BY: Sabrino Majok Majok, Aweil, South Sudan, AUG/03/2013, SSN;
Now that President Salva Kiir has appointed the new cabinet which, in my opinion, is in line with current austerity situation, I would like to concentrate the gist of this article on issues pertaining to the ruling party, the SPLM. Before the Third National Convention is held, SPLM should focus on two main issues: 1- passing of basic documents and, 2- carrying out accurate registration of SPLM membership throughout the Republic of South Sudan.
When these two tasks are completed with satisfaction of all stakeholders, SPLM leadership should then design representative selection mechanism for Convention delegates, putting into consideration membership strength per State.
It has to be noted that there are many major problems that arise as a result of disregarding the above mentioned concerns. Take for example, the representation in SPLM National Secretariat, National Liberation Council and Political Bureau is disproportional if membership strength per State is to be considered.
This is why it’s imperative that SPLM leadership design new mechanism for representation which, in my humble opinion, should be based on membership strength per state as stated above.
However, registration of SPLM membership of 2013 shouldn’t be administered like the fraudulent 2010 census when historically smaller states were dominant over more populous states, hence qualifying the latter for more representation in National Legislative Assembly and Cabinet.
Therefore a misguided history must not be allowed to repeat itself when consequences of the said census are fresh in the victims’ minds, especially on distribution of national cake which is being enjoyed by a few.
If this imbalance of distribution of national wealth and power continues, those affected may feel excluded and marginalized: a sad replay of fundamental reasons why people of South Sudan took up arms in the first place against the successive regimes in Khartoum.
I want to emphasize on the importance of approval of SPLM basic documents, SPLM membership registration and holding of SPLM third National Convention.
1. Approval of Basic Documents
It’s urgent that SPLM passes its basic documents sooner than later so as to enable its existence as a legal entity in the country. It is needless to emphasis that such a historic Movement, now turned Political Party, can’t be run without legal or guiding documents which are currently in draft forms.
2. SPLM Membership Registration
In order for SPLM membership registrations and updates to be effective and creditable, many factors need to be put into consideration.
First, SPLM National and States Secretariats should conduct extensive awareness campaign across the country.
Second, adequate material and human resources need to be availed for this important exercise.
Third, the registration itself should be given enough time to execute the task fully.
If these factors are put into serious consideration, I am sure the past mistakes encountered during other important national exercises such as census can be avoided.
3. The Third National Convention
The holding of third SPLM National Convention is crucial. But SPLM leadership needs to rethink its plans and strategies in as far as forthcoming convention is concerned. From experiences of SPLM Second National Convention of 2008, I feel obliged to advice the SPLM leadership that the third SPLM National Convention should be held in historic town of Chukudum where the first and successful convention was held or in any other secured location outside Juba such as Yambio or Wau.
The reason for this advice is grounded on the fact that the conduct of the Second SPLM National Convention of 2008 in Juba resulted into unprecedented confusion. Because the convention was so diluted in such a way that majority of those who were not delegates to the convention converged on the venue and created unnecessary confusion and instigation.
Some of those uninvited “guests” acted as spokespersons for leaders or camps of their choice, hence furthering confusion days before convention commenced. In order to avoid similar problems, SPLM should choose a venue that is secure, isolated and free from unnecessary interference from non-delegates. And only creditable media houses should be allowed to cover the convention.
It’s my firm believe that if this recommendations are considered, the third SPLM National Convention will be successful and a lot of SPLM problems can be amicably resolved.
On current power struggle, there is no doubt in my mind that SPLM will prevail because it has proven records of triumphs over divisions and temptations throughout the liberation struggle.
Each time SPLM was tempted to fail as a Movement from 1983-2005, it quickly organized and prepared itself for the task at hand until Comprehensive Peace Agreement was signed in 2005 which culminated into historic independence of the Republic of South Sudan on July 9, 2011. It is therefore obvious that the SPLM will stand the test of ongoing turbulent or political wrangling.
Finally, the SPLM, being a liberation Movement turned political party of an independent nation for which people of South Sudan sacrificed enormously, should be a role model to current political parties and those aspiring to join politics.
As such, SPLM leadership should not accept to be divided over minor, sometimes administrative issues when there are established legislative and executive structures; namely, General Assembly, SPLM National Liberation Council and Political Bureau where such issues can be addressed.
In his speech marking Eighth martyrs’ Day, on July 30th, 2013, President Kiir stated: “SPLM is not about one person. It is bigger than all of us. We have a lot of people. SPLM is all of us and it is going to clean itself and those who will not be found fit in the SPLM formula should leave on their own or SPLM will throw them out. That is all because at the end of the day our people want services. They need roads; they need schools; they need hospitals; clean drinking water.”
As correctly observed by President Salva Kiir Mayardit, SPLM is bigger than sum of our individual interests. I commend comrade Salva Kiir Mayardit for exercising wisdom and patience during this rather difficult political situation in the country and for taking tangible measures to form a lean government for greater good of the people of South Sudan.
I equally appreciate comrades who were affected during the recent major cabinet reshuffle for accepting their relief with honor. After all, cabinet appointments and reshuffling are constitutional rights of the President and are normal exercise in every democratic country.
Sabrino Majok Majok is a former member of Anya–Nya II in the early eighties and joined SPLM/SPLA on May 15th, 1984. He can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org