The Hypocrisy of Democracy in South Sudan

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.


  1. Joseph Okello says:

    oh Mr. Lako, good article though. But dull will come and start defending the indefensible.

    • Wiel Madut says:

      Dr. Riek has the right of contesting for presidency like any other south sudanese citizen, and what has out raged the people when he started to publicate that was the fact that he started blaming the government for the faliure of the head of the state who’s he is his deputy in guiding the country to peace and democratic environment instead of resigning and go ahead after that in his criticism against the government, then the series of evets that followed that were really so pitty to talk about and we should regret what everyone participate negatively against either tribes (dinks and nuer) or any other tribe, as we all are south sudanese, before we categorize our selves as tribes.. May God bless south sudan…

  2. Chol Wek Chol says:

    Brother Laku,
    you have said everything just to add on to your article, all our sisters and brother are found to be food lover who have no vision and can easily be drags because of money and tribalism line of doing thing.
    Good example of what happened to Buay who claimed to be political activist and failed to see the injustice and inequity committed by the security organs in Juba in favor of the President. as a citizen of this nation, I don’t deny the President to have third term but democratic system is the only tool which can develop our country.

  3. Gatchuonyang says:

    Bravo Laku, there are some fools, uncivilized and backward people, who thinks robbery, rampant corruption, stagnant economy, deteriorating insecurity, tribalism, lost of direction and vision by president Kiir as an achievement and proud about it and they dance in joy when Kiir is making empty promises since 2005 up to date.
    If we can re-visit our history we can truly find out that the two leaders (Kiir & Riek) equally fought the war of our struggle and if you look at the case of 1991 it was ideological war rather than tribal hatred because Garang’s vision was a secular united Sudan in which Machar see it as monotonous that could only waste human resources, then Riek brought self determination which Garang adopted in 2002. Now building a nation and fighting in the bush have different strategy. This time we need Dr. Riek to develop our country.

  4. dear editor
    you have left no stone unturned, in a democratic society challenges are inevitable and are healthy but in SS things look different. our current leaders have got records of past events, if we are to trace who are clean to preside this nation none of them will make it through. tribalism have deep roots in our country that is why democratic principles are made on tribe versus tribe. which will never help our nation to nurture democracy. Riek Machar intention to run for the top office is not bad as long he can convince people. this is an unalienable right.
    our president should not be so panicky if he knows his ability and the things he has done will qualify him for the next term. he should allow those 3 aspirants to exercise their democratic rights. but the case in SS is very fragile and difficult, people are threatening others to make sure that they are completely silenced in the political scene. but things will change in the near future. let those who want to intimidate continue to do that.

  5. Gatkuoth Lok says:

    It is rational article, Gordon Buoy is invincible ignorant to South Sudanese common good; Democracy. As such, we cannot blame him. Let him go to where he belongs; likened to those in dire need of hypothetical imperative, hence; belly politician rather than representing the rights of his people South Sudanese as a man of goodwill. Being a man of goodwill, is transcendent to Mr. Buoy’s mind, seen in his argument is pre-logical in essence; therefore a tabula rasa minded fellow.

  6. Dan says:

    While some say that this article is rational, I do not see the rationality in it. The author is talking as if Riek Machar has been banned from politics when the guy has only been dismissed from his job.
    He still has a chance like any other South Sudanese who may want to try their luck come 2015. They can do that as independent candidates or as representatives of parties of their own choices.

    Gordon Buoy is being criticised here for exercising his right to freedom of expression by our supposed to be “democrats on this website when he is practising democrazy. Is this a sign of what it is going to be like if Riek gets the top job?

    One thing you blind supporters of Riek and Salva need to know is that the past record in any true political campaign is always unearthed. So put up with it or tell your men to leave South Sudanese political leadership to those who may be tolerant to criticism.

    Those of Ambago, el Hag, Wani and the likes who have invested heavily in Riek Machar’s presidency have now started panicking since the man was removed from the vice presidency position. You can tell this through their recent articles. But all is not lost yet, Riek Machar can still contest the election.

  7. Okeny Lojuron says:

    You have argued well democratically Mr. Tombe but the case of Dr. Riek is not the lack democracy but rather party constitution of the SPLM which require all members who aspire for the presidency must first go through the party selecting criteria, that is where unfortunately Riek failed miserably. As VP Riek was supposed to help the president in implementing the vision of the SPLM instead of his personal aspiration which will never serve the people of RSS. President Kiir might not have the academic qualifications but at least he kept from fighting each other on mass scale.

  8. Lare Justice says:

    Forks, the so-called Gordon Buoy Reath aka Buay Malek Chuol or should I called him madman fake Gordon Buoy is on the run my fellows south Sudanese. He’s nothing but a coward. Bravo to brother Laku Tombe. Great work!

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