Good governance is South Sudan’s solution, not ethnic hate, not guns!
By Suzanne Jambo
(4th Nov 2021) Whenever I see our people bitterly divided along ethnic or regional lines, it hurts me deepest. Our communities are not the problem, they’re not in any political leadership and are as equally victims of bad leadership. Lets not victimize any of our communities. Let’s stop complicating our nationhood for our 64 communities have co-existed peacefully and beautifully since time immemorial.
Our problem has been the SPLM/A—-the only and main system of governance we’ve ever inherited by 2005.
Realistically, the beginning of any public service entity maybe either “too perfect” (very rarely), or filled with a lot of mistakes. Some choose to make amends, learn lessons, it is always best to overcome weaknesses and ensure public acknowledgement, their participation and, obviously continuous collective amendments.
For instance, the SPLM/A began as a socialist-communist based movement and primarily on military basis. Gradually it made attempts to shif toward broadening, inclusivity and proclamation of a new Vision and strategies.
– The SPLM/A shifted toward a civilian movement (CANS and the New Sudan Vision proclamation in Chuckudum Convention 1994, the SPLM Civil Society conference 1996, the SPLM Faiths based organizations dialogue 1997, the SPLM Women’s Conference 1998 and the SPLM Judiciary and Martial laws Reviews Conference 1999. Equally, by 2004 the SPLM mandated a group of civil society actors to draft and formulate the 2005 first constitution of the CPA interim period. (NOTE: The author of this brief piece was an organizer in the 1998 Women’s Conference, the 1999 Law Reviews conference and the 2004 CS CPA interim period Constitution drafting).
– The SPLM proactively became inclusive in it’s leadership membership base by proactively becoming inclusive in 1997 by including senior cadres and fast tracked from Equatoria, for example the late 1st CPA Equatoria Governor Samuel Abu John, Dr. Samson Kwaje, Kosti Manibe, Prof. George Bureng, the late Mama Keziah Layinwa etc were coopted into senior ranks. And later on myself, Suzanne Jambo in 1998, followed by those of Dr. Anne Ito and Jemma Nunu in 2000 onwards and more afterwards.
– The SPLM broadened it’s struggle by adopting other MARGINALIZED SUDANESE STRUGGLE: by reaching out to the Nuba Mountains, South Blue Nile, the Beja and Darfurians hence leaders as late Yusuf Kuwa Makki and Malik Agar inclusivity into senior posts and in charge of their own regions respectively as governors.
– Strategies to weaken the Quasi Arab elites aka the Jellaba through the inclusion of senior Northern intellectuals as the late Dr. Mansour Khalid and others.
– By building alliances with Northern Sudanese opposition from the Beja, northern opposition political parties in the 1997 Asmara Declaration thereby weakening the Khartoum elitist Quasi Arab divisive government. Sudan to-date is never the same! The struggle continues there for all marginalized Sudanese.
So, WEAKNESSES of the SPLM/A were never tribal per se, rather it is GOVERNANCE issues. History and proper documentation shall confirm this. The SPLM/A as an institution has had several faults around governance as:
1. Lack of internal democracy
2. Lack of accountability and answerability of any misconduct including public thievery, killings especially those committed by senior cadres—-this created both the attitude “I’m entitled to govern, loot, kill…” and the culture of impunity generally,
3. Favoritism: even among its senior cadres, the leadership favored certain cadres over other similar ranks cadres: this created internal contempt, revenge intentions and internal scheming.
4. A general lack of clear grooming and new tiers leadership grooming: this made us stuck with “seniority” phenomena in SPLM/A to-date!
5. Lack of civilian and constitutional rule: the SPLM/A though adopted CANS (Civil Authority of New Sudan and the New Sudan Vision which basically guarantees freedoms, liberty and equality safeguarded by the law) in Chukudum in 1994, the SPLM/A has not, to-date practiced in reality the shift from militarism to civilian rule, rule of law and constitutionalism. This is why today most opposition grossly are mistaken to fall for the trap of “armed rebellion is the only way to defeat corrupt killer government of President Kiir and his FVP Dr. Riek Machar et el.” It is an huge miscalculation costing more bloodshed to our people and entrenching Kiir’s power—-whatever guns any armed group has, Kiir has ten times more!
So, we in South Sudan in 2005 inherited the above 5 governance weaknesses of SPLM/A which what we’re stuck with. We must address these as follows:
A). SPLM/A leadership have the obligation to reform their party, or it shall simply disappear into thin air, however, history will always record for SPLM/A it’s historical successes. It will not be forgotten.
B). Any new political parties and movements must be very clear to address the above 5 factors which shall ensure good governance in the nascent South Sudan nation, NOTHING SHORT OF ADDRESSING THESE WILL RESCUE AND BUILD OUR YOUNG NATION. No short cut to good governance!
Chair and Founder Steps, 2017