June 29, 2014 (SSNA) — Most of us in South Sudan are not independent thinkers even when we pretend we are! Some South Sudanese writers and thinkers in Southern States of the country support Federalism not because they’ve actually looked into the inherent benefits to the constituents of the region but because the majority of the citizens embrace it given their flimsy understanding of the system, or because vocal voices in their areas support it, or that, they believe, it’ll give them an opportunity to get rid of the ‘occupiers’ on their land.
None of the supporters of Federalism has ever advanced any convincing reason that’s not either reminiscent of the infamous 1980s ‘Kokora’ or the regionalized tribalism and regionalist sycophancy. States have governors, parliaments, state MPs, State laws. We somehow have a system that’s structurally resembling other Federal Systems in the world. What is lacking is to actually give more powers to the states and limiting president’s interference in state affairs.
And those who oppose Federalism do so because they support the government and the government opposes it. And the government has absolutely no credible reason advanced in opposition to the system and why they think Federalism would be bad. The only reason they have is that Riek has rekindled the flame of Federalism. This is not the first time Riek has done something like this. Riek feeds on popular aspirations of the people and exploits them.
Self-determination wasn’t a darling of the SPLA/SPLM until Dr. Riek and Dr. Lam made it their focal point in Abuja I in 1992. It was only one of the alternatives in Dr. John’s famous multi-layered Vend Diagrams but not the preferred alternative. UNITY of Sudan was! The two doctors wanted to outsmart Dr. John Garang. However, the way Dr. John changed astonished not only the doctors, but Garang’s friends in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA). Garang embraced Self-Determination to the chagrin of the Nasir duo and even made it central to Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA); giving birth to Referendum!
Riek and Lam had met an ideological propagandists, ideological chameleon, and also, an ideological wizard who couldn’t be outsmarted.
So folks who oppose Federalism are doing so because people they support don’t like it. They’ve not presented any convincing reason why they oppose it.
This is our major problem. We ally based on irrational positions we hide in ideological, tribalized regionalism and intellectualized tribalism.
We don’t think for ourselves!
That’s why we hear time and again from South Sudanese officials and government supporters that President Salva Kiir Mayardit is a “democratically elected president” of South Sudan!
No! President Kiir was a democratically elected president of the government of ‘Southern Sudan.’ He’s a CONSTITUTIONAL President of the Republic of South Sudan. There was no election held after the independence of South Sudan! None!
We hear from many government officials that President Kiir is the legitimate president of South Sudan because he’s the democratically elected president. Yes, he’s the legitimate president of South Sudan because the Transitional Constitution (2011) says so not because he’s elected.
Chapter II, Article 97 (3) of the Transitional constitution states: “The incumbent elected President of the Government of Southern Sudan shall be the President of the Republic of South Sudan.”
It says elected president of ‘Government of Southern Sudan.’ It doesn’t say elected ‘President of the Republic of South Sudan.’
Article 100 states: “The tenure of the office of the President of the Republic of South Sudan shall be four years, commencing from July 9, 2011.”
What makes the president Legitimate in the Republic of South Sudan is because the constitution says so not because he is elected in an independent South Sudan.
Note that the president tenure is not being counted from the time the president was elected (2010). It’s starting from the independence of the Nation, January 9, 2011.
So it’s utterly wrong to say that President Kiir is a ‘democratically elected president!’ President Kiir’s current legitimacy started on July 9, 2011. Unless I’ve been sleeping between 2011 and 2013 and that a National Election was held then!