SPLM party is a wrong platform to stage a brutal dictatorial leadership

“Truth alone will obtain a lasting victory” –Antoine Nicolas

By J. Nguen Nyol

May 6, 2013 (SSNA) — Human’s perfectibility before the law and above all else is what defines truthfulness and moral absolute. Herein, I feel obliged to write to what I think prescribes to this humanistic perfectionism for awakening proposes to further a positive collective progress and allow informed participatory decision making process in South Sudan. Since independence, there have been heroic burst of energy from the youth who wanted to change the status quo with well-grounded intent of good governance in order for the new country to restart a new.

Despite these positive attempts, more than once, people of South Sudan have been kept in the dark and denied access to information and participation in political discourses aimed to shape the future of the new country. Often, the intents for exclusion are for short ends but long term dictatorship and coercion government outlook in South Sudan and in the SPLM. Because of this, I purposefully decided to write, to share with my fellow South Sudanese issues of special interest that bond us together and which are solely confined to the SPLM party and its long awaited upcoming SPLM 3rd National Convention this month, May 2013.

To begin with, I must declare before my readers that I am a proud member of the SPLM party and I will always be, like I have been for the last 24 years, so long the principles and the values for which this party was founded upon remains standing, strictly kept and perfected to the highest regard by those whom the party entrusted to carries the baton. Based on these principles, this is where I sincerely believe SPLM party is too big to be a one man dynasty and a wrong platform to stage a brutal dictatorial leadership. 

Therefore, the key aim of this commentary is to enlighten members of the SPLM party and the general public to ensure that no one is denied or deprived freedom to information and inputs about importance matters that are being discuss in the Political Bureau meetings, prior to the forthcoming SPLM 3rd National Convention.

Currently, there are four agenda items before the PB, which are as follow:

1. The SPLM constitution;
2. The SPLM manifesto:
3. The SPLM code of conduct;
4. The SPLM Basic rules and regulations;

In February and March 2013, the highest organ of the SPLM party, Political Bureau met and discussed most of the above mentioned agenda items. There were reports of unanimous consensus on major items but bitter disagreements on the constitution voting processes and internal democracy. Hence, this is where I would like to focus to ensure that public is aware and inputs of the SPLM party members are welcomed to help in the deliberations process.

In a nutshell, the disagreements arise because President Salva Kiir Mayardit proposed and demanded a show of hands voting method as oppose to the secret ballot in the SPLM 3rd National Convention elections. The president asserted that “the voting process in the SPLM 3rd National Convention shall be a show of hands, no more, no less.”

However, Mr. President’s position was bitterly opposed by many members in the Political Bureau in both meetings because the method is open to intimidation; bribery and it compromises voter’s security, but the president seemed not to get it. Therefore the issue remains unsettled because Mr. President has refused to consent despite the fact that his position is weak, unsustainable and only used in medieval times on temporary platforms, where there was only one nominee for the post.  

Those who rejected President Kiir’s position argued that a secret ballot is an ideal method, because it “allows voters to make confidential choices and thus helps prevent intimidation and bribery” while the show of hands voting method is open to intimidation and bribery. Not only that the secret ballot is flawless method, it is use universally around the globe. For instance, the secret ballot voting method was passed to law in British in 1872, Canada in 1874, USA in 1892 and Australia in the 1850 and the list is almost endless. In these instances, the key reason was that “it is the only appropriate method that ensures voter’s security, sincere choice and forestalling attempts to influence the voter by intimidation or bribery” (1838).

With method as flawless as this, why is President Salva Kiir strenuously pushing for a “show of hands,” an outdated method subjected to flaws and abject bribery and deadliest intimidation? Of course, this is for anyone’s good guess. But the simple answer is that Mr. President admires coercive method and one man show governance. It has worked in the past perfectly in his favor and still being utilizes intensively in RSS. For example, this method of bribery and intimidation were used during 2010 elections and when the South Sudan Interim Constitution was being passed into the law of the land. Mr. President demanded unnecessary powers and got away with it.

Here, it will be unforgivable political blunder if President Kiir gets away with this ill informed motive in the SPLM 3rd National Convention because the demand is at best gravely contrary to the SPLM founding principles. Outrageous as it sounds, it adds to the fact that people South Sudan have had enough sell outs already from an inconsistence, indifference and unfocused war veteran and head of state. However, I am convinced that the SPLM aspirants and the PB will not and must not allow the president to triumph with such disastrous, illogical and irrational method of voting. I am also sure that our people know better. They know the reasons why we took arms, because the reasons were clearly articulated in the SPLM’s founding document and well communicated to them. The truth is President Kiir should have known this better than anyone else, because he was in the heart of the movement, but it lately appeared the SPLM’s programmes are still too complicated and too overwhelming for a man who never had administrative experiences or a formal education to say the least. Without doubt, President Kiir is not the founding father of the nation but a step father who delivered the nation to its birth and he deserves minimal credits.   

The other issue that generated major disagreement in the PB meetings is the internal democracy. President Kiir Mayardit demanded that “the SPLM Constitution shall only elect the Chairperson of the party and the National Liberation Council whereas the vice chairperson (s) of the party, the Political Bureau members and the Secretary General of the party shall be nominated by the chairperson of the party. Many think this is hypocritical and pathetic at best. Where in the world is this possible? Nowhere! Even in the “Animal Farm” where lion was named king of the jungle because his bravery and might, but the opposite is true for the poor president. 

Another point made along the same argument was that all the above mentioned positions must be subjected to vigorous contest and each candidate must be democratically elected. In an essence, the canard rationale behind Mr. President’s position is to control the party as one man show as he falsely assumed that he will win the party’s chairmanship. The other poorly planned tactic was to bar young SPLM party’s aspirants from contesting for any position in the high organs of the party; and thus will keeps the party unsuccessful, underdeveloped, unreformed, not rejuvenated, not re-energized but instead remains under misguided old guards who ceased to think of anything positive.

Finally, President Kiir demanded to handpick 5% allocation of the SPLM’s 1,000 delegates (100 from each 10 states) to the national convention and be allocated to him. This position was bitterly opposed by majority in the Political Bureau meetings. Those who opposed see no justifiable reason why Mr. President should be given 5% percent allocation. Out of 1000 delegates that would attend the SPLM 3rd National Convention the president needed fifty people. This is not fair and logical to any SPLM member because it under-minds democratic ideals of the party. It also places the president at advantage above everyone else, in a party where everyone is considered equal. 

To place this under honest scrutiny, President Kiir needs no special treatment in the party. However, if Mr. President refuses to relent as evident suggested in the PB meetings, it would be nothing short of miscarriage of justice and the move will certainly temper with proper SPLM party’s elections results in favor of the president. There is also a weak argument from the president that the mentioned 5% are for youth, women and disables. If this is true, the 5% is meant for youth, women and disable, then, this should be given to each state to bring their women, youth and disable and not by the president of the Republic. More so, the women, the youth and the disable must also democratically compete and should not be handpicked by the President.

In closing, it is true that confusion reigns under President Kiir’s leadership since independent or even before the South Sudan’s Interim Constitution became law of the land under one man’s dynasty. Lazy old guards and some uninformed general public are now taking notice of the fault made 20 months on since South Sudan independent on the 9th July 2011. Because the flaw in the institution distresses and continue to affects every thread of our society politically, economically and socially. Presently in replica, President Kiir is demanding for the repeat of the same unwelcomed grave mistake.

I believe SPLM members are not really that fool to make the same political blunder made during the passing of South Sudan Interim Constitution in 2011.  But surprisingly if may, few in the political Bureau remained silent when Mr. President strenuously demanded for unnecessary powers and unlawful voting processes in the SPLM Constitution, thus, I cannot escape the question why few reasonable beings in the PB do behaved so unreasonably?

For this commentary, the facts now are before the public for public scrutiny and inputs in order to propel matters that are of national interest and beyond our ethnic lines. It is undeniable that South Sudanese in general have been unlawfully denied participatory rights and their inputs have not been considered by the system and the same government they previously blindly trust. So, the question is how long can we be victims of a system of exploitations before saying enough is enough?  

The people cannot be fooled for long into accepting … those they judge to be self- aggrandizing and seeking to enrich or benefit themselves at their expense” Robert Mugabe

True in our case! Around the world, people of South Sudan have lost confident on the SPLM party led government under Kiir and this is no secret. Our people have no hopes and aspirations anymore simple because President Kiir’s government is too corrupt, too tribalized, too irrational, too misguided, too inconsistence, too confused and too lazy to deliver big programmes and vision and mission of the SPLM party. In addition, the government is also too big for the president himself to “handle,” as previously alluded to by Deng Alor Kuol, the current Minister of cabinets Affairs in RSS.

In South Sudan for example, people are being killed in thousands daily and President Kiir does not care to even address a nation and mourn with South Sudanese who lost their loved ones. Strangely, President Kiir instead condemned the deceased. Good example of this occurred in Western Bar El Ghazal State when Mr. President condemned the deceased killed by RSS’ police force. Similarly, President Kiir never visited SPLA troops in borders, Fangak Nuer, Murle people, Dinka Bor and Lou Nuer in their villages who are losing their loved ones daily due to Mr. President’s miscalculated moves. What a President! In other nations, especially in the west, if one person is killed the President will address his or her nation to calm the people down, mourn with them and assure them that justice will be done.

The evidences mentioned are unquestionable an abject failures, but Mr. President is weirdly in a gruesome denial. He instead resorted to higher end immorality of blame game tactics, tribalized politic, rampant corruption, arbitrary arrest and killing of innocence South Sudanese who seems to questions how he misguidedly and blindly runs the government. He is in a hopeless pursues of cover up and masking up his inability to lead and deliver services effectively. Mr. President need to be corrected that South Sudan is not being runs like other nations. There is no nation in this planet where the head of the sate can sack or remove elected government officials and governors without any due process. There is no nation in this planet where sensitive organs of the government institutions are assigned to and runs one tribe men/women and by extension one clan for that matter. There is no nation in this planet where $4 billions US dollars was stolen by 75 government officials and no one has been persecuted and held accountable. There is nowhere in this planet where $6 millions dollars/pounds were kept in the President’s office in cash and at the end got stolen. With these disappointing facts, President Kiir was mistaken by stating that “we are a new country. This is why the whole world has turned to us and [is] watching closely to see what we are doing. It is not because what is happening in this country is not happening in other countries.”

Beside, President Kiir is currently in a dangerous pursues of reminiscing Uganda President’s dictatorship style, but the truth is, SPLM as a party is a wrong platform to stage such brutal tyranny ideals. Similarly, the South Sudanese people are not Ugandans to be dictated.

Above features are what defines the current government in South Sudan, and therefore I wonder, should the SPLM party members just standby and allow an inconsistence leader with distorted conscience to turn people’s SPLM into one man dynasty with irrational ideals and batters us with outdated voting processes while we watch? I don’t think so. SPLM party is too big, too strong and it has high moral principles and values which are unfit for one man dynasty.

J. Nguen is a concerned South Sudanese citizen living in Canada. He can be reached at [email protected]

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