BY: SINDANI IRENEOUS SEBIT, NAIROBI, KENYA, NOV. 2/2012, SSN;
*I can hear them saying, I can hear them murmuring but their voice fail to become loud because of fear, intimidation, harassment, banishment, torture or imprisonment but they talk in their corners.*
South Sudan became independent on the 9th July 2012 following a long protracted war that claimed nearly 2 million lives. The declaration of the independence was welcome by all and was thought to usher in a long anticipated period of peace, tranquility, democracy, socio-economic development, transparency and accountability in addition to respect for individual rights.
However, the people of South Sudan are yet to begin reaping these products of independence. Instead what has emerged in the infant but resourceful country is unfortunate state of misrule, disunity, socio-economic stagnation and political upheavals. This is attributed to none other than the SPLM party that took the ruins of power following the rigged elections before the independence.
It is dreadful that in a young country like South Sudan, where the struggle for freedom took 23 years and claimed nearly 2 million lives, democracy and human rights, natural values and dignity have been stifled; corruption has become the order of the day creating few millionaires in Juba while the majority of the South Sudanese are wallowing in adjunct poverty.
Failure of the ruling SPLM party to lay good foundation for the progressive future of this young nation has left the people of South Sudan craving for good leadership; a leadership that can champion the future development of a united democratic South Sudan. It does not really matter where this salvation leadership comes from; be it SPLM itself, the opposition, the generals in the army, the civil society or the people themselves, it would be a welcome change.
The leadership the people are craving for is that which can bring unity and justice to the country and the people. The basic aim is to initiate reconciliation and harmony among the various tribes in South Sudan and to usher in democratic rule based on rule of law, transparency and accountability.
The people crave for leadership that can wrestle back South Sudan from the few elite and bourgeoisie in Juba who have used corruption, tribalism, nepotism and personal greed to exploit the vast resources of the country to enrich themselves while the socio-economic development of the country has stagnated.
The leadership that can give to the people of South Sudan the rights and voice to claim what is truthfully and rightly theirs and express themselves on issues affecting them and their society so that a country founded on democratic principles of unity, justice, equity, equality, transparency and accountability is firmly established and fostered.
It is my crystal ball strong perception that the overall motive of creating a leadership in a country lies on the belief that leadership should strive to foster socio-economic development of the people leading to material change in the lives of the people. This means the leadership must put in place and nurture policies that can raise the standards of the people of South Sudan instead of few individuals enjoying the resources.
As a result the people should then enjoy better living working conditions, better health and nutrition levels, good educational standards, reasonable income, more jobs and greater life expectancy. More so leadership should aim at expanding the range of economic and social services in South Sudan for the benefit of the poor and the entire population.
Due to the ineptitude of the government in South Sudan to realize these leadership qualities and attributes, the people have all inherent rights to crave for leadership that can focus on reduction and eventual elimination of poverty by equitably distributing the resources in South Sudan to meet the needs of all. A leadership that strives to provide health care for all, improve literacy levels in South Sudan and can spare no effort to make South Sudan a solidly united nation where insecurity becomes a thing of the past, freedom of ideas and expression is not suppressed.
Where strong self sustaining devolved government exists to serve the people, where the health system is strengthened to avoid the current health tourism practiced by the elite in Juba, where educational system is overhauled to ensure educational standards are improved and schools are properly managed to produce the much needed human resource of the future, where road, river and air infrastructure are built to facilitate fast movement of people and goods that can foster rapid economic development.
Where government is elected by the people, is for the people and managed by the people and where the parliament is not only independent but also works, judiciary is free from the executive manipulation and its independence is under the principles of checks and balances and indeed the separation of powers among the three arms of government is not perceived to exists but really exists and exercised.
This leadership that can usher in a peoples government that trusts the people, responds positively and promptly to their needs and cannot discriminate citizens according to tribe, race, gender, religion, age or political orientation; a leadership that lays emphasis on South Sudan nationalism, South Sudanese dignity, and their rights. These include the rights of the farmers, workers, the poor and the unemployed.
A leadership that can also focus on affirmative action to ensure equality and equity; a leadership that can work steadfastly to accelerate socio-economic growth that can be sustained and ensure that human resource development is sustained.
The people crave for leadership which is committed to guarantee freedom of expression, movement and right to live anywhere within the Republic and to own property legally; a leadership that can protect every South Sudanese and foreign national living within the borders of South Sudan.
Above all, the people crave for a leadership that can be inclusive, consultative, honest, transparent, accountable, progressive, open and accommodating.
The question is therefore, for how long can the people continue craving for this kind of leadership without realizing that they themselves can bring the leadership that they want? The time to stop craving is now and not tomorrow.
I think the coming elections should present the best opportune time for the people to bring a change in the country as you did during the referendum in South Sudan. Indeed your own destiny and that of the country is in your hands when you exercise your democratic right to choose the new leadership come the next elections.
(The views expressed above are solely those of the author and not of the website)
Sindani Ireneaus Sebit