BY: Ater Garang Ariath, JUBA, SEPT/29/2013, SSN;
As political preparations are under way to level grounds for potential political competition comes 2015, in the anticipated first ever South Sudanese general elections, President Salva Kiir Mayardit, who also maintains keen interest to remain on South Sudanese political leadership, must involve the youth in his administration.
He must also work hand in hand with his political allies and strategists to use viable political avenues to revive an almost diminishing flying Sudan’s People Liberation Movement (SPLM) popularity in the eyes of South Sudanese populace.
Kiir would also work wonders if he considers youth and pressure groups in his political preparedness to remain as South Sudanese President, till he will hand over the leadership to the next leaders.
The leaders of his choice, who may in turn work with him after retirement in terms of giving advices as statesman.
However, a road to re-election may be tougher and tougher, but possible, if he really commits strong approaches to win the hearts of disparate special interest groups, traditional leaders, youth, women and conservative leaders within South Sudanese societies who are desperate to see absolute changes within government system.
President Kiir success for another good term ahead of him entirely lies at hand, dictated by two conditions whether to crush or leave it alive, the choice of scoring expensive goal is upon him and his close political allies within and outside the party system and government.
He reassured what it means to be President of a nation in recent days, but the social fibre that led him to a landslide victory in 2010 Sudanese general elections is worried losing control due to lack of tangible pragmatic approaches to address key priorities that South Sudanese suffer from.
South Sudanese in reality are ready prepared to cast their votes for the “evil they know,” over an angel that they don’t know and history will tell as the time approaches, starting with SPLM national convention which is pending due to political disagreement for the chairmanship, who will ultimately be the party’s flag-bearer for Presidency in 2015 scheduled elections.
President Kiir’s recent tour to all the states of Greater Bahr El Ghazal region as well as plans under way for visits to the other remaining two regions of Greater Upper Nile and Equatoria, all these have earned him good forward move to reinstate leadership dimension of of persuasive skill.
The first ever public tour and rallies he held explaining reasons why he opted to downsize the previous government as well as having temporary contracts with the current cabinet, and if they are not delivering within three months period, they will soon be shown the cabinet exist doors.
These all tells of the reassurance of leadership and persuasive skills that President Kiir never exercised all along starting from CPA period to an independent country.
During his speech at Mapel, while launching DDR training facilities earlier on this month, Kiir told an enthusiastic crowd that his lean cabinet formation came as an answer to what South Sudanese majority has been yearning for donkey years.
I quote, “I have entered into an agreement with this new cabinet so that after every three months, we evaluate them as well as they report to me what they have achieved and what to be achieved, nevertheless, I will test South Sudanese one by one till I find right people that want to deliver,” unquote.
But one thing remain unanswered, marginalization of youth in decision making process remains as a huge challenge to President Kiir’s administration that needs to be addressed, but which is worsened by high rate of unemployment among the youth in the country.
This, I think, as a South Sudanese concerned citizen, will create negative gap between President and the youth which makes the largest population of the country’s electorate.
The private sector and humanitarian work in the country are firmly preoccupied and controlled by the foreign nationals, who will be having no political voice comes 2015 general elections.
However, President Kiir and his reluctant Advisors should think double and work miraculously to bring the desperate youth in to their political shields, otherwise potential candidates vying for the highest country seat will use it as a dagger against President Kiir intended wish for re-election.
The good news is; the national Ministry of Youth, Culture and Sport on Friday 27/09/2013 has presented a national youth policy to the Council of Ministers, of which they unanimously endorsed that policy and passed it to the national legislative assembly for further deliberations. Of course, the parliament will pass it to President for an assent.
President Kiir should assent this policy immediately when it reaches his office, because, this policy will act as legal framework, which the Ministry will use for reorganization of youth across the countrywide.
But we need political will behind this policy so that youth problems are highly addressed by the government and will shape them for future leadership.
Yeah, I fully concurred with Michael Makuei , the Minister of Information and Broadcasting, when he described youth as an useful arm of nation, that needs great attention to resolve challenges facing them after they return from countries, where they have been during the years of protracted civil war in the country.
They youth in fact returned with different cultures and political orientations that need to be harmonized to match with the environment of South Sudanese societies and politics, which also need relentless commitment within leadership to lay down the foundation of the country National Youth Alliance or Union, which does not exist currently.
Lack of national youth body has created vacuum of coordination among the youth and leadership of this country, frankly speaking. As the youth constitute 70% country population, President Kiir administration should go extra-mile to boost literacy campaign by strengthening higher education and generally.
The road to re-election needs political determination and sacrifice for ultimate reforms within the governmental institutions as well as country‘s raw private sector which is currently dominated by foreign nationals due to poor entrepreneurial skills those South Sudanese private owners have, if it comes in business competitions.
“if government losses control of its national economic growth by its own people then is equally of losing political power, since money and power always go hand in hand like faces of a coin.”
This lean cabinet should prioritize capacity building among South Sudanese Businessmen and women by furthermore digging deep and pooling resources together and initiating smallholders’ micro-finance loans to gifted South Sudanese in private sector as tool for businesses empowerment.
All in all delivering social amenities that South Sudanese needed, especially building roads, empowering women and youth to participate fully in private building sector, policy making, mobilize resources for both general and higher educations and upgrading of health centers will be holistic restoration of disappearing hopes and aspirations among citizenry.
Professionalizing security sector to fully engage respecting rule of law and civil authority as well as harmonization of political atmosphere among different political parties is what we need and see it done.
South Sudanese people who fought together for unreservedly heroic war to achieve hard won independence, therefore, they solely need peace dividends by seeing progress in all aspects of nation building.
President Kiir is a good man that South Sudanese are gifted with, as matter of fact, he deserved appreciations for his stewardship and steadfast leadership he provided during ups and downs years of Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) implementation, till he heroically guided South Sudanese people to an independent nation.
But due to his always tender heart, he wrongly surrounded his highest seat with Advisors who are there opposing the system, giving wrong advices to President or keeping silent to correct President Kiir when he goes wrong.
The lack of expertise among Advisory team that surrounded him for political accommodations has dragged this nation down, and most of his eminent supporters turn against his government, especially when Presidential decrees were issued with errors and later reversed and re-issued, shows disarray within the system.
We are tired and sick of political accommodation that result in mass corruption practices with impunity which has in turn tarnished the image of South Sudan as newest nation and SPLM as ruling party.
As far as corruption goes on, it inculcates fears among potential foreign investors not to direct their investment opportunities into the country.
Therefore, President Kiir should now open transparency avenues, especially addressing controversial land ownership issues, so that land use may be rightfully administered by specified party spelled out correctly in the existing land laws, otherwise land without legal framework will still scare away affluent investors.
Therefore, to conclude, South Sudanese still need President Kiir in the next elections only if essential services and good governance systems are revived.
The writer is South Sudanese journalist and Human Rights Activist living in Juba
You can reach him for any comment at Email firstname.lastname@example.org