BY: Morris Kuol Yoll, ALBERTA, Canada, FEB/16/2014, SSN;
Current divisions within the SPLM party revealed counter-accusations of its leaders, accusing one another of having abandoned the SPLM vision. Anti-Garang or the NCP elements within their ranks, attest as to views that might not have been adequately addressed or direction the SPLM leadership failed to have taken after Dr. John Garang de Mabior’s passing.
Else what are these fingers pointing all about? The bewilderment has made many speculate either the SPLM leaders are lost in their ideas or still haven’t settled with the fact that South Sudan is an independent country.
The divide in the leadership’s stand, in this regard, was clearly perceived when the SPLM chairman, General Salva Kiir, after having given blue light to Yasir Arman to contest as the SPLM candidate against Omar Hassin el Bashir in Presidential elections, ordered Arman to withdraw from the contest.
This particular episode insinuates the fact that there were [are] some SPLM leaders that opposed committing to the unity of the Sudan and those who curved to pursuing Dr. John’s mission to its conclusive end.
Clearly, the SPLM might have had internal struggle, uncertain whether to follow unity or separation. This says that South Sudanese owe success of Southern Sudan referendum voting for separation to the youth and civil society leaders of South Sudan at the time the leadership failed to give direction.
Eventually, it had occurred that Southern Sudan has separated from the Sudan contrary to the New Sudan ideology when some of the leaders view separation as a deviation from Garang’s New Sudan vision; a clear divide. This may be one of reasons some leaders of the SPLM still point figures to some of their colleagues in the leadership and accusing them of having diverted from the New Sudan ideology.
This dilemma is one of issues that still haunt Garang followers. The idea as to what the leadership of the SPLM will do to the rest of its proclaimed marginalized areas in the resolution of 1994, should Southern Sudan secede, was not conclusively settled when Dr. John was alive and neither answered before the SPLM led people of southern Sudan to the referendum.
This might have left some of the New Sudan advocates in kind of culpability or not the least feeling guilty of having betrayed Nuba Mountain, Blue Nile, and the rest of marginalized areas that struggled under the New Sudan’s banner.
Apparently, Southern Sudan independence has forsaken freedom of people who fought alongside South Sudanese for more than twenty years in search of liberty.
One could strongly argue that unity of the Sudan, which was a focus of the SPLM vision immediately stopped after southern Sudan successfully voted for separation in the referendum.
But it appears some of the SPLM leaders failed to make a paradigm shift in their thinking to translate the SPLM vision into a vision that addresses South Sudanese grievances after southern Sudan separated from the Sudan.
This is a distinction the SPLM leaders, wrapped up in the New Sudan vision, need to comprehend.
South Sudan has its maladies that need the SPLM deployment of their wonderful vision to treat instead of hoping to achieve, an ideology that is at this juncture, after independence of South Sudan, rendered illusive and delusional.
South Sudan is underdeveloped, a reason in first place, that gave birth to the New Sudan ideology. South Sudanese are impoverished with roof rocketing illiteracy. South Sudan has its “historical and contemporary diversities” like “the Old Sudan.”
With 63 tribes, Christians, Muslims and animists, South Sudan is multicultural and multi-religious country.
Not the least, corruption, tribalism and hegemony of bigger tribes like Dinka, Nuer, and Bari could possibly jeopardize liberty all South Sudanese fought for.
Hypothetically, this says, even if some of the SPLM leaders open South Sudan up to a possibility of reuniting two Sudans through confederation, then South Sudanese have to work hard first in federating their country to sell an attractive system to the rest of the Sudan that may have interest in joining unity with democratic South Sudan.
Else no one would buy into joining a tribalistic and backward state like ours.
It is imperative to do some thinking and questionings here as reflection on issues that seem to divide us or still haunt the SPLM party in particular.
The liberation of South Sudan started as separation of southern Sudan region. In other words, the liberation of the whole Sudan was later imposed on Southern Sudanese by imposition of the New Sudan ideology.
The quest for Southern Sudan separation was hijacked by our hero, Dr. John Garang deMabior himself to institute his NEW SUDAN ideology.
It should be known, here, that Dr. John did not peacefully convince southern Sudanese at the time to buy into his New Sudan vision, rather than using combination of his iron fist, persuasion, knowledge and personal charisma to enforce it.
Indeed, Dr. John later claimed having “fired” his first bullets on separatists! He urged separatists to fight alongside with him and to immediately stop when they feel that they have liberated what they think is Southern Sudan.
By that time, he promised that he, Dr. John and those who will follow him to liberate the rest of the Sudan, would gladly proceed onward, leaving contented Southern Sudanese with their liberated territory alone.
Dr. John died still advocating as to how his “New Sudan” ideology could make the whole Sudan better and stable.
Indubitably, separatists and Southerner Sudanese who inclined to separation were eliminated, hunted and silenced until referendum vote, when their voices were heard through ballet box, freed and vindicated them.
Hence, vote for separation of South Sudan was a resounding victory to silenced and prosecuted voice of separation of Southern Sudan during liberation struggle.
Here, one could question whether voting for an independent South Sudan was a deviation from New Sudan ideology? And if it was a deviation from the SPLM vision, then was it wrong? And if it was wrong, then who is to blame?
The disciples who failed to advocate unity after their boss died or the people who for long time endured subjugation and as such wanted to settle for separation as their liberty?
Besides, was it right for people of South Sudan to deviate from the “vision” that was geared toward unity of the Sudan by voting for separation?
I am asking these questions because I still don’t understand a claim that there is a group within the same SPLM that is anti-Garang’s ideology who has abandoned the SPLM vision alleged by Dr. Riek Machar’s group and loudly echoed by Dr. John’s family.
It is inconceivable for the SPLM leaders accusing themselves of being anti-Garang when in fact all Garang’s disciples were the ones running government prior to Dr. Garang’s death.
Perceptibly, they were in the government, army, etc. to carry out Dr. Garang’s legacy. But what did they do to show for it?
Arguably, the referendum vote brought separatists quest to an end. It is a journey of the UNIONISTS, as promised by Dr. John, which should continue!
One can say with no doubt that voting for separation was a deviation from the New Sudan Ideology and a right thing to do knowing that it would have been a political suicide committing southern Sudan to unity of the Sudan.
Despite difficulties we are facing as South Sudanese, the goodness of having separated South Sudan from the Sudan unity can be judged by how rapidly our people have changed for the best in the last eight (8) years of our independence.
We are not politically or economically stable but we are million times better than when we were in the unity of the Sudan.
If I am not mistaken, then I believe advocates of the “New Sudan vision,” at this movement, voted for separation of southern Sudan to be an independent country. I stand to be corrected here by disciples of the “New Sudan” ideology.
If my postulation is practical, then the adherents of the “New Sudan ideology” have to clarify whether they are not to be blamed for deviation in the New Sudan Ideology.
On one hand, if their intent was to see the Sudan united, then who stopped them when they were all ministers in decision making to pursue unity of the Sudan?
And if it is not the unity of the Sudan that is their bone of contention, but a failure to translate the SPLM vision to address South Sudan nation building, how the country should be governed, address lack development, tribalism, bad governance, insecurity in the country, democratization of the party or the country, etc.; then who or what stopped them from applying the SPLM vision to correct these grievances?
The SPLM leaders got answers to all these questions. They should let the public know, clearly, as to what is the nature of their disagreement instead of feeding public with war and confusion by opposing and grouping within one ruling party, the SPLM party.
A revolutionary conscious and responsible SPLM political party should first know what it is composed of and make efforts to accommodate and reconcile its differences, and above all value different views within its rank for its success and progress.
Since inception of the SPLM/A, South Sudanese knew that there were separatists and unionists under the New Sudan umbrella. Prior to the second civil war in the Sudan, Southern Sudan had at least two prominent political parties and perhaps dormant communists.
Politically, southern Sudan was balanced and happy ideologically. But in 1983, Dr. John managed to exterminate parallel political thoughts of Southern Sudan by grouping them inside closet of his “New Sudan ideology.”
The happy politicians were communists because Dr. John embraced Marxist’s ideology, which he later divorced when communism collapsed in 90s.
With resilience, Southern Sudanese embraced Dr. John’s vision and gave him a platform to promote his ideology unreservedly.
Therefore, during liberation struggle, the SPLM became a monolithic voice of liberation of Southern Sudan representing both separation of Southern Sudan and unity of the Sudan.
And as of recent, it is clear also that there are Garang’s boys, Salva boys, Riek’s group, etc.
It is safe to conclude that the SPLM party is a graveyard or heaven or hell for all souls of dead South Sudan political parties and ideas or a Pandora box where ills of all dead parties and ideas are stored.
As of today, South Sudan is literally a one party state because the SPLM vision has forcefully swallowed every party in the country. A party with such colossal political appetite to gorge itself with every political opposition, regardless of political garbage they represent, can have internal political upset in a democratic setting which the country is longing to achieve.
The conflict and bickering we are now seeing in the country is a resultant internal upset in the SPLM.
It is time the SPLM loosen its hold on politics in the country so that those political souls trapped inside the SPLM party air their thoughts or form their own political parties to represent their political aspirations and thoughts.
This is a time to call things: policies, objectives, mission and goals set to run the country with their real names, without ambiguity.
South Sudanese have achieved their goal and have suffered long enough to deserve this senseless war created by leaders of the SPLM power greed, hatred and reprisal.
They have attained their hard earned independence with 2.5 million dead, lost of limbs and not to mention impossible to quantify lost of properties and indignities.
It is time for the SPLM leaders to make a paradigm shift in their unity of the Sudan or power struggle thinking to translate the SPLM vision, mission and goals into concrete actions to address suffering and destitution due to poverty in the country, lack of development, lack of education, insecurity, and bad governance in the country.
For thirty years, South Sudanese have accorded the SPLM their submission, loyalty, and their blood to promote the SPLM vision. It is time for the SPLM leaders to reciprocate with goodness not with war or corruption, confusion, and hatred.
Morris Kuol Yoll is a concerned South Sudan Canadian citizen residing in Alberta Canada. He could be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.