Commentary

Does ICC arrest warrant for Al-Bashir signal dawn of new era for Sudan?

Ottawa - The implications for the indictment and the warrant of arrest for Sudanese Field Marshall Omar Al-Bashir, the military ruler that is criminal to his core are immense. Since his violent usurpation of power in a military coup under the umbrella of the National Islamic Front (NIF).on June 30, 1989, that overthrew an elected government of the then prime minister, Sadiq Al-Mahdi. Al-Bashir and the NIF governed the country through an Islamist dictatorship that promoted global terrorism, human rights abuses and fostered an Islamic religious fundamentalism. This military junta intentionally launched, orchestrated, and knowingly enabled a consistent pattern of gross human rights abuses against the Sudanese civilian population in the South, the Nuba Mountains, and Darfur.

President Omar is not only responsible for gross human rights abuses and genocide in Darfur that has killed more than two hundred thousands of African tribes and displacing millions others. He is also responsible for arming, training and paying Janjweed Arabs to kill and displace non-Arab tribes in Darfur. Furthermore, in South Sudan, Omar Al Beshir is responsible for human rights abuses in South Sudan especially the Hidden Holocaust (now known as Juba Killing) of1992.

President Omar re-instated slave-raiding in South Sudan using it not only as a policy of terror, aimed directly at non-combatants, but also as a tool designed to make them flee their territory as the main targets of slavery abductions are women and children. This is in keeping with his assimilation project in South Sudan, Nuba Mountains, and Darfur.

Captured South Sudanese were reared as Muslims and given Arabic names. Women who were raped by their Arab captors gave birth to Arab children, ensuring the propagation of Arab lineages (for documentation of rape as a weapon of war in the Nuba Mountains, African Rights, Facing Genocide: the Nuba of Sudan , London, 1995, pp.221-42 ).

The mandate of the International Criminal Court (ICC) is to indict and issue arrest warrants against individuals such as Al Beshir, but not the state. This is designed to bypass the question of sovereignty, which is an obstacle in the United Nations Human Rights Commission and the United Nations Security Council.

So far the ICC is showing no signs of relenting or postponing the decision to issue an arrest warrant. This is sending a strong message to the rest of the African dictators that they can run but they cannot hide from the ICC forever. The ICC issued an arrest warrant so that president Al-Bashir will follow Charles Taylor, the architect of most of Liberia’s problem to face justice.

For the international community to have faith and confidence in the ICC, and for its credibility to be respected and be taken seriously by human rights violators such as president Robert Gabriel Mugabe, president Hosni Mubarak, and LRA rebel leader Joseph Kony and former president of Ethiopia- Mengistu Haile Mariam who’s taking refuge in Zimbabwe, and many others, the ICC should arrest Al Beshir and bring him to justice.

However, the issue of Al Beshir’s arrest warrant may cost so much damage to western interests in Africa, and other part of the world since Sudan is a state sponsor of terror; and it has links with terror organizations such as Al-Qaeda, Mujahidin fighters, Hizbollah, Palestine Islamic Jihad, Egypt’s al-Gama’at al-Islamiyya, Hamas, other groups of Algerian extremist Islamist and the Government of Iran whose stated goal is to wipe the State of Israel out of the world map.

Sudan, also, has provided Ramirez Sanchez, better known as Carlos the Jackal, and Osama Bin Laden refuge in mid 1990s. Based on these linkages, there might be attacks on the western interests by one of these groups and the terrorist organizations may use locals population in Africa to attack western embassies, companies, development organization, schools and kidnapped western citizens working abroad (Ambassador Robert Fowlerand Louis Guy are classic example of Al-Qaeda kidnapping strategy). These terror groups may even attempt to hijack planes reminiscent of 9/11. As such, it is imperative that the International community must prepare itself for all possible attacks.

Furthermore, Western countries, the United Nations Security Council and the Intergovernmental Agency for Development states (IGAD) must designed strategy to insure that Omar and the NIF will not throw the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) into a trash basket as previous Northern regimes had done with South-North treaties.

Now that the ICC has issued the arrest warrant the possibility of Omar Al Beshir being the ruler of Sudan is severely limited, and the NIF may elect a hard-liner to replace Al Beshir. Or they may let Salva Kiir replace him but it remains a question whether the hardliners can accept Salva Kiir as a replacement for Al-Bashir.

Most likely, Al-Bashir may resign to give an opportunity to the NIF hard-liners to bypass the implementation of the CPA, Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) and the Doha Agreement.

The outcome will, then, be war. With CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY, GENOCIDE, and VIOLATIONS OF THE LAWS AND CUSTOMS OF WAR, will President Omar Al-Bashir be arrested? Will Sudanese people see the dawn of a new beginning without consistent pattern of gross human rights abuses against the Sudanese civilian population in the South, the Nuba Mountains, and Darfur?


Right time for Darfur leadership to unite ranks

abdulwahidandminiminawi
Abdul Wahid Nuur and Minni Arcua Minawi before they splintered into two groups (Sudan Watch)
Peace is by the door but the fighting between Darfur factions is an hindrance, they should unite now in good will for the sake of their civilian population.

With the recent developments towards peace in Darfur as shown by the Government of Sudan in signing the Agreement of Good Intentions with GEM, there is a good chance that the people of Darfur especially the civilians are closer to breathing the fresh air of peace in the once peaceful land.

There is a good analysis that the government of Sudan is poised on fighting a political war as an alternative to its previous combat approach to its enemies. This is due in part to the tensions with the international community and the ICC case against the President Omar El Bashir. Therefore the NCP political top elites seem to be devising a new strategy which includes attempts to handle the international community politically, delay the conviction of the President or strangle completely the ICC issue through dialogue and strike a peace deal with those threatening them militarily like GEM in Darfur.

However the Darfur rebels, both military and political wings seem not to realize that this is a chance to secure peace in Darfur by the Darfur people in one voice but not as warring factions.

Although Khartoum is willing to succumb to a peace process in the Sudan’s Western Region, it is politically dividing those factions that are currently fighting on the ground. The NCP is using that weakness of the Darfur rebels to calm down the war with its force and push the fight to Darfur on its own throat and thereby continue to destabilize it indirectly and exploit it the way it did to Southern Sudan in late 90s. W hen Southern militia warlords fought SPLA around the oil fields while Khartoum exploited the oil to its benefit, only to use the dough to empower its armory in thirst of using it later on other internal insurgencies like the Darfur and continue to suppress the South while at the same time go on its looting spree of the country’s resources. However during the negotiation for peace in Kenya from early 2002, the major political forces in Southern Sudan came together under SPLM/A led by late John Garang de Mabior. This was a visionary realization that they were fighting one cause: Freedom for the marginalized people and that of the people of Southern Sudan in particular.

The Nairobi declaration of Jan 6th 2002 between SSDF of Dr. Riek and SPLM/A of John Garang enabled Southerners to negotiate in one voice under SPLM/A and achieve peace in the South, Nuba Mountains, Abyei and Southern Blue Nile. And with hurdles of peace implementation with Khartoum as it is well known in previous agreements, SPLM/A is now protecting and watching closely that peace process with zeal so that it holds. With out the above merger the peace won't survive even if NCP was willing to implement it. The above case can be true with Darfur.

Therefore my message to my fellow brothers and great Country men who are fighting for the sole aim of freeing the African Ethnic groups of the Western Sudan is: Do not remain divided at this time when peace is beckoning for the people of Darfur. By so doing you will let down your people who put their hopes on you in those IDPs camps in Dafur and Refugee Camps in Eastern Chad.

Are you not tired of your people dying every day, their humiliation and being hungry in a land that can feed them and destroying their very potential for prosperity? I sincerely urge you Mini Minawi who is already with the government, Khalil Ibrahim, Abdel Whahid El Nur, Abdalla Yahya and the rest to halt fighting between your forces and unite now through a political dialogue and start to negotiate with Khartoum in one force even if with different factions brought together since you took up arms to free your very people who will continue to suffer because of your wrangles. The right time has come if you did not realise to put away your differences and unite the people of Darfur through peace. Those IDPs do not mind who leads Darfur provided you are one. DO NOT LOSE THIS WINDOW OF HOPE FOR YOUR PEOPLE!

*Achol J Malony is a Sudanese Scientist living in Melbourne Australia and can be reached on: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

South Sudanese: Ignore Internet forums at your own peril

In the wake of the Stephen Baak fiasco two months ago, in which British authorities at Heathrow Airport confiscated US $137,000 belonging to GOSS, the ministry of regional cooperation issued a strongly worded statement criticising “idol voices” on the Internet who spend their time fabricating issues.

The exasperation with the often hostile opinions against GOSS has of late reached the highest echelons of the SPLM. On a visit to Washington DC, early this year, none other than President Salva Kirr expressed disdain at the way his administration is portrayed on Southern Sudanese discussion forums on the web. Writing on SouthSudannation.com, Peter Adwok Nyaba, an SPLM minister in the government of national unity, also echoed Kirr’s concerns.

Both gentlemen’s concerns are real. Southern Sudanese forums on the web gather a motley of strange bedfellows. Some are highly educated and capable of expressing themselves properly in writ. Others are barely literate, unaware of decent communication manners and generally use the forums for hostile debates and for soiling people’s reputations. As a result, it is not uncommon to find these forums oozing in a name-calling fest, sometimes laced with ethnic slurs. In addition, GOSS seems to take the worst of it. Sometimes the opinions that filter through, unrealistically paint GOSS as a government of inept goons whose main mission is to loot the public coffers.

But it would be unfair to claim that patrons of these sites don’t engage in constructive criticism of GOSS. In the same vein, it would be ridiculous to deny the presence of the sycophants, the blind cheer-leaders of the government, who mistake any criticism for a vendetta against the Dinka ethnic group.
The end result of the disparate opinions between the Southern Sudanese Internet community and GOSS is mistrust. But I want to argue that it would be naive of GOSS to entirely dismiss these discussion forums on the Internet because of a misplaced notion that the people who patronize them are “idol” and pampered Southerners in the diaspora with lots of time to waste.

It would be prudent of GOSS officials to recognise the opportunities of the Internet, embrace this medium, and use it to their advantage. This should be accepted with the recognition that the Internet has changed the way we behave and communicate. Communication scholars say the Internet has resulted in the “death of distance.” Like instant coffee, we are now able to access information fast as long as we are hooked up to a modem, and spread this information to a multitude in ways we never imagined before.

Notice that the Baak scandal was first leaked to an Internet site by an irate “insider” while GOSS tried to keep a lid on the affair—and succeeded to do so for two months. At first, it was dismissed as a case of sour grapes, a disgruntled employee who had an axe to grind. But when GOSS responded with a statement, it cemented the fact that not all corruption allegations against GOSS are the work of an imaginative mind.
Notice that it was also through the Internet that GOSS tried to contain and explain the fiasco. If anything, the irony should inspire GOSS to recognize the power of the Internet. I want to say we haven’t seen the last of stories similar to Baak’s.

The Internet forums have replaced the big tree in the village, under which all the men gather to discuss affairs. The forums have replaced the Kwete Andaya, the bar, the funeral place, and the club. The forums are fertile with a variety of information and opinions. GOSS should learn to grasp the useful information and discard the useless. In South Sudan, the poor standards of journalism ensure that the government and the people do not have an adequate forum from which to gather public opinion.

The forums are a pool from which to pick what the public thinks of GOSS’s actions. The forums represent the Southern Street. SPLM forum, for instance, has over 2,000 members—and growing—registering an average of 300 new posts daily. This is a healthy sample for observing public opinion which any government would be naive to ignore.

Not just education but quality education

 

Zecharia Manyok Biar is a regular contributor to NSV
Zecharia Manyok Biar is a regular contributor to New Sudan Vision
Last year I wrote an article about the importance of education in South Sudan and I promised that I was going to write the second part of the article, but I could not do it quickly because I was very busy and new issues kept coming up, pushing old issues on the back seat of my mind. Now since Dr. John Akech has revived the topic in his article “Why the university education still excites Sudanese?”, published by Sudan Tribune on February 14, 2009, in which he argued about the importance of education, I can now write my long awaited article about the importance of quality education in South Sudan. Dr. Akech has actually covered a lot of the things that I was about to mention in my article. I will just contribute to his ideas.

 

When I was pursuing a Bachelor of Arts with Education at Kampala International University (KIU) in Kampala, Uganda, my concern was the declining standard of education in East Africa. Makerere University used to be one of the leading universities in Africa, but it lost its quality because of overcrowding. In my Literature class, I measured in Literature and English Language, we used to talk about how weird it was for people who did degrees in Literature at our time and could not write even a single book. We had discovered that education in Africa had become examination based, which forced students to cram class materials rather than learning from the materials.

In 2004, my friend Muhindo from Democratic Republic of Congo (who was a computer major) and I founded what we initially call “Philosophical Discussion Club,” later renamed as “Renaissance Alliance of African University Students Outlook Philosophical Discussion Club” (RAAUS Outlook Philosophical Discussion Club). We founded that club in oder to let students and their professors look into difficult questions about life generally, including political and religious questions. We used to invite renowned professors from all over Uganda (after the club had grown), especially if we had access to them. One time, we invited the then Director of Admission at KIU because he was a very controversial professor of Social Work and Social Administration at KIU. We asked him questions about the declining quality of education in Uganda. I put it to him that the reason for the declining of the quality of education in Uganda was because schools paid attention on performances in examinations more than helping students understand learning contents. He replied by saying that education had failed to find the alternative of motivating students to study. Therefore, examinations were the only tools schools had in their possessions to force students into reading.

When I came to the United States, where the universities are leading in the world, for my graduate studies, I found out that schools here in the USA also put emphasis on examinations and performances. This means that African universities are not different from Western Universities when it comes to examinations. I was forced to ask different question: What is wrong with our educational system then?

When you ask such a question in Africa, some people brush it aside by saying that the grading of universities in the world is bias because it is done by Westerners who put their universities on top so that they can attract students all over the world to their universities. There is reality to this argument, but this reality might cover forty percent only. Sixty percent would remain clear that universities in the West are better than universities in Africa. Of course, most of universities here in the West are centuries older than most of our universities in Africa. But this is not good excuse. We have very old universities like the University of Karaouine in Morocco that Dr. Akech mentioned in his article, but they are not leading. The point that might not be disputed is that most of the leading universities here in the West are very wealthy. Harvard, which was established on September 8, 1636, for example, now has 28.8 billion US Dollars. But how do these universities get their money? This is where you cannot deny the power of competition among the universities here in the West. The competition that attracts students is not based on the name of the university only; it is based on the effectiveness of the products of the university in real life situation. What matters is what one does, not what kind of degree one has.

Dr. Akech mentioned the important point in his article about inadequate allocation of funds to universities in Africa by African governments. When the university lacks enough funds, it becomes a lecture-based institution rather than a research-based institution, which lowers the standard of the institution.

However, the leading universities in the West are private universities. Harvard and Yale were founded by Puritan. In fact, Rev. John Harvard who founded Harvard University used his personal library as the library of the college which was then called “New College.” Now the library of Harvard University is the second largest after the Library of Congress in the USA. Columbia University was established by the Church of England. Princeton University belongs to Presbyterian Church. Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford University were founded by individuals. These individuals are William Barton Rogers for MIT and Leland Stanford for Stanford University. These are the leading universities in the world and they are all private universities. How do they get their funding for their research? The government might contribute, but not too much. This means that there is no excuse for not making our universities research-based institutions because research is what universities are meant to do.

Here in America, a university may lose it license if it has nothing to contribute to a community around it. A university may also lose it license if it has nothing to contribute to academic world. That means that professors from a university must publish something every year in order for them to remain teachers in the university. This means that it does not matter whether the research is funded or not, one must do it. Major researches are funded by either the university or the government. First of all, the university must demonstrate its ability to do quality research in order to qualify for government funding or for philanthropists’ money. This means that a university does not have to wait to get money in order to do a research. The university has to do a research in order to get money.

Students at the university must contribute to the community around them in many ways. They should be given community based assignment, as it is here in the West, so that they discover community problems and how they are or should be solved. This is where performance-based education becomes useful for both the community and students. Getting an “A” means a lot of work on the side of students here in the USA. Cramming of materials does not help much. Practice is combined with a lot of readings. There is no excuse that books that professors want students to read cannot be found in the library. You must find them and read them at specified time. Failure to meet due dates means failure to graduate from the university.

Graduate students get involved in need assessment, program evaluation and many other community based activities and research here in the USA. This is the way that universities contribute to communities around them here in the United States and other Western countries.

In Africa, students go to class to listen to a lecturer who just preaches because classes are too big for discussion. Then students come out and read very little. When examination period comes, students cram class materials to pass their examinations. When they graduate and get into a real life situation, the theories that they learned from the university do not connect with the world of work. Therefore, students become less effective in the field for many years before they learn how to do the job better. This is the reason why our universities in Africa can barely make it to top universities in the world. What many people care about in the world of work is what university graduates do in the field, not how smart they were in class. Smartness that does not connect to real life situation cannot contribute to the effectiveness of a company or government departments. So nobody needs it.

There is real concern for declining of the standard of education in South Sudan because the University of Juba that used to be among the top 100 universities in Africa has now disappeared from the list. If nothing is done about the quality of education in South Sudan, then we are soon going to have government offices as well as businesses full of graduates who do not know how to solve problems. That will be the collapse of our system. The ministry of education has a good chance to make our educational system one of the best in Africa because the system is fresh and can easily be manipulated. What the ministry needs to have are excellent planners who can establish the unchangeable quality system of education. It is better to have few graduates who know how to solve problems in real life situation than to have millions of graduates who can let the system collapse in their own eyes. The ministry of education must pay attention to what university graduates and their professors can contribute to our communities more than paying attention to class performances that do not connect to real life situations. Above all, university professors and graduate students must know that research is a must for them, not a choice.

The writer of this article is a Graduate Student at Abilene Christian University, Texas, USA. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Elections have consequences: A closer look at US congressional elections

akol_5_0(Burlington, Vermont, USA) - As you will find out in this article, the people were the ultimate decision makers on who was sent back to the US Congress and who deserved to be sent home.

I may sound repetitive but I am warning our leaders, especially the Parliamentarians to be serious and vigilant with handling their legislative affairs on the floor of the Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly before they get sent home.

I just got off the phone with one of my best friends a few moments ago after expressing to me how frustrated they were with their area MP’s mediocre legislative accomplishments. His line of argument has been that this guy does not attend debates but only shows up early in the morning to record his presence and goes off to where the locals are drinking Aregi [locally brewed alcoholic beverage] and only shows up again at the SSLA Building late in the afternoon to confer with the rest of the MPs that whatever bill they have passed has his support (even if the bill may have some provisions that do not serve the interest of his constituents).

That is a good concern if that does happen. Suppose every MP shows up early at SSLA Building to mark his/her name “present” on the parliament roll call and leaves to attend to his/her personal obligations and desires, who will conduct the legislative affairs? And why would we even pay him/her for doing nothing?
That kind of frustration is not confined to that particular county but is observed from many Southerners who believe that the parliamentarians need to do more on behalf of their constituents back home.

Over this past weekend, I had a privilege of being on the phone with one of respected prominent South Sudan politicians (that I can’t name here because it was a private conversation) and what he told me was nerve wracking. He expressed not only just his frustration with the GoSS Governance style but also his sense of pessimism about the destiny of South Sudan.He voiced his concerns about a bloated South Sudan Government budget where 75% is earmarked for bureaucratic salaries and only 25% goes to the delivery of services to the South Sudanese. This veteran SPLA commander and now a prominent politician (exiled in Khartoum) expressed his rhetoric in the quotes below:

“We were a Movement that knew how to live with nothing or less, and that was the reason why we defeated the enemy despites the odds against us. I cannot understand where this mentality [of let us take care of ourselves] came from. If that was how we spent two decades in the bush commanding the large unpaid army [the SPLA] in the history of Sudan, we would have abandoned people’s struggle and stormed this city [Khartoum] looking for jobs long time ago. We wouldn’t have the CPA today”.

I pressed this Southern leader to tell me where the solution lies and he stressed that it is with the parliament, which has the sole responsibility of “appropriating public funds”. This answer was a scoop because it opened the door for what I wanted to tell him. I immediately floated the idea of running for his constituency during the upcoming elections. And his take on it was “he is looking into it, and he may end up running” against whoever the incumbent is at this moment.

Given the frustrations boiling up back home far away from the center in Juba, let us not be surprised if some of our great SPLM/A veterans get sent home during the elections unless they are cultivating their relationships with their electorates before the elections.

As for this prominent politician I had conversations with, if he chooses to run, I am afraid to concede that whoever has this seat is in big trouble because this veteran has charisma and some accomplishments to show his constituents. There are no opinion polls out there but I won’t be surprised if he has a majority support from his county. It will be a big political campaign to watch.

If elections will be free and fair, so many members of parliament are waiting for huge upsets and crumbling defeats in a few months, and that may result in some of our great charismatic leaders losing their seats. They should do something about it now and that is going to their constituencies and build those relationships before it is too late.

There is a lesson to be learned from US elections. I have been a US Government student during my undergraduate years, and one of the best things I learned about Democracy and the US political system is its way of holding politicians accountable for their actions.

The people through their votes have the power to reward those who listen to them, and punish those who ended up being arrogant while in government, and that was why the phrase called “throw the rascals out” was coined. It was a phrase coined as a way to show the trends that voters take in punishing politicians. The voters elect the politicians to serve them, and once they (politicians) grow out of touch with them (the voters), and start speaking with some sense of arrogance and entitlements to political power, they vote them out. And the US politicians know voters’ reactions and are receptive to their concerns.

Perhaps, the previous two US elections may give our leaders some ideas of how easy it is to fall from grace to grass. The 2004 US election showed how the Republican Party took over the US Government in its totality: President Bush (Republican) just won reelection against John Kerry (Democrat). In the same election, his party took over both chambers of the US Congress with expanded majorities.

The president at the time did not hesitate in priding himself for victory a day after the election night. He declared during his victory speech on November 5th, 2004 that "I earned capital in this campaign, political capital, and now I intend to spend it”.

In 2006 and 2008 elections respectively, that political capital ended not only because of Obama political tsunami but also because American people felt that many Republicans in the US Congress were rubber stamping Bush policies without exerting checks and balances and therefore were deemed to be “thrown out”.

In 2006 election, it was very stunning to see prominent Republicans going down in broad daylight. These were the prominent Republican senators taken down by unknown Democrats in the US Senate: Rick Santorum (Republican) of Pennsylvania, an ardent Bush supporter lost to Bob Casey (Democrat) in a crumbling defeat, George Allen of Virginia (Republican) was knocked out by relatively unknown Democrat, Jim Webb, and Lincoln Chaffee of Rhode Island, who succeeded his father as Rhode Island long serving senator went down after being defeated by another unknown Democrat named Sheldon Whitehouse. There were many Republican losses both in the Senate and the House during that election but those mentioned defeated senators were thought to be unbeatable and some especially George Allen were seen to have a shot at the US presidency. They are not in the US helm of power anymore and have never been heard from since they lost in November, 2006.

The 2008 Congressional election, which was overshadowed by Obama’s election, resulted in huge Republican defeats as well. It left the Republican Party in disarray without even a leader to have the Party regroup to chart a course they must follow moving forward.
What was very interesting to watch was how every single Republican up for reelection was fighting for his/her political life including those candidates running in “Red States” known for being Republican’s turf.

Again, some Republican big names in the US Senate were sent home: consider people like Ted Stevens of Alaska with over 30 years in US Congress, Elizabeth Dole of South Carolina, the wife of former US Senator Bob Dole who was the Republican nominee against Bill Clinton in 1996, John Sununu of New Hampshire, the only Senate Engineer with Harvard University Engineering degree and Gordon Smith of Oregon were defeated by unknown Democrats. These individuals were great Republicans but the people decided that they cannot represent them in the US Congress and they are nowhere to be seen since January 6th, 2009. By the way, another Republican, Norm Coleman of Minnesota is fighting for his political life as we speak but it looks like the Democratic contender, comedian Al Franken will prevail because he has over 200 votes ahead of him (Coleman).

It is worth mentioning that three other Republican open seats from retiring Republican Senators went to Democratic Column without much resistance and the same case was seen in the House of Representatives where Democrats expanded their majority beyond what the pundits predicted.

The only defeated Democrat across the entire US was Congressman William Jefferson of Louisiana (and I guess he is probably the only African American who may not have celebrated Obama’s win during the election night for understandable reason: he was mourning for his political life).

Back to election having consequences; we have seen right now why Obama didn’t even need Republican votes in the House for his stimulus package because the Democrats were able to pass the bill without even a single Republican vote. It looked as if they do not exist.

In the Senate, he will only need one Republican vote to reach 60 votes (Senate 2/3 majority filibuster proof votes) to have the bill passed and that is easily achievable by targeting “Blue States” vulnerable Republicans up for reelection in 2010.
In this bad economy, those who lost the elections (including their staffs) are still looking for jobs. One commentator put it this way: “it was a very sad situation to see many Republicans packing their belongings on the Hill (the US capitol) shocking up tears while smiling Democrats can’t wait at the door to enter and measure the drapes and set up their offices”.

Therefore, the advice to South Sudanese politicians is very clear and simple. There is nothing like entitlement to political leadership in Democratic political system. Those who succeed in holding onto public offices in their entire lifetimes are those who make concerted efforts to go out to their electorates to mingle with them and listen to their concerns. The politicians who succeed are those who bring up human personalities in their interactions with voters (like Hilary Clinton tearing at the Diner in New Hampshire during primaries, and ended up winning that primary against Obama contrary to what opinion polls were predicting: Obama winning by 10%).

Surely, elections have consequences. We have seen it happen all the times. Please, make yourselves available to your constituents and answer their questions with a sense of humility. I am afraid some of our SPLM/A veterans will be sent home unless they get on the trails right now.

Yes, elections have consequences that losers won’t like but that is the only way we the people can show our muscle to the politicians.

Akol Aguek Ngong is an MBA student at the University of Vermont. He has a BA in Economics and Political Science. He also serves as Assistant Director of Undergraduate Admissions at the same Institution. He is a New Sudan Vision Contributor.

E-Mail:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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