The dying Dream and the Wake of Despotism in Southern Sudan

By Nhial K. Wicleek

“The essence of despotism is that there is no appeal, either in practice or in law, against the unchecked power of the master. The sole object of the subjects must be to please. There is no parliament, no opposition, no free press, no independent judiciary, no private property protected by law from the rapacity of power, in a word, no public voice except that of the despot,” Said Kenneth Minogue.

February 12, 2010 (SSNA) — This simple term “despotism” encapsulated the whole theme of power greed that led our young politicians to miss the direction they suppose to pursue. It is an all time mistake they don’t refrain from given what to be assumed poor—action in uncivilized manner. Their intense is prerogative, and in such form, it indicates their greed for power that made them to manipulate things for the sake of pleasing themselves. 

As Dr. Machar put it while addressing the nation in his hometown, Bentiu, that “One of the objectives his ruling party, the SPLM, fought for was to install a democratic system in the Sudan, advising that people should not abandon democracy at this point in time.” He further explained that, “if former Khartoum regimes had accepted a true democratic transformation process in order to resolve the challenges that faced the country, the SPLM/A would not have opted to take up arms against such regimes in 1983” (Gurtong trust). If the overall theme of liberation struggle was to pursue democracy as stated, our politicians should be very careful indeed to make sure democratic ingredients are fully considered. It is an objective reality to ensure that there is a safe flow of freedom of speech, press, and right of individual so that southern Sudanese are much aware of their future goal. 

As an observer, my critical analysis point to the fact that this term “despotism” has begun to meet its final definition. If it is not so; however, one can bear with me in the following paragraphs.

As indicated by the title of this article, the long awaited democracy that has been preached is dying. Although disclaimers point to the fact that there is never a better system, the whole underlying point is to indicate dare interest to becoming despotic. If it is not the case, there shouldn’t have been handpicking and labeling of or against SPLM supporters. As envisioned by Dr. John Garang that New Sudan Vision is for change. However, the change which Dr. John has echoed is no longer exist and that it should be noted precisely that any twist to democratic call would drastically result to the death of the party. Also, the young officers should know very well that leaders are the ones that work hard for unity of the party, and if they fail to handle, people quit and so the party fragment. 

Moreover, the injustice once posed on the southerners by the northern regime is not to be allowed because its consequences were seen for 21 years. The reason was that, we opposed the irresponsive regime that does not oversee the existence of the southern people, and other marginalized groups. If one of the reasons advocated was to bring change to the whole of Sudan, our politicians should work accordingly for the sake of this important objective. To paraphrase what some of them stated, they (southern politicians) have said that democracy is their tool to eradicate unbearable irregularities imposed upon marginalized groups, and to acknowledge to the world that northern regime action against these people is unacceptable. 

It never been so, neither does it concern the very politicians whom in several occasions echoed the transformation of old regime to a vibrant regime that would accommodate people of Sudan, particularly, marginalized groups. 

One of the biggest problems now in the circle of the highest body called “Political Bureau” in Juba, the seat of GoSS is that there appeared to be a debilitative politics. Shoulder–pushing becomes part of the new policy to weed out the old folks that do not want to learn new tricks. Young officers seemingly smart in their thinking do not cease their erratic behavior because of leadership struggle. They want their interest to be considered for the sake of gratification, and toughness. Shallow remarks are typically importance and could be found in the minds of these young officers whose desire is to be seen high. Superficiality is of great degree here and so it embedded messy politics. One would wonder why it is so but idealistically; these people are not thinking deep than beating the bush for becoming the best of southerners by only serving their interest instead. Their assumptions are channeled on here and now than later for the sake of creating a reliable structure. 

When nothing really works, they turned blind eyes to their old folks and erratically become narcotic or event more irrational when laying on table the foundation necessary for the future of SPLM party. If it were because of pursuing SPLM mission and vision that made them the way they act, nobody knows unless they speak it out so that their smooth strategy they best wish would be analyzed for the sake of clarification. To the best of you understanding do you think our politicians are not introducing despotism?

I hope southern Sudanese are not to be misled this time. In any given circumstances, people accept inconsistency to preserve the unlikely situation. This is good example that can be seen in this current tough time. Southerners have become very quiet and are not even expecting any shortcoming that can breed unnecessary condition. Their experience of war is enough. It was traumatic and so it should be avoided if necessary. But what the young officers step up for still push forthwith mischievous behavior. In my mind southern Sudanese are not like they were before. Politically, they are fine. There are political science graduates who could actually supervise and oversee how politics is played in the southern level. With given input from them, irrational decisions could be sorted out and allow only the best decisions. Their comments should be required in the highest level of leadership body so that they get the best advice before jumping to conclusion with decision that lack reliability and coherency.

However, because SPLM Political Bureau lacks this idea, the young officers at some occasions dressed in morning and go on media to air uncondensed opinion. Others would refute it in less than no time which is like hit and run tactics in their own leadership. Most wonder why such things could be seen from politicians who lead the people. Also, if these politicians rewind their day to day activities, they would know that they are doing something wrong to not only southern Sudanese but also they are creating a bad image to the party, and it is disgrace to international community that closely supervise our young government. 

To us, your only masses that you represent, we need something more than what you have. Make sure you are on top of mature people who deserve to be treated with respect and clear conscience. Be the judge of your own deeds instead us for your future political endeavour.   

We don’t know who you really are and what you really want? Should it be because you were exposed to indecent activities, I cannot conclude that, or it may be that, you assume to be the smartest of all than the others? These are nothing but mere exposure that can lead to divide and rule tactics based on my close observation. 

To us Southerners, I think despotism is right here introduced. We can choose to abide by it or oppose to it so that a true democracy is uncovered before young officers get wilders. To credit them for some of their deeds, they were proven positive in some occasions but that does not qualify them to be tough politicians or highly respected individuals in south Sudan and Sudan in general. They are perceived the worst people of their kinds for their erratic behavior that has no specific base. 

Generally speaking, these young officers have no compassion for the people they dearly represent. Their interest is fashioned on what they think about themselves. Going from shoulder pushing the old folks from the inner circle of the political bureau, they became more toward zipping off other voices and become the only mouthpieces of the masses. They threaten, intimidated, and bullied their colleagues and still say they are making the best for the southern people. 

After finishing with bullying, they further extended their erratic behavior to the very community they represent. Common here! The objective of the SPLM led regime is to allow people to speak up for themselves. But currently this objective change for worst. Monopoly has taken place and so anyone has to stop claiming. There is no right and freedom of speech here, they say if we can rewind it. If anyone insists, he or she would be expelled from the party. To the best of your understanding, do you think our politicians are not introducing despotism?

If that is so what is the different between despotism and what is happening now? We say the SPLM has become a dictator regime for it violates the right of southerners and overrule unpopular notion. They incorporated malpractice and manipulative system to intimidate southern Sudanese for the sake of their interest. Among them said, there are true loyalists who suffered much than the others. I think they are the people who fought harder than the others. But who didn’t fight when we were in the bush? Even the dead heroes/heroines could refute this point because they would know that everyone suffered. Also, the dead would know exactly that if anything like this goes on it will jeopardize the safe existence of the party. I think these young officers prepare to divide the party, for if they are for the SPLM vision they should not act like they are now.

One example to notice, they have expelled couple of people from the party, and among them, one formed his own party. Instead of asking themselves of why such thing had happened, they just used a tactic of labelling and brainwashing the southern people that whoever split is the enemy of the south. What they don’t know is that their action indicates their being enemy of southern Sudanese. 

To them expelling people from the party is what they know and believe in. But what they don’t know is that, those people have supporters who can back them up because they were part and parcel of the suffered masses in southern Sudan. I think you should embrace check and balance for the survival of the party. Also, please young officers, do not jumble SPLM party.

Thank God that I am not an SPLM independent candidate and if I were one I would agree with Gen. George Athor, Gen. Dau Aturjang, Anglina Teny, Nyanath Elija Yong, and Gen. Alfred Ladu Gore for objecting this unheard of policy in the whole democratically elected governments from across the world where democratic rule is practiced. Than to dictate people, forcing them to resign, it is you that can resign instead because this party is not belong to you, it belongs to all southerners. Therefore, nobody has a right over another if it is not a legitimate reason. 

Generally speaking, I can unveil to you that southern Sudanese are not ready for your despotic government. This reason alone draw many critics to express their views in different ways as some say you are group of warmongers for terrorizing others, others say you are power hungered people, and the others say you are immature politicians because of your inappropriate action, and I say you are socialist who don’t have political objective but behave erratically for the sake of simple gratification. I have a right to say all these things because you are not the only ones that deserve credit for this liberation struggle. I myself am a son of SPLA veteran and have been an SPLM supporter for years. But no one can say I did not suffer or not a loyal person to the party. After all who are the loyalists? This is poor statement and it can’t be said to public by any living being.

So, if anyone thinks SPLM as a party is not in a brink of death, it is to your own analytical view. If you think despotism is not gaining momentum, you should express yourself to southern Sudanese for why it is not inevitable. However, I would advise the young generals that you should refrain from your uncivilized behavior and allow freedom of speech, press, and right of individual through collective effort to prevail. More importantly, it is not the right time for you to exercise despotism; otherwise, it will jeopardize SPLM political future.  

Nhial K. Wicleek lives in Canada. He is reachable at: [email protected] 

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