By: Justin Ambago Ramba
January 14, 2012 (SSNA) — Whether the Republic of South Sudan can make it this time around to an all embracing Permanent National Constitution remains a question to challenge those concerned after the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement [SPLM] Party needlessly chose to dominate an earlier process that saw the writing of what is today the new country’s most embattled supreme law – a very controversial Transitional Constitution of its kind worldwide!.
This time around the element of time has again been craftily used by SPLM to rush the process as almost always is the Government of South Sudan’s[GoSS} infamous tactic of imposing pre-conceived ideas or in this case what looks like a pre-decided Constitution Review Commission and possibly a pre-written Permanent Constitution for the new country.
Looking at it closely one can hardly miss to see what has become a pattern similar to the previous scenarios that led to the existing Transition Constitution which no doubt was pre-tailored to suit no one else but H.E the President of the Republic in the person of the incumbent Lt. General Salva Kiir Mayardit.
In its most explicit terms this very controversial constitution gives the incumbent President no limit to the terms he can possibly run for the top office [possibly a president for life] and an unlimited array of powers that included the power to dismiss the elected state governors or dismiss elected parliaments or any of the law makers including the elected MPs. In short the incumbent President has successfully manipulated his hand-picked constitution review commission to unjustifiably entrust him with the right to veto even what is a ‘democratic popular mandate’.
This although stands out as a very unpatriotic way of manipulating every political process in the country, it has continuously been used by the SPLM led GoSS as it has repeatedly come to the surface on how it does business as of late. And a case in question here is when Vice President Riek Machar and his government waited till Friday 6th January 2012 to hurriedly tell the South Sudan political parties consultative meeting [much in the exclusion of other political parties, civic societies, unions and religious leaders] that they had to form the constitution review commission by the 9th January 2012[barely three days] or risk violating the Transitional Constitution. But where were they all this time from July 9th 2011, somebody may ask?
Just a quick look into how important national issues were handled under the then Government of the National Unity [GoNU] which of course was by design dominated by the National Congress Party [NCP] and its Southern counterpart, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement [SPLM], it had been the rule that time was constantly wasted on brinkmanship while crucial decisions were left for the last minute. We saw it with the Population Census, the General Elections, and then the Self Determination referendum that led to the independence of South Sudan. Could it now be that the ruling SPLM party has finally found itself hooked up in this Jallaba habit or is it that they are intentionally using what was the ‘Arab Colonial Policy’ of subjugating rivals or even the citizens for that matter into a total submission?
It is indeed unconceivable that the SPLM can be so naïve not to see the secession of South Sudan from what was an ill managed union with the North as a direct reaction against what was a systematic overshadowing of its people’s aspirations to development and freedom of expression, much more so than what religions people have or not have nor which language they speak or not. In the most basic words one can say that these policies are directly detrimental to the national unity even more so under our shaky structures and poor governance in the nascent state. You only need to look up north once more where the same rulers are still in office and continue to use the same old policies, and you can’t miss to see the socio-political cleavage lines in Darfur, the Nuba Mountains, the Southern Blue Nile and the Beja Hills of Eastern Sudan. If we so chose their way as a policy, then we should be ready to live with the results!
To draw a parallel to our own situation it seems that in most cases although times change, the real changes often yeaned for by the people tend to lag behind partly because most liberation movements of the so-called popular revolutions in themselves often than not become tools in the hands of stronger foreign interest groups and cooperates. You only come to realise that you might have fought an already bought struggle only when you begin to question where your sovereignty start and end before someone else tells you what to do. This is too often the case in the African Continent where people’s aspirations are only realised if and only if they coincide with the interests of the greedy Western so-called Super powers or some of these giant multi-national corporate bodies.
All these been said, isn’t it all necessary that governments as they are served to us by the so-called super powers should be seen at least respecting the democratic values which the West so much approves of in their own national settings? In other words, wouldn’t it be all the best if new nation states like South Sudan were better off geared to develop on a line that guarantees the embracement of democracy rather than being looked at as yet another Congo – another rich reserve of natural resources that should never see political stability with the capitalistic intent of rendering it a powerless prey for easy exploitation!
Reflecting on our long history and previous experience as a struggling people, one wonders why our leadership is so resigned not to learn valuable lessons which could have benefited us all as an emerging nation. To sum it up all, we need to reflect on how we as a new nation ended up with what is now the country’s ‘Transitional Constitution’. If anything it should remind us of how divided we are as a nation, with a few who continue to operate as predators using the old Jallaba dichotomy that, “only they can serve the national interest while looking at the other political groups as outsiders, only worth of being contained to their best”.
The so-called Multipartyism that decorate our ‘Transitional Constitution’ without being reflected on the ground easily stands out as a phrase imposed on the SPLM by its Western allies and the all too powerful Donor Community, for its impossible for an All Totalitarian Organisation that spent over two decades of its life time receiving orders from an unquestionable one man dictatorship to all of a sudden
be expected to dispense democracy to a nation that suffered political, social, cultural and economic suffocation a.k.a marginalisation.
It is one thing to liberate a country and it’s another to rule and develop it on democratic principles. Since there never existed any democratically run liberation struggle, there will always be no such a thing like a democracy embracing rebel leader. Old habits die hard! When a country reaches these stages regardless of whether it took it time to get there or was in fact fast tracked as it is the case with
the SPLM ruled South Sudan, the old song of multi-party democracy becomes irrelevant before an all nationwide and broad-based emancipation movement is conceived in order to set the track right, weed the entrenched corruption and set an environment ideally enough for democracy to grow and flourish or you simply get stacked in yet another Zimbabwe where opposition parties are viewed as deadly enemies by the so-called liberators.
Author: Dr. Justin Ambago Ramba. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com