South Sudan: Political uncertainty looms till 2015 elections

BY: YENGI J. TOM, Alexandria University, EGYPT, SEPT/02/2013, SSN;

The recent move by President Salva Kirr sacking his entire cabinet and subsequent appointments and re-appointments of some few former ministers was met with jubilation and sadness by some south Sudanese. As the president strengthens his grip on power, he found it prudent to remove and reassign those he believes will weaken his chances of re-election come 2015.

The reading on the block though shows the sacked officials are filthy rich and therefore no need to continue getting salaries. With no Government official prosecuted of corruption since 2005 despite compelling evidence to that effect, south Sudanese should forget the rule of law with Salva Kiir at the helm of the government.

Actually, all that the regime in Khartoum is doing is being copied by the authorities in Juba except sharia law which would negatively impact on their business empires.

Since 2005, there is hardly any infrastructural development seen in south Sudan, few attempts were made with no or little regards to contract policies which eventually ended with nothing or shoddy work at best.

Awards of contracts were largely influenced by Salva Kiir’s cronies or cohorts.

The disagreements between Salva Kiir and Riek Machar should be seen as a positive step towards the rule of law because at least a credible opposition is in the making.

The other parties are just brief case parties that have no biting teeth and are not even known to a wider section of the public. The SPLM/DC could have provided a challenge but its inception in Khartoum left many south Sudanese in limbo as to what it really stands for!

Khartoum is well known for its stand towards south Sudanese since time memorial. Lam Akol, however still commands respect from his people and the SPLM/DC is going to continue eating big from the Chollo kingdom whatever the circumstances.

Salva Kiir and cohorts have long thought that by appointing Wani Igga as the vice president, this will give them an edge or a pass permit to the presidency come 2015. It’s like Salva Kiir has not learnt lessons from the previous elections.

The cases of Governor Bakasoro Bangasi and Ladu Gore should have made Pres. Salva think twice of his choice. Equatorians are interested in services delivery, the rule of law and not the cult of worshipping leaders.

Despite the perpetual corruption, insecurity and the lack of respect for the rule of law, Wani constantly refers to Kiir as an able leader, ‘his wise leadership,’ all the praises etc…

The previous elections were characterized by intimidations and rigging but this time round, things are going to be different if Riek Machar goes through becoming the chairperson of the SPLM party or if he decides to stand as an independent.

The Naath (Nuer) and all citizens of goodwill are all over in the security apparatus. Any attempts to rig and intimidate people during the coming election will be met with stiff resistance and therefore Salva Kiir needs to play his cards wisely or else he risks setting the whole country ablaze.

A recent survey conducted to know the popularity of the SPLM showed the party support seriously dwindling under Salva Kirr leadership. Unless Riek takes over the leadership, the SPLM party is just going to sink.

All what the SPLM party is now known for all over the country is corruption. It has become a common say to an extent that even the uneducated have of late known the meaning.

The chances of Salva Kiir winning the next presidential elections is just slim because the whole of Equatoria, if I am not mistaken, will vote for Riek Machar except eastern Kapoeta which is a strong hold of Eastern Equatoria Governor, Louis Lobong Lo-jore, who seems to be in bed with Kiir, and of course that’s just a minority which has little impact on the overall result.

Equatorians have been tolerant all these years because they believe one day a credible opposition will emerge and challenge Salva Kiir. The only person at the moment that Equatorians and other south Sudanese of goodwill can count on is Riek Machar.

The Greater Bor Dinka may still have memories of the 1991 SPLM/A split but they have no option other than to reconcile and forget the past because the atrocities were committed by junior officers who decided on their own to take matters into their own hands.

Machar, however, apologized to Bor elites on the incident. It’s a positive move that should be emulated by all because cases of murder in cold blood were rampart during the liberation struggle. More information will likely come out when Salva Kiir is out of power.

Up to date, the government is silent on the case of Isaiah Abraham who was killed in cold blood and many more cases that go unnoticed.

The killing of peaceful protesters early this year in Wau has landed Riek Machar another clean passage to the top seat from Western Bahr el ghazel State.

The removal of Chol Tong as governor of Lakes state has also divided the population in the state, Riek Machar can capitalize on it. The people of Northern Bar el ghazal are well informed and are therefore unlikely to vote along ethnic lines.

The Naath (Nuer) will of course not abandon their own son. Salva Kiir should expect minimal support from the Upper Nile region.

With opportunities hard to come by, Salva Kiir may attempt the undemocratic path and that would be unfortunate for a country that is beginning to smell peace.

Despite the fact that 80% of the people are uneducated, the few who are educated are disgruntled, always roaming the streets and the ministries searching for jobs.

As many youths become jobless by the day, they begin to explore criminal ways of earning a living which in most cases lands them in prison, the youths who constitute about 73 % of the population are not going to sit by and watch as Salva Kiir messes up the country.

Time will come for us to show our displeasure by peacefully voting him out if he decides to run for the presidency which looks likely the way things are moving in the country.

Riek Machar is a darling of the people at the moment because he and Dr. Nyamlel were able to tell the president at the face that the way he is running the country isn’t right. They faced the wrath and were dismissed from government.

They just have to make their case clear to the people and the rest follows!

Like many developing countries, many south Sudanese live in the country sides with little or no access to information. Machar should begin penetrating the country sides now using agents from their own communities. The earlier the better considering difficulties associated with logistics in a short time.

Somebody may ask, are the Equatorians not interested in the presidency? Equatorians are interested but it’s like they want a soft landing. They believe Machar can provide a soft ground by helping out with a good constitution that embodies all.

The promise of a federal system of governance by Riek Machar is what Equatorians have been yearning for for a very long time. That at last, they can make decisions independently and be respected.

A lot has been said about the current regime but it seems everything is falling on deaf ears or simply those in authority don’t care.

Some of the issues that all of us should know or be mindful of, are the ways about of the 4 billion US dollars swindled under Salva Kiir’s watch, the 3 billion US dollars ‘dura’ saga that remains unaccounted for up to now, the murder in cold blood of Isaiah Abraham and many more that go unnoticed.

Will there be an investigation and possible return of all these monies? Surely, if Machar can’t provide answers to the above, then he is likely going to spoil his ambition of becoming the president. Alternatively, he may just become a one term president. END

15 Comments

  1. Aloe says:

    Good article for Machar to consider for his campaign strategy, but God help the country if he rises to the Presidency. He has no depth and mistakes sloganeering and smiling for a photo-op with hard, messy work.

    What’s most disturbing about Machar is his ability to distort and revise facts. He is happy to revise information about the insider-theft of billions of dollars even when the facts on the ground (NO DEVELOPMENT) reveal it to be true and he doesn’t settle for small revisions, he goes big. A very dangerous man. He’ll sell the country to the kawajaas and sheikhs faster than you can say ‘click!’

    I’m not impressed with what he did while VP, particularly his management of July 9 contracts and other dubious deals that were in his portfolio such as land sales in central Juba which he improperly fudged with the CES Governor.

    Machar is also an abuser of power. Given that our people believe a paper degree and appearances are better than wisdom and substance, Machar just may be a shoe-in after the hopelessly confused Kiir and his burlesque sidekick Wani. God help us either way!

    When you have very little to choose from, master-revisionists are likely to replace lack-of-visionists. God help South Sudan.

  2. bolabokdit says:

    Mr. Yengi. J
    I think people are reluctant to comment on this type of article. I agree with you only in one thing. Kiir was soft to his officials, that is the reason they exploit the country’s resources to their own benefit. Kiir’s supposed to sentence these officials to prison after he dissolved the cabinet. There are un-necessary point in your article.
    don’t disqualify Equatorians as they are only supporters and not capable of leading. Equatorian are not waiting for someone to challenge Kiir, they are competing that is the reason Wani is vice president and he will be future president of our country sooner or later.
    Also you mention Dr. Riak disagreement with Kiir is a positive step. Dr. didn’t disagree with kiir alone he disgree with Dr. John Garang and his vision took him to Khartoum.
    The best way you can advised Riak is to stick to SSIM party he had created if he wants to challenge Kiir.

  3. John Khot says:

    This author is naive and confused to say the least. While expecting Nuers to rally behind Riek Machar because of being their son, he is expecting the greater Dinka community to abandon their son Kiir Mayardit. What a wishful thinking!!!.

    For your information Mr. Naive and confused author, the greater Dinka in Bhar el ghazal and upper regions will rally behind Kiir Mayardit like they did to Dr. John Garang when Riek stabbed his leadership in the back in the 1990s.

    Most of Equatorian will rally behind Kiir’s SPLM because their great and brave sons/daughters like James Wani, Obuto Mamur, Louis Lobong, Peter Bashir Bandi, Anne Itto and Jema Nunu will never support a traitor who nearly crushed the dreams and hopes of our people to be free in their land. All these leaders are very influential in their respective communities and surely deliver the votes of greater Equatoria to the SPLM.

    Their is no way Riek Machar will win the SPLM chairmanship and will hence form his own political party, maybe he called it SSIM again. It will be predominantly backed by most of the Nuer community just like Nasir faction. 98% of Dinka community will shy away from Riek party since he made himself an enemy to them. You can not try to exterminate the largest ethnic group in any country on this earth and expect or aspire to lead that country again.
    Riek forces in the 1990s rounded up every Dinka that was stationed in Nuerland and executed them including jesh el mer that fled Ethiopia following the fall of Mengistu. Those who think that only Dinka Bor hate Riek Machar are ill informed about the standing of this traitor in the greater Dinka community. Just hold your breaths as 2015 election isn’t far away.

    • Gatchuonyang says:

      John khot, do you think that when some one is holding a constitutional post under kiir’s leadership it means he or she can vote for Kiir in upcoming election? Let me tell you the truth and take it from me, Obutu Mamur, Louis Lobong, Peter Bashir Bandi are not fools and sycophants who can worship a leader who has nothing in mind, they are leaders of tomorrow, there is no way that they can vote for deserted, unwanted and hopeless Kiir who has nothing to deliver to the people of south sudan.
      I agree with the author in some points but I disagree with him in one point Naath (Nuer) will not vote for Riek because he is their son but it will be because they see the capability in him as you mention Equatorians, and Nuers are interested in services delivery, the rule of law not the cult of worshipping leaders and we trust on Machar as you said he can also provide soft ground by helping out for a good constitution that embodies all. Even some Dinkas who are not after their belly need services delivery.
      Let me go back to my bro. John khot, dinkas are not the majority than Nuers and if most of the Equatorians, all Nuers, Shuluks, Anyuaks, Murle to mention a few, can vote for Dr. Machar there is no way visionless Kiir can win the election unless we are not sane human beings. Take this fact with you, the most unwanted politician by many tribes in south sudan is president Kiir.

  4. Raan Naath says:

    Yengi,

    Very intellectually rich article with a well thought out analysis. Dr. Machar is currently the person hoped for to help turn things around in the right direction. He nationalistically and patriotically sacrificed his position by making his points very clear. Kiir may dare to continue abusing power and violating the constitution, but the good news is that he has recently fallen out with the SPLA chief of staff, Gen. James Hoth Mai. Kiir tried to infiltrate the army by giving them ill-intentioned commands to carry out human right abuses, but Gen. Hoth has refused. He apparently warned Kiir to stick to political games and not involve the army or else the army will consider him as the trouble-maker….

  5. Mawang Makuei says:

    What a good piece of a partial article. You’re very much indicative that South Sudan’s path to democracy/transformation is Machar and vice versa. Please examine your article and you will be able to see that.
    South Sudanese leaders (Kiir and Machar included among others) are clearly soiled with corruption, nepotism, tribalism and the likes.
    Therefore, I have a quick question for you, how can Machar adjust a whole system made non-effective by himself, president kiir and many other South Sudanese leaders when he becomes Mr. President?
    President Kiir has been busy working hard to fire and re-appoint since he reshuffled the cabinet a month or so ago. Another question for you, What’s Machar doing since he was removed from VP position? I expected him to have been busy preparing to establish and/or register a formidable opposition party that’s representative of South Sudanese with clear objectives for transformation comes 2015 general elections.

    Unfortunately, Machar has been comfortable sitting in SSLA (just like many other law makers) and wondering when the next SPLM national convention will take place for him to try to wrestle the position of SPLM chairman from President Kiir (the current Chairman and C-in-C of our armed forces).
    Rest assured that he (Machar) will be surprised that when the said convention does take place, he is sure to be relegated to a distant 3rd as is the current SPLM hierarchy (i.e Kiir, Wani,..).
    Someone should convince me how Machar is going to come 2nd in the hierarchy as was the case before he was removed from VP position and now replaced with Wani Igga (i.e the man in 2nd position). Challenging one’s party chairperson to become the next party chairman when one is a distance 3rd is a more tougher task than when one is immediate 2nd (of which Machar doesn’t seem to be as of now!).
    In my own opinion, Machar is just but someone who just play his politics without calculating likely outcomes and resulting consequences- and the sooner he learns that the better. Otherwise, I’m convinced that he will lose out again just as he lost out in 1991.
    Once bitten twice shy! And 2015 is and will be different from 1991 and there is no Khartoum for Machar to run to, otherwise he will continue to carry the tag of a traitor.

    I’m neither a supporter of Kiir nor Machar but a supporter of South Sudan for democracy, Equality, Justice and Prosperity.

  6. Dr JAC Ramba says:

    Dear compatriots

    Why waste time on a party that is long done for. In any organisation when things degenerate to the level that all the top three – Chairman – Deputy Chairman and the Secretary General are each in separate and antagonistic camps, lie assured that the organisation is heading towards the grave.

    Think of it, and how you are going to reconcile the three, before getting into some weird arguments of the public forum.

  7. Jijury says:

    For Salva Kiir and his likes to see Dr. Riek winning; they will rather commit suicide or rig the election.

  8. Richard. says:

    My Fellow Southerners,
    this issue of postponing the 2015 elections due to shortage of funds to run the election as it has been mentioned on Sudantribune.com is nothing but premeditated plan to prolong Kiir and his YES men in leadership. All the SPLM members knows very well that their party is going down the drain and therefore are their leaders.
    Another perception is that, Kiir knows the citizens of South Sudan are displeased with his leadership and are likely to opt for a different form of government that is more of what Dr. Riak Machar is suggesting (Federal System of Government) quite an attractive form of government to all the sons and daughters of EQUATORIA. By delaying elections by means of excuse such as funding, does not buy very well into this. Kiir cannot continue to intimidate the people of South Sudan by imposing himself into the leadership. When a leader continues to impose himself into power, people may continue to say let’s resolve our differences peacefully, but one day, the volcano will erupt.
    Personally, if this election is delayed, all south Sudanese should welcome any popular uprising against this dictatorship. After all, what do we have that our people are contented about?
    People are starving, sick, lack of development, no education and so on. So what is there to be peaceful about? Only those who are filthy rich in south Sudan will peaceful means of resolving our issues. But the hungry will continue to create instability in the country. Remember, ” A hungry man is an angry man”. This Kiir who is being praised by some of you is going down one day. A dictator cannot be tolerated in South Sudan. We came out of that pain from the Arabs and we shouldn’t repeat what they did to us.
    Think wisely.

  9. Yengi J Tomijo says:

    Country men,
    Thanks for your comments; everybody in this universe is entitled to his or her own take on matters that directly or indirectly affects him or her. Contributing to a public forum is not only for the wise and the highly learnt but also for the idiots with little education. I have come to appreciate of late that building a coalition is the best way to defeating an enemy be it through the ballot or use of force.

    While I recognize the presence of other political parties, I feel they have not really done anything other than looking for ministerial positions in government for personal gains. Anybody venturing into politics must be ready to take risks, unfortunately many of our opposition leaders are busy writing articles in the comfort of foreign lands. I may not be a smart contributor but I believe my input is worth taking a look!!

    Like it or not, politics in south Sudan to some extent is dictated by those holding guns and their affiliations. The splm may be headed for the abyss but can be rescued when somebody with good intentions steps in and takes the mantle. The people with good intentions are not usually consulted when the president makes decisions and are outnumbered when it comes to the cabinet voting. You may recall that the former minister of public service madam Awut resigned when her proposal to cross check academic papers was rejected by the cabinet, The former vice president Machar tried to sneak in a different more friendly version of the transitional constitution but was let down by none other than his boss who gave himself sweeping powers to do whatever he wanted without any sort of opposition. Labelling Machar as being part of the failed system is not really a fair take because he tried his best to influence proceedings but to our surprise he was axed to allow the looters a free ride.

  10. Dau-network says:

    Dr Ramba . Who is your party’s leader because party’s policies matter now to Sudanese than personal supports.

  11. Dr JAC Ramba says:

    Mr Dau-network
    Your question is funny, isn’t it? While you claim that a party’s policies matter now to Sudanese than personal support, you also want to know my party leader. Well, since your issue is tied to the Sudanese, I have nothing to do with you. My party from its name, the United South Sudan Party [USSP] has never had any business with you the people of the Sudan. I think you are looking for NCP. Sorry USSP only deals with South Sudan nationals on South Sudan Politics and thank you!

  12. Martin kueth Gai says:

    thank God For Dr machar to control the great lost btn dinka and nuer, u know that this coming 2015 you win 90%

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