South Sudan: June 2015 Election is an ill-fated Decision

By Dhor-Abun Aher,

Opinion:

Breastfeedingelection10204794975729714_6947843786191729234_nJanuary 9, 2015 (Nyamilepedia) — The recent South Sudan’s government decision to hold an election comes 30 June 2015 is an ill-fated decision. The government’s argument in the context of fulfilling stipulation in the constitution; holding election after every four years is legitimate, and not debatable. Right now, the country is in the midst of a brutal civil war that has claimed many lives, destroyed properties, disrupted way of lives, and forced many citizens out of the country. This sorry state of the affairs in the country is what leaves many people skeptical of the prospect of an election in the country.

Let me start with the obvious reason, the entire upper Nile region literally one-third of the country is a battlefield at the moment. Security for the citizens is a nightmare leave alone holding election in that region. Supposedly we put an optimistic face, there is a possibility we might have a “peaceful” election in the major cities like Malakal, Bentiu, Pibor, and Bor, but most of the citizens in the rural areas, seeking shelters in the United Nations compounds, displaced to the neighboring countries, and obviously those with the rebels will not partake in this election.

Democracy is not necessarily in holding election, it is about building credible institution of good governance. After four years, we haven’t been able to have a permanent constitution that establishes the structure of the government, separation of powers, and what kind of government is suited for the country. In addition, census exercise to prove an exact population of the country, determines the number of constituencies haven’t been done so far. Throwing in an election which is a single part of a democratic process in this unfinished business is not feasible.

Participation and legitimacy:

Election is a civil duty of the citizens of a particular country to voice their concerns in the affairs and direction of the country. This ongoing civil war inhibited the citizens to take part in this exercise as we have already seen statements from the major opposition party, the SPLM/DC objections to the election without achieving peace process in the country. The opposition parties, civil society groups, although they are not party in the government, still are stakeholders in the affairs of the country. The government needs to partner with them in steering the country out of this civil war towards peace and paves the way for national healing and reconciliation process. That’s the goal of the government at the moment while pursuing IGAD’s sponsored negotiation with the rebels.

The government can unilaterally hold election, but without an involvement of the stakeholders in the exercise, it will diminish the legitimacy of the election. Legitimacy is not in the election per se, but in the process of holding a credible election respected by the citizens and the international community. Holding an election that we will ironical forced to sell its legitimacy to neighboring countries like Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Sudan, Egypt, the African Unions, United Nations, and our friendly allies in the west will complicate our relationship. The prevailing conditions in the country will not allow them to support South Sudan in this exercise; hence many will choose not to recognize the legitimacy of the election. Furthermore, the current conflict has an element of power struggle, and only holding credible election will mitigate it.

Way forward:

We can waste all these resources, but at the end of the day, proves futile efforts. Note the government has allocated $517 million for this exercise. I know the government is under pressure to legitimize the tenure of the current government because the mandate ends in July 2015. Legitimacy of the government is very important for stability of the country, and without a doubt it is imperative upon the government to do it in a cooperative approach with other stakeholders in the country.

I believe an election is not the only way the government can get legitimacy. My suggestion is the SPLM led government can address this question through South Sudan’s parliament. The lifespan of the country government needs an extension for one year to allow breathing space for the ongoing peace negotiation between the government, and the rebels to continue. Members of the Parliament are people’s representatives, and they can use that mandate to deliberate, and mandate the government until July 2016. Choosing this path will be more convincing to the international community and citizens of the South Sudan than the election process we are about to embark on.

This is the kind of compromise the government can strikes with the political stakeholders in the country to focus political capital, and resources for the taunting task of resettling refugees, rebuilding the war-ravaged states, and many other reforms after the peaceful settlement of the current civil war in the country.

Dhor-abun Aher is a south Sudanese citizen currently living in the United States of America, and you can contact him at dhorabun@yahoo.com

9 comments

  • Election is election and will still the heads and teeth aches after that. What can we gain from election? The most important is Peace and security,who care about SPLM of Kiir and Machar. Actually who know them?

  • Election good,but they breathe like a Toad Frog.

  • Chief Defender

    Dhor-Abun, you know your words.”Democracy is not necessarily in holding election, it is about building credible institution of good governance. After four years, we haven’t been able to have a permanent constitution that establishes the structure of the government, separation of powers, and what kind of government is suited for the country.” This country needs people like you buddy(Dhor-Abun). You need to be here in South Sudan. We need to educate this liberators about democracy. It is not all about election that legitimize you and if so, then there is another way of losing it “insanity” being sound mind to be precise. Who in their right mind will entrust this country into their hands again if election becomes a leaning or defend mechanism. Better install autocracy regime because DEMOCRACY does not come by easily. You have to work for it. it is fat big shame in the sight of IC to S.S assigning 517 millions for election yet the voters are dying of hunger, are victims of your senseless war. I HAVE NEVER SEEN A GOVERNMENT LIKE THIS!!!! TO HELL RESTORING YOUR LEGITIMACY TO KILL YOUR OWN CITIZENS!

  • The price of being legitimate is too expensive yaaa stupid idiot kiir kuethpiny we know it that is ploy of which cause the for it, so that ground will be free for you,in absent mighty Nuer nation who say (ti kac)/false for you are weak,corrupted,triblist/nepotism person. now you thing no other pple can oppose you but what i know you will not the time if God strengthened as we will capture you in the name of living God.

  • Chief Defender

    I can’t imagine! Ask a child, he/she will tell you we are at war, that election in May is not possible. Now, who are those in Juba singing election? it requires just basic intelligence to know our current situation in South Sudan.No wonder why you plunged this country into this mess. The UPDF, Ugandan prostitutes, cowards, Nuer food-lovers and Bahr El Gazalan will vote. Which Democracy is this forcing things to happen? The concept of democracy is foreign in my country.You are talking of democracy as if it is invisible. Why don’t you take a glimpse of other democracies: US, KENYA, TANZANIA, GHANA. It is better fixing election than killing innocent civilians and force your competitors into exile.Why do you bother yourself conducting election when it is simple for you guys to install AUTHORITARIAN REGIME. Am tired of these two words you frequently misuse, your concept of “sovereignty” yet UPDF is getting monthly salary in Bilpam, your notion of “democracy” when you bar all freedoms and human rights. The recent security bills serve as good example. Your laws are not respect or followed because they are just but because they are enforce by crude and useless bunch of police,security and army force. One choose life than to reason with your laws. It is better safe than sorry.

  • Atem Atem Bol

    It was really sound good when politicals parties especially SPLM-DC demanded first the stability of the country,because it is baseless to hold election while there is suffering in many parts in the country,although election is important.

  • Election in june! Juba base g’vrt is just joking, how will they go to remote counties in june?…..

  • Yes we are s sudanese people nobody will separat us do you belive god with us you know that let un ourself ibelive god bring us togather amen

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