due to the difficulties being experienced by both parties, the Government of Canada recently invited the Sudan People Liberation Movement (SPLM) and National Congress party (NCP) delegations to study Quebec Referendum (QR). Both SPLM and NCP are the CPA partners charged with the responsibility of implementing the plebiscite outcomes. The delegation committees were here in Canada to do comparative studies on the Quebec referendum in regard to upcoming referendum in January 2011. The referendum outcomes will be the litmus test for the integrity and continuity of social and democratic systems either in a united Sudan or independent South Sudan.

Although the responsibility of accepting the referendum outcomes will be for the SPLM and NCP to compromise, the South Sudanese citizens have the right to determine their fate whether to remain in the current Sudan or not. The Southern Sudanese in Canada were previously puzzled by the SPLM refusal to allow them to participate in the referendum exercises. However, they are now given constitutional rights in the referendum bill to participate in the plebiscite exercises. The SPLM fears the forging of the referendum outcomes and the facts that many Southern Sudanese living in diasporas don’t possess Sudanese identification documents, makes it very difficult to attain concrete and fair results. This fact remains a dilemma that needs caution and scrutiny by South Sudanese living in diasporas whether to participate or not.

In Calgary, Alberta, the South Sudanese Canadians were briefed on the referendum by the SPLM delegation. The delegation members explained the priorities for the Government of South Sudan 2010 as follows:

1) referendum

2) Governance

3) Security

4) Food Security

5) Basic social services.

As they discussed all the issues, they mentioned that SPLM priority is referendum.

The delegation members clearly stipulated that lack of identification documents will not be an obstacle preventing anyone to participate in the referendum. They mentioned that people who don’t have Sudanese identification documents will be assisted to vote in the referendum exercises by United Nations High Commissioners for Refugees (UNCHR), International Organizations for Immigration (IOM) and the South Sudanese community can also confirm an individual to vote if they are sure that s/he is a Southerner. In addition, the delegation members mentioned that voting centres will be assigned depending on the number of registered members in a particular city. This assignment and requirement is that a city must register 20,000 members; otherwise Ottawa will be the only designated centre for anyone who has registered to vote -a task that is squarely lying on the Southern Sudanese community in Canada.

On the other hand, the delegation members put a caveat that it is the sole responsibility of an individual to decide whether s/he will be registered for referendum exercises. This caveat reflects the fear SPLM is having toward voting outside of Southern Sudan regions. I think SPLM has a point because the referendum votes may be altered in favour of unity by NCP since NCP is now campaigning for united state. Thus, if there is going to be failure of achieving 61% for secession; this failure may result from the manipulated votes outside of Southern Sudan regions.

Therefore, it would be advisable for an individual to think twice before registering for the referendum exercises. Furthermore, it will be a mistake in our history to fail ourselves at the last stage toward achieving the right for self-determination as independent state of South Sudan. I am a diasporan myself and I trust my judgement if I decide to register later, it is going to be my commitment, having in mind that I do not want to fail our people who have suffered since 1955.

The South Sudanese in diasporas have to be very careful on the referendum exercises albeit the constitutional rights on referendum bill that have allowed them to participate. We must not allow the NCP opportunists to derail away our 61% for separation. Moreover, I am just warning and not suggesting that we should not vote in the referendum, it is our dutiful rights to decide collectively as citizens who have been disenfranchised and marginalized in the hostage of injustice and inequities.

More importantly, it is imperative not to fail self-determination toward making it a separation. When we all make that historic vote for secession, it is going to be our solemn duty and we owe it to our martyrs and living generations. The fruition of self-determination to secession will tailor hems for the destiny and prosperity of Southern Sudanese and marginalized regions.

Recommendations

  • The diasporas have to thoroughly do registration screening by counties and states

  • The chief returning officers must be trusted Southern Sudanese

  • The Southern Sudan must work hand in hand with Canadian government to assist in conducting fair plebiscite exercises

  • SPLM must also be careful with tactful means NCP has now employed

  • SPLM should be the one verifying the referendum votes tallying

  • SPLM advisory committees on referendum must continue assisting and guiding the diasporas during registration and voting

 Miyar De’Nyok is a graduate of the University of Waterloo. You can reach him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

Why the elected southern Sudan government should listen to citizens’ concerns

kuol_garang_037
Kuol
(Melbourne Australia) - The state of political orthodoxy in Southern Sudan has been under unpalatable blockade from self proclaimed political pundits who keep on promoting their own myopic vision. This fallacious vision has worsened Southern Sudan’s overall political, economic and social fabrics. Specifically, it has squashed to its knees the relentless economic structure evidenced by Southern Sudan ugliest nick name- “The Pre-failed State” (Times Magazine). From the time Sudan People Liberation Army (SPLA) incepted its revolutionary war against the Islamic Government of Khartoum  on 16th may 1983, many of the younger generations who are more attuned to the potency of a credible government in Southern Sudan were not born—of whom I am one of them! Starting from our late fathers to (these) younger generations that endured the agony of war, the chain of support for the SPLA has not fell off our consciences.

Despite that, there are discernible political bungles within the echelon of the SPLM Government that generate more questions. The SPLM political make-up is grossly convoluted as to who exactly makes decisions, and who exactly is responsible for policy releases? This unsolicited convolution is clearly evinced by previous varying pre-election remarks that surfaced between the president of the Government of Southern Sudan Salva Kiir and the secretary general Pagan Amum, on whether the Northern Sudan Constituencies should withdraw their electoral processes. And in which Mr Kiir distanced himself from electoral suspensions; while Mr. Amum who announced the decision of the SPLM Political Bureau is his right hand man.

 

Besides that, the political trajectory within the Southern Sudan Government has been from time to time getting weaker and weaker; either internally or from external forces such as the National Congress Party (NCP). However, the political fretfulness generated by the NCP doesn’t disquiet most of us, because the partnership between both parties (SPLM and NCP) is enshrined in the documented back bone—the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). All Southern Sudanese want an effective management of resources, as well as the formulation of the policies of the government. Frankly, our government’s utilisation of the resources, as everyone would agree, has been erroneously abused across the political spectrum of the same government without the aim for potential developmental dividend.

The Government has also been underperforming in the war on corruption. We have seen, we have witnessed, and we continue to hear frivolous warnings to those who are the contributors of a problem, and there has been no single action despite the vexing intensity of its rhythm. Along that, in Southern Sudan, there is a mysterious virus that “eats up nation’s money”, a virus (or corruption) that has no political diagnosis other than a promise for its diagnostic procedures, and we end up with the accused not being put on trial. Several times, the president of the Government of Southern Sudan and the one many of us so far called “our leader Salva Kiir” had denounced corruption—that “those who steal public money should be brought to justice”-but have they!? If any, which law has so far been applied to such crime makers? I think none.

 

To not steer the wheel harder, the big issue here is about the way the SPLM and its associates marshal their policies. How they produce and disseminate their differing policies to the detriment of the innocent public. Nonetheless, criticism and public opinion are always what give most  of our leaders stomachache, and they should be assured criticisms are not threat to their privilege. To come up with good policies requires that the governemnt listens to citizens' inputs because policies mean to police, and the government cannot succeed with out the public. There is a need for this elected South Sudan Government to shore up its diminishing credibility by listening to the citizens. Having a citizen-centric SPLM Government would certainly re-engage the Southern Sudan public to believe that there is a functional system of government that is answerable to its citizens’ concerns, and that works to reduce the rampant misappropriation of public funds. The SPLM government should set sights on promoting efficient use of nation’s money for intended purposes as opposed to much conceptualised use of national budget for personal prestige. Doing the above sends a clear signal to the National Congress Party (NCP) that there is a contemporary Southern Government that adheres to the rule of law, and not rule by command!

 

Now there is a clear winner and loser in these previous elections, what sort of political environment would we like to dance on its focal point? A well cemented platform that allows scrutiny of governmental policies, or otherwise a thorny-inhabitable environment that doesn’t tolerate opposition? To make things afloat for the people and the nation at large, this incoming government needs to know that there is no place on earth where there is democracy without opposition, or where there is a government without the people it serves. The government should patriotically set up a parliamentary system where there will be a government and opposition; to allow for more efficiency in various administrative duties of the ministries. This is because, if there is a watch dog, or a person watching over one’s ministerial duties, as well as how competently you execute them, it is more likely that your work would be of expected standard.

 

Obviously, what pops up from our leaders’ minds when someone questions their muddles is that, “these are the detractors!” No, that is not how politic works, and it would mean you are embroiled in a game of no spectators. A game that has no value and meaning attached to its objective! We are the people you proclaim to liberate, and we need you not to get lost as you experiment your path towards a meaningful enlightenment.

 

*Kuol Mayiir is a Psychology student at RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Democracy before referendum is a boon for Southern Sudan

km(Melbourne Australia) - Democracy as an idea that aims to serve the interest of the majority is a true political paradigm that needs to be anchored in a nation like Southern Sudan. The politic of “to roast or boil” always contradict what is best for the people who need change and development, but hey! The fundamental dynamics of putting into consideration the will of the majority over minority would help pervert an ever-present phenomenon such as chronic corruption and ethnic warfare.

Democracy would bolster co-existence because corruption and ethnic warfare in Southern Sudan are typically based on tribal identity and cultural practises; it is more often about attempts to gain power, land, or other resources. However, the commonality of ethnic mistrust does not results from ethnic diversity; it is selfishness that sends us off in pursuit of the wrong policies, and thus, democracy would help to rebuild trust and cooperation among tribes.

Democratic values would enable Southern Sudan Government to use little resources available for the betterment of the whole population. It would create appropriate legal system that acts as a buffer for those wanting to commit unlawful activities. Practising (reintroducing) democratic values in Southern Sudan would also create a fine environment that allows diverse people to live together in harmony, hence, a corridor for promoting better and efficient distribution of goods and services, regardless of ethnic origin of a particular group of people.

Critics might however question as to why China is rapidly growing while it is under the rule of communist system of Government. This is true; China’s rapid economic victory encapsulates many hybrid elements of all sort of political systems. The government has a well-regulated market institution that only aims at profit and the quantity of production while the labour force that facilitates these profits and productions are subject to strict bureaucratic rule that minimizes the ubiquity of corruption. China also has absolute control of its currency, no free markets rule and policies thus are not characteristics of democratic rule.

Democratic rule balance the role of labour force while maximizing profits for the sake of its people, and this is what needs to be done should we Southerners achieve independent. To you folk there! It’s not only by voting that a country becomes democratic. Principles of democracy such as rule of law and control of corruption shape the way a particular nation (such as China) achieves massive economic development. Even though China’s economic performance is overwhelming; it’s not the path that our nation needs because no sustainable economic development that is characterised by trampling critics as well as public voice.

Further ground, as to why democracy would be a blessing and not a curse for Southern Sudan, is that democracy would shine as a symbol of political freedom that enables potential citizens to engage in businesses of their own. Freedom of individuals to exercise their God given ability at their best will and interest without intimidation (such as in making decision on how to conduct and operate your own business with all freedoms available) allows ordinary people to engage in businesses that transform their lives compared to businesses subject to censorship by non democratic governments.

Promotion of a well oriented democracy (centred on people) in Southern Sudan would speed up development as its central idea would means that; the political institutions critical to economic developments are more likely to exist and function effectively under democratic rule. Evidently, democratic countries with high degree of political openness achieve an average or massive growth rate such as in Western world compared to low growth rate in third world nations due to “democratic concealment”.

In one perspective, this democratic concealment often observed in totalitarian or autocratic governments is characterized by elections’ fraud, where leaders steal national elections; while claiming it to be free and fair, and democratic. Such a political manoeuvre dwindle progress, and is predominantly a travesty of a chronic corruption that persists as far as political wrangling continues.

Southern Sudan at its current level resembles a child who is totally malnourished. A child who needs regular nutritious supplements to regain energy lost. And for Southern Sudan to overcome this; there is a need for a national framework that aims to promote democracy at the grass root to the top. By doing so, foreign investors could be attracted to provide capital, hence creating national building projects for a new, fresh, prosperous and a strong Southern Sudanese nation.

*Kuol Mayiir is a Psychology student at RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Why should Sudanese vote for genocidal president?

(Juba) - As the Election day gets closer, many Sudanese become hopeful about their future when election results are declared of Omar Al-Bashir defeat. His defeat will pave the way of transferring the power to a multiparty democratic system from tyranny of the National Congress Party as they called it, or (the New Catastrophic Party (NCP) as their name really is). The election is required by the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) to be exercised before the South vote for referendum in 2011.

Ironically, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) has been pushing unwilling partner the NCP in the last five years to remove undemocratic acts that would undercut a free and fair election. The SPLM as a party that fought for freedom is doing what it could to make upcoming election reflect the will of Sudanese Citizens.

Meanwhile, the question voters must ask themselves when they go to ballot boxes come April, is whether they will vote to protect the candidate, or to protect the Country. Obviously, those who will vote for Omar Al-Bashir are protecting the candidate; in contrast, those who will vote for Cde. Yasir Arman are protecting the Country. This is because we all know that President Al-Basher is fugitive of the International Criminals Court (ICC) for killing innocents’ Sudanese citizens.

Recently, over 550,000 lives have been vanished in Western region of Darfur, and about estimated 2.5 Million killed in the South before the agreement was signed. So let us face it, why should Sudanese people vote for ‘genocidal’ President? Why should we choose through ballot someone who thinks that the only solution for domestic debate on the citizen rights or an intellectual disagreement is a killing?

The NCP has proved itself to a party of human slaughter individuals, people like Nafia Ali Nafia, Omar Al-Bashir and his uncle El-Tayeb Mustafa. It shares philosophy of mass killing with organizations like Taliban and Al-Qaeda. Therefore, this fraudulent murderer should not be given legitimacy for another additional five years in the office. It’s why SPLM leadership took a wise decision by not accepting offer by the NCP to endorse its nominee for Sudan Presidency in an exchange for them backing SPLM’s nominee for the South Presidency. Certainly, Cde Salva Kiir will win big the South Presidency against lowlife NCP’s nominee named Dr. Lam Akol. Also Cde Yasir Arman will win Sudan Presidency comfortably as all polls have indicated.

In reality, with uncertain future ahead of us, Omar Al-Bashir isn’t a right leader for this critical time. In fact, those who nominated him for this post are aware with fact that the man doesn’t have new ideas to solve Sudan’s problems that he himself created. He is nominated by his party to use the executive power to protect himself and his followers from the ICC’s persecution. Mostly, he has done terrible acts that drained the country out its people by killing over three million of them, its resource by robbing oil’s money on the daily basis, and its unity by using Arabic-Islamic ideology to kill Sudanese of African origin. If Omar Al-Bashir knew we were real partners, why did he allowed his uncle to use dirty tricks and smear tactics campaign again SPLM leadership soon after the CPA was signed? This is because they rule without a plan and think according to any situation. Which is why it would be a mistake to help the NCP to govern for another five years, knowing they are going to take more innocent Sudanese lives?

But more basically, for those not versed in history, Pastor Martin Niemoller was a Protestant clergyman in Germany during the early days of the Nazi Government in the 1930s. He initially supported Hitler but later actively opposed the Nazis. He was arrested by the Gestapo in 1937 and sent to the Sachsenhausen and Dachau concentration camps. Allied forces liberated him at the end of World War II. After the war, Pastor Niemoller famously said: “First they came for the Jews and didn’t speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for the communists and I didn’t speak out because I was not a Communist. Then they came for the trade Unionists and I didn’t speak out because I was not a trade Unionist. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me.”

Equally, someday, those who don’t recognize the fact that Mr. Al-Bashir is conducting man slaughter operation in Sudan, will regrettably look back and said a statement that is similar to the above. One would say first they came for the Southerners and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Southerner. Then they came for the BEGAs I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a BEGA. Then they came for the

Darfuris and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Darfurian. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me.

Lastly, since the man can’t be trusted, no true Sudanese person should be happy if Al-Bashir is giving the power for another legitimate five years. Still for El-Tayeb Mustafa it is no more than a profitable Al-Intibaha newspaper drama fabricated with rumors and lies. But to the millions of Southerners and Marginalized areas who sacrificed their all so that we may realize their dreams of freedom, it is an extremely dangerous dalliance. So if you truly respect freedom and the souls of the millions who sacrificed their lives, wealth and their sacred honor to purchase and maintain the reality we enjoy today, you must reject, denounce and fight the idea of giving Omar Al-Bashir another five years of Sudan Presidency.

*Ring Machar is SPLM-National Election Strategy Committee Member. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Sudan elections: verbal contracts between the politicians and the electorates

 

davidatem
Mabior Atem de Kuir, NewSudanVision.com
"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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