Federalism base on Regionalism vs Federalism base on Partisanism

By: Chol Ajak Demac

May 14, 2013 (SSNA) — Lately, I have been monitoring the political development in South Sudan and I am in awe of how fast the situation is deteriorating and how fast the SPLM lost and will continue to lose grounds as a national political party!!!   Things may get worse for the South and the SPLM, unless miracles happen.

There have been a lot of talks lately on how best to govern South Sudan, some are calling for Federalism  others are calling for centralism and few are for I don’t care party!?  Without taking sides on which is the best way to govern the South, one can only be concern on the way the debate is being carryout. For example last week in Juba the greater Equatoria region, on their extraordinary conference calls for federal system of governance. Today we learn that the greater Bhar el Ghazal is due to hold their extraordinary conference in Wau from the 15th to 20th of May this year and who knows?  Greater Upper Nile may hold it conference soon (who’s better than who).

Now here are the questions

1– Is it best to tackle the problems of politics and governing the country by going regional? Did we try that before? Where did we end up in the past by going regional on the issues of national interest? “Those who fail to learn from the history are doomed to repeat it” or “He who lives to forget his past lives to die of his past. Knowing the past and keeping the past helps us to shape the future, and may avoid the reoccurrences of past disasters”.

2– One can’t help but to noticed that all the leaders of so call regional conferences are all seniors SPLM members? That begs the question; did the SPLM fail as a party to hold these kinds of conferences? Why can the SPLM organize the conference that have nothing to do with who should or shouldn’t  be the Chairmen but rather  debate and came out with the solutions on how best to run the country, keeping in mind the SPLM had been the ruling party for the last 8 years? 

3– Others may say that, they try all the above within the ruling party and fail for one reason or another!!!  I don’t have any inside information to agree or disagree with them, but I can’t imagine that their failure is due to where they hail from or which region they came from, in such a case the problem of how to govern South Sudan shouldn’t be regionalized, but rather nationalized in terms of Political parties, in short if the SPLM fails you, you quit and form a party that call for federation in the South and I bet you will find a lot of supporters from all corner of the nation.

4– Some may ask why worry about the regional driven politics? To be candid, it doesn’t worry me when a  region gets together to address problems in the region such as insecurity in the area, because of the tribal and intertribal conflicts, or tackles the issues of developments in private sector , or agriculture improvement , most of you will agree how urgent the South is in need of such conferences!!?  I only worry when we try to use the region to score political points at the national level for these reasons:

A-Although the intention may be good, there is always few who will try to hijack the situation and misuse it to further their self interest wish can result in dividing the Country on the regional line and tribal politic.       

B-With all due respect, our people are still young, when it come to politic that include, the so called intellectuals (the roots of most problems in RSS) therefore if we base our political demands on the region instead of party platform, we are risking further divisions among our people, and the words of our national anthem “Land of great abundance, Uphold us united in peace and harmony” will be things of the past.   

C-Let’s all assume that Bahr el-Ghazal call for centralism in their upcoming conference? And the Upper Nile calls for either? Are we not setting up the country to the paths of civil war base on regionalism?   But if we do it base on the parties platforms then each party will have supporters in every town city or region of the nation, and that can lead us towards more unification of our nation.

Finally, it is my hope that when it comes to discussing the national issues we should always try to keep our emotion away from it, and have some intelligence deliberations.

Lastly but not least, on my open letter to Mr. President Kiir  Mayardit, publish on August 3, 2011 I asked him the following question: Are we going to be the beacon of light and hope in Africa, or a laughing Stock of the World?  Fellow citizens of Republic of South Sudan, I’m appealing to your better nature to try your level best in answering this questions, and ask ourselves what kind of Country did we really fight for and dreams of??

May almighty God guide us towards being a peaceful and democratic Nation, so God bless South Sudan.

The Author is a former Secretary General of the SPLM Chapter in Arizona State, USA; he can be reached at [email protected].

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