Can Democracy be a way out of SPLM’s interior problem?

By:  Bol Khan Rom, South Sudan

July 23, 2013 (SSNA) — I was on Friday 19th July, 2013 listened to a reported- debate sponsored by IRI but conducted at Debesh Hotel in Juba, IRI is an American-based organization which involves into democracy; the report was to grasp public opinion in regard to issues facing the world newest nation.  Therefore, among those fragile issues discussed; I have chosen Democracy to be a topic of this article today. The debate was exalted by the presence of Hon. Peter Bashir Bandi, MP National Legislative Assembly, Mr. Alfred Taban  Logune, Chairman, Board of Directors and Editor-in-Chief, Juba Monitor English daily Newspaper and many others. Of course, the debate was all about, how South Sudan-led by SPLM Party could save itself in these unattractive events gradually happening on daily basis.

From that debate, I decided to write this piece, about implications that would be fostered by this pre-emptively delayed SPLM’s National Convention and it conceivable effects on national headway.

"According to English Dictionaries Democracy is a system of rule based upon the Government of the people, by the people and for the people themselves" the term derived from Greek: word Demo-kratia; where Demo means people and Kratia means power (rule).

Therefore, democracy is now seen worldwide as an upright approach in politics and in good governance, in social transformations as well , as such it came into the mind of previous world’s rulers(leaders) that  politicians couldn’t  make better decisions on people’s behalf, rather they can instead made only for themselves and may not include the people’s thoughts when making decision. This is why people think it is fairer and more importantly to establish and protect the freedom of the people as individual and as a nation.

Democracy by itself protects the interest and demands of minority groups and this entire group have access to political system, this means that; if Africans in all-purpose and South Sudanese people in specific will gaze at democracy-elections as a pacific way of renovating & transferring leadership then the world would un-doubtfully knows that we  truly meant what we fought for, that is democracy or equal rights etc… counting standing up for any national post not excluding the Presidency leave alone the Party’s Chairmanship.

In democracy an individual , even minorities  group remains free from discrimination and their views are on time cherished, however, given the perspective discerning  in this country called South Sudan nobody could intimidates the other, for all powers exist. Is this not a lively aspect to be kept in mind?

Democracy is also important factor of controlling  governments  powers  and prevents the people who hold power abusing it and using it for their own gain rather than people’s.

This is done in a democratic state by holding elections periodically and leaders are also held accountable for what they have done.

Elections do not only help to hold government accountable but also they let the people to discernments and have their said in the political process.  That is, if there are two or more rivalries in any country or party who interestingly would want to go to the stage, democracy and elections (by ballot not bullets) is always use to end argument.

The people in a democratic system influence government decisions by joining pressure groups, political parties, taking part in protests and many other ways.

Nonetheless, in some countries like Sudan, where democracy is not embraced possibly due to corrupt governments  or even religious beliefs stop everybody in society to have liberty and freedom to express their thoughts.  Something, that led people of South Sudan to vote for Separation.   Who can encourage that clique style?

The reason why democracy cannot be hijacking in South Sudan is that it was only yesterday that we emerged from war, which we fought objectively to bring democratic life into being, justice, equality and opportunity for all in Republic of South Sudan.

Absence of discernment

Popularly, in liberal democratic system the competition for leadership is open, it is not secretive,  is based on established and accepted forms of procedures where periodical elections founded on universal franchise are held in every four to five years.

This is what we, as South Sudanese would preferred to see in the SPLM as also a leading party which fought a war, not long ago only to materialize democratic transformations (system). Now, the problem which is on the verge of setting the country onto fire should be blamed on SPLM for not having managed its leadership quest democratically; but instead resorting to work out of that problem in other means including, withdrawing  powers, relieving politicians, which in due course may lead to  military confrontations.  Does this young nation need it now and in the future? The convention was supposed to take place in May this year but it has been delayed indefinitely.

The National Government (NLA  , Council of States & other institutions in Juba) even states governments are dominated by SPLM, for this reason any crisis in the SPLM may immerse the entire nation into uncertainty. Therefore, if we are to prevent this, all South Sudanese, Africans and International Community should work very hard and encourage the SPLM Party to hold its Convention, elect the leadership democratically (constitutionally) in free and fair ether and not in any other way round.

I one time, just a week ago had  a  conversation with  one of the SPLM staunch member who told me that  they (in SPLM) were going to have no problem in holding  a convention, but what flabbergasted one and all was Dr. Riek  Machar  Teny’s  ambition to  contest for SPLM’s Chairmanship. Which we do not want completely…… he related to me. I said if you do not want him (Dr. Machar) you would vote him out in mere party elections. That should not be a problem, for democracy must take its cause.

We wouldn’t have had voted(I don’t know he & who) for Separation if we could prudently, predicted and knew that Riek Machar would today says he will contest for the Chairmanship of the SPLM; he unpleasantly continued. What a solitary interest that can bring such unpatriotic utterance from a state man in his national stage!  Thus, I assured him, even if you did  that, yet the Separation percentage could  still preceded  the required votes(50+1 or flush beyond) Because, your number was to be in hundreds not thousands, whatever much mobilizations you were to made. Here we ended our civil conversation. The fact is that, this nation-state over the past 56 years did fight Khartoum, merely to take on democracy.  So, why are we running away from it?  Do you still principally up to this minute recall why we battled Khartoum’s Regimes?  You can ask further-related questions and just answer for yourself!

This is where I realized that,  there is going to be a problem as was once said by Mr. Nhial Bol Aken, Editor in Chief of The Citizen Newspaper  in one of the interviews  with Miraya FM, that the remaining option from the SPLM/A is to kill themselves, and then innocent South Sudanese people. Now, imagine South Sudan unknowingly got itself at war within, for such a simple reason which has to be solved democratically in SPLM Convention.   Who would be accountable?    SPLM’s Constitution (democratic rights )?  Dr. Riek?  Gen. Salva?  For me, I could blame it on what that deferred the Convention-where all the four candidates (or two) declared, were to measure their popularity democratically and let the delegates consigned to vote in the new leadership work!  The war would never be tribal as being scapegoated by anti-democratic process planners in Juba. 

It will not be tribal why because the SPLM-led RSS’s Government is constitutes of all South Sudanese regardless of region and tribe- elections too would have without doubt been held in a tribal-freed mode.  I know even the previous/current campaigns were/are being done randomly. Therefore, in my opinion, regarding the SPLM’s problem, democracy would solve for the last time simply by holding an elections in a National Convention as required by law!

As it was said that when the doctor diagnoses a disease, you do not waste time arguing with the doctor-you seek the treatment, in its interpreted meaning this could humbly implies that if democracy and polls become the only way to show who win, the hearts in any elections held.  Then the SPLM’s National Convention should be convening very urgently for the two candidates to strive democratically. So that SPLM return to its regular activities with fresh leadership or hoary one!  That is all. Why wasting time hiding around the bush here and there?   The Party’s members (NLC or PB) would act now for they are the (people) power and only power of the SPLM!  DEMOCRACY must take place such that AUTHORITARIANISM (loss of lives) is circumvents!

The author is a concerned South Sudanese; he can be reached at [email protected]

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