BY: Laku Modi Tombe, CANADA, AUG/22/2013, SSN;
I dislike the recent undemocratic attitude made against Dr. Reik Machar when he expressed his interest to contest for South Sudan presidential election expected to take place in 2015 because such behaviour does not reflect good for a country claiming to be supportive and respectful to democratic principles.
During liberation struggle we claimed we were fighting for democracy which the Arab regimes have denied us democratic rights to run for any political office in the former Sudan for numerous social, economic, cultural, and racial reasons.
We argued that if we create our own country, we will have all democratic rights previously refused to us to enable us participate in the political affairs of our new country without restriction . Lately, we reject any form of violence and rebellion as a way to ascend to public office.
But, when South Sudan gained independence in a free and fair democratic referendum in 2010 and many of her excited citizens started to exercise their long awaited democratic rights, things turned backward either due to personal problems or democratic hypocrisy.
In this new democratic hypocrisy some politicians built weak arguments that Dr. Riek’s intention to compete for the head of state office is because he is greedy for power. Even Mr. Gordon Buay who claimed to be an advocate of democracy in South Sudan, went too far to an extreme and uttered that “Dr. Riek will not be South Sudan president as long as he is alive,“ because this man had committed sin in 1991 incident.
Just as am not in favor of what happened in 1991 incident to repeat itself again like some of you are and just as I don‘t support some of Dr. Riek’s past and present political blunders, as a peace lover and advocate of democracy on the planet, I don’t have authority or right to deny him his democratic right because such action is contrary to the vision of South Sudan which we successfully achieved the hard way.
Most people are aware of what occurred in 1991 and know all the parties who took part in the event. If some of you want to use 1991 incident as one of the requirement for the qualification for people to run in any public office, this intention should be included in either South Sudan Constitution or South Sudan Electoral Commission Act for every contestants to know.
The fact that Dr. Riek was a party to 1991 horrific event, does not automatically make him guilty just as some of the SPLM/A leaders whom some of you seem to support and portray them as clean from others because up to now, there’s no final verdict from the country’s supreme court of law as to who is guilty or who’s not guilty.
But, for someone to assume the role of court using his empty head and making a judgement against someone he/she hate for personal problem, make that person not only damned but also uneducated who need to go back to school to learn to the art of investigation, tolerance, open mindedness and the rule of law.
The idea which states that because SPLM/A is the one which brought independence and that nobody should question whatever it does even if it is leading the country to chaos, however, flawed such contention is, this argument is as ridiculous as it portrays bush mentality which required to be dismantled from people’s minds because this line of thinking is not only anti-democratic establishment but also dangerous for peace, stability, development, and prosperity of the new country.
South Sudan has been in existence for billions of years before SPLM/A. Even if SPLM/A brought independence, it doesn’t mean it has to have free rid to do dubious things without accountability for South Sudanese citizens who are not all SPLM/A members.
If you think Dr. Riek is unfit to lead South Sudan, the best thing you can do is to challenge him democratically in a ballot box through the power of country’s supreme electorates who have the final say on who they would love to be their president but not by means of dubious utterance of unfounded claims crafted on personal grudges which has nothing to do with national matters.
Gone are the days when the jungle rule was unquestionable. Gone are the eras when people are intimidated, tortured, rapped, looted just because some of them came from government controlled areas and were viewed as jalaba as if all rebels, including their leaders were born in the bush and not the same government towns which they first got their military training careers in, before the revolution.
This time is a moment of reasoning and whoever cannot cope up with the new realities must keep his/her bush mentality to his/her empty head.
If you or your “beloved president” as some of you do describe him are angels and are confident individuals who you turned South Sudan into paradise in the last eight years, why can you wait your opponents and defeat him/her in a ballot box democratically since you have plenty of positive evidence that attract for you voters?
Only fools who lack understanding of the fundamental challenges facing the country and who don’t have persuasive skills to present their case to electorates are the ones to be afraid of his/her contenders, whether he is Dr. Riek Machar or Dr. Lam Akol or anyone else interested to contest for public office democratically.
Instead of wasting your time discriminating on who is perfect or who’s not good especially when evidence in the country show that almost 80% of things to do with the leadership of the country are rotten to the core, tell us what your favorite candidate or yourself can do better in a country which’s burning and bleeding everyday in a broad daylight.
If robbery, corruption, insecurity, hunger, diseases, illiteracy, poverty which have been part of the lives of majority poor in South Sudan is your achievement you’re proud about, don’t think the rest like these failures.
Democracy might not be perfect in the world newest nation. But I don’t expect it to be that extreme to an extent of depriving a fellow countryman like the apartheid regime which used to restrict blacks from voting or seeking political office in South Africa.
Don’t think this article is defending Dr. Riek. All that am concerned with is that in a democracy unless there’s limitation on country’s constitution or electoral commission clearly spelling out the requirements for eligibility to vote and be voted to public office, every eligible voter and office seeker has democratic right to cast ballot or be voted to any government office whether we like him/her or hate him/her.
But if you think you’re comfortable with your “beloved president” who you think is the only one who fought for this new country than most of us who are citizens of this country and want him to be in power for life as if this country is your “beloved president’s” kingdom, then put this information in your father’s kingdom’s constitution and stop talking about democracy since kingdoms are not administered by democrats.
Last but not least, all these arrogant, ignorant, and backward approaches which some individuals tend to take the law into their hands and not shameful of their behaviors of assuming the role of who should vote or be voted in public office without any consideration of state constitution or South Sudan Electoral Commission Act if there’s any, is a very bad attribute that can push this new country to hell which you and your “beloved president” will not benefit from it either in the end.