By Dr. James Okuk
July 11, 2011 (SSNA) — As the people of South Sudan and their friends celebrate with joy the long-awaited independence of their beloved Motherland, yet they are also seriously troubled by lack of good leadership in the new country. The old Sudan has gone, the new South Sudan is born but the values of liberty, and justice and prosperity are still to be practically seen soon in both the former biggest country in Africa (Sudan) and in the newest declared state in Africa with a guaranteed lucky given United Nations membership within a shorter time in mid July 2011.
With the good news of the declaration of the independence of the Republic of South Sudan kicking off on 9th July 2011, yet bad news of bad leadership from the SPLM and its military wing (the SPLA) remains the greatest concern locally, nationally, regionally and internationally. The SPLM/A regime is not feeling ashamed at all to behave like the NCP/NIF regime in the past even worst in South Sudan. History of regime creation with absolute powers for intimidations that used to dominate the old Sudan seems to be repeating itself in South Sudan since 1956.
For Example, the first President of the Republic has demanded absolute powers from the lawmakers in the form of South Sudan Legislative Assembly (SSLA), and these powers were given to him in midst of threats and intimidations of the opposing views. What a shame and wrong start for the new Republic of South Sudan! We know that some countries were tremendously by leaders with absolute powers, but will the first President of South Sudan who is now given absolute powers do the same? If he couldn’t do his best with the little power and wealth put under his custody in the last six years what will change his abilities this time to effect a u-turn at the last days of his lifespan in power? Only God knows?
Another example of the bad eve of the independent South Sudan is the case of Leader of the Opposition in the SSLA Hon. Mr. Onyoti Adigo who just lost his strong tooth on 7th July 2011 as a result of torture from the SPLA Military Intelligence (MIs) watchdogs in Juba. The SPLA MIs beat and tortured him, his bodyguards and other SPLM-DC at their new Secretariat Headquarters in Juba. The reason given for this evil act is that the Hon. Onyoti and other SPLM-DCers did not request permission from the SPLM and the GoSS to celebrate the independence of South Sudan and distribute posters in Juba to express congratulations for the big occasion made by Southerners in unity.
But does any Southerner need to obtain a permission to express the joy and congratulations for the independence of the Motherland? And is it civilized at all to beat up a Member of Parliament (MP) endowed with constitutional immunities, especially at the eve of independence where all foreign dignitaries and international journalist are assembling for the rare occasion in the world? Absolutely not, and this shows how South Sudan is overwhelmed by the de facto sorry leadership of the so-called liberation fighters who turned out to have been fighting for selfish reward and not for a just cause of the people.
No wonder, the U.S. President Barack Obama and other genuine democratic world leaders are justified to decline responding positively to the GoSS and SPLM’s invitation for independence celebrations. Right now a lot of questions are ringing in the minds of many Southerners and those concerned about the common good of South Sudan: Why did SPLM/A fight against marginalization in order to practice marginalization by shift of guards? Why did SPLM/A fight for liberty in order to practice oppression? Why did SPLM/A struggled against injustice in order to deny justice in South Sudan? Why did SPLM/A accepted to negotiate and reach a Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in order to create conflicts inter and intra South Sudanese communities and/or the neighboring communities? Why, Why, Why and list of the pessimistic concerns and paradoxes continues.
Yes, the independence of South Sudan is the best but does it deserve bad leadership? Does it make sense for a leader of the new country to say from time to time that he does not know that many communities and individuals in South Sudan are being subjected to all kinds of ill-treatment by the very SPLA/M commanders and comrades? Why is the SPLM/A top leader unable to lead and discipline his juniors who are executing very harmful acts against the good of South Sudanese and the credibility of his leadership itself? What kind of a leader doesn’t know how to lead his people on the right path without discrimination?
For sure, and with shameful acts being executed in South Sudan, so many repeated failures to bring good news to the new country will push some communities, groups or individuals to choose living in Diaspora and exile or in the best rebellion bushes of South Sudan until genuine change is effected. But of course this shall increase the level of bad news in the new country like what happened in the eve and dawn of the declaration of the independence of the old Sudan in 1950s.
The South Sudan President and the few people benefiting from his leadership will attempt to crash those trying to oppose his leadership but with no success as he would wish. Also the South Sudan rebels and the opposition leaders shall try to work hard to see to it that the new President takes good care of values of good leadership or else he must go to his home or to the grave. But in the course of this conflict over the use of power, the people of South Sudan shall be the very one who shall bear the greatest consequence of the conflict from above. God have mercy on the poor people of South Sudan since their leaders are failing to protect them from harms!!!
Notwithstanding, the suffering people of South Sudan will remain as unshakeable force for change and wise use of power. Their voice will remain the voice of God and whoever does not fear them (be it the government of the day or the rebel or the opposition) should not pretend to fear God. God shall hear their prayers in the form of the South Sudan National Anthem.
Building a new country is not a joke. Having absolute powers for leadership comes with greatest responsibilities too. It is not about hiring and firing subjects at will only; it is far more demanding than this short-look.
Long Lived the Independence South Sudan but Short-lived whoever will try to mislead the freedom to a wrong direction of non-prosperity, injustices and dictatorship.
Congratulations and Viva to the Republic of South Sudan. I love this historic Day that I am witnessing in my life as an opportunity missed by many other Southerners, including the top CPA hero, Dr.John Garang de Mabior.
Dr. James Okuk is a PhD holder from the University of Nairobi. He can be reached at [email protected].