Some weaknesses cannot just be hidden

“If pigs could vote, the man with the slop bucket would be elected swineherd every time, no matter how much slaughtering he did on the side.” Orson Scott Card.

By Justin Ambago Ramba

April 21, 2010 (SSNA) — All eyes are now on the Sudan as it counts its most controversial polls. However the very observers that were brought to give witness have all said that the elections were far from meeting the international standards.

President Omar al-Bashir’s ruling party has already rejected US accusations that last week’s landmark polls in Sudan were not free and fair, but welcomed an overture for co-operation with Washington.

“One of the most important criteria to meet the international standards is ‘free and fair,’ and we have met this criteria,” Ibrahim Ghandoor, a senior official of the National Congress Party (NCP), said, without saying how.

However those who listened to the BBC hard talk interview with SPLM chairman Salva Kiir Mayardit can still recall that, this former warlord was in no any way to condone the out-come of an elections that he insisted was pre-rigged. I hope Zeinab Badawi of the BCC can come to my rescue in case someone accuses me of making up stories.

What cannot be denied is that in spite of SPLM‘s continues attempts at projecting a picture of being the best of the two evils (SPLM & NCP), but because it also has to struggle hard to maintain its grips in the south, the self proclaimed liberators of south Sudan are already on record for harassments, intimidations, and threats of physical harm during the elections. And I quote: "Political rights and freedoms were circumscribed throughout the electoral process, there were reports of intimidation and threats of violence in South Sudan, ongoing conflict in Darfur did not permit an environment conducive to acceptable elections, and inadequacies in technical preparations for the vote resulted in serious irregularities," the White House said in a statement. (The Washington Post, Wednesday 21st 2010).

While SPLM struggles to make sense of its position as, both a peace partner to the NCP and at the same time a leading member in the northern opposition alliance, it too has much to sort out at home.

Currently the three southern states of Central Equatoria, Western Equatoria and the Oil producing Unity State are experiencing circumstances that will no doubt be of great impact to the entire SPLM establishment.

There have already been reports in the media that the SPLM is trying all that it can in order to rig the results of the gubernatorial elections not only in the aforementioned states which it has obviously lost to the independent candidates, but it seems also to be struggling in Northern Bahr and Jonglei States.

It is no surprise that the SPLM finds itself struggling even within its own backyards as it had relegated itself to a party that only caters for the egoist interest of a few in its Political Bureau. And more awkwardly it is now fighting against the popular choices of the grassroots. If at all it has the guts to harass and intimidate at this time, what on earth does it‘s leadership intend to do when they finally become the sole rulers, come 2011?

The events unfolding in the Unity State of south Sudan are enough to give even the most naïve outsider that south Sudan under the SPLM remains to be governed by the jungle law. How on earth can the care-taker governor Brigadier Taban Deng Gai order his security guards to over-run the National Elections Commission head office in Bentiu, simply because he is not making it at the polls?

Now that the south cannot contain its differences to the extent that elections results are likely to spark a wave of violence despite the general call for sobriety, this by itself brings to question the basic ability of the South to be a law abiding part of the human civilization.

It is indeed embarrassing to hear that a team called ‘neutral NEC officials’ are on their way from Khartoum to settle the disagreements in Bentiu. Is it not a shame that southerners still have to resort to the north in order to settle south- south misunderstandings?

Throughout these elections, people have witnessed the overuse if not a frank abuse of the security forces all over south Sudan. Now there is no way that the SPLM party can pretend to be not behind all the humiliations and intimidations that took place.   To the least, all the official organs in south Sudan remain loyal to SPLM. Who says otherwise?

SPLM must come to accept that it has already been exposed and it is in no any way better than its partner the NCP, as far as dictatorial attitudes are concerned. It remains a crude party, without the least understanding of its people’s rights. And none of its warlords can ever liberate south Sudan, as liberation entails more than just fighting military battles. You can never have a healthy thinking nation if you continuously harass, bully and intimidate your citizens.

For south Sudan to proceed forwards without being pulled into an unnecessary local confrontations amongst its own people, the ruling SPLM needs to cope up with all issues that have  come about with elections and their results. You cannot cheat the people’s votes in order to impose yourselves as rulers. And should it all go wrong, the international community has the right to hold you responsible.

When people refused to vote for SPLM’s gubernatorial candidates in four or five southern states, they mean it. It is a message that must be respected for the sake of a new dawn, civility and democracy. And the more you intimidate the people, the more you prove to them that your leadership definitely is not the right one.

The change that has started from Yambio, to Juba, to Bentiu can never be stopped. Either SPLM becomes sensible and listens to the people or it risks loosing it all.

Hopefully the international community remains alert and watchful and should do the right thing before things get out of control. However though I advocate the right of our people to defend their achievements, I strongly denounce any resort to violence. We are too poor to break any public facility. Pacifism and vigilance should be our main stay.  

“The freedom to express varying and often opposing ideas is essential to a variety of conceptions of democracy. If democracy is viewed as essentially a process – a way in which collective decisions for a society are made – free expression is crucial to the openness of the process and to such characteristics as elections, representation of interests, and the like.” Jonathan D. Casper.

Dr. Justin Ambago Ramba, M.B, B.Ch, D.R.H, MD. Secretary General of the United South Sudan Party (USSP). He can be reached at [email protected] or [email protected]

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