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Opinion Politics

Opinion: The Significance of the SPLM-IG National Dialogue and the SPLM-IO National Conference

The SPLM in the Government National Dialogue and the SPLM in opposition sequential conferences in Juba, are two thought provoking consecutive functions, which will go down in South Sudan historical records as the starting point of 36 months election dateline gestures.

By Lul Gatkuoth Gatluak,

First Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar meeting invited guests after the SPLM-IO National Conference(Photo credit: supplied)
First Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar meeting invited guests after the SPLM-IO National Conference(Photo credit: supplied)

Dec 8, 2020(Nyamilepedia) —  The month of November and December 2020 are recorded in the book as the months South Sudan main rivaling parties had projected the end of 36-months transitional period where national elections are going to be held. According to the terms of R-ARCSS, South Sudan will conduct national elections once above mentioned 36-months transitional period has ended. All government levels from National, States, Counties, Payams and Bumas will be opened for general contests. These two months conferences appeared to be an initial declaration process. The National dialogue conference conducted by the SPLM party of Salva Kiir focus on identifying the way forward for the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS). Recommendations covered a host of topics ranging from the economic, safety, security, governance; and social cohesion. The dialogue provided a platform for a frank and earnest exchange among the participants from all walks of life. Reflecting the gravity of the occasion, President Salva Kiir Mayardit addressed the conference on the final day along with the members of the diplomatic corps in Juba. The ton of the national dialogue had recognized the momentum gained in the dialogue will continue. Participants had also echoed the call for progress especially the implementation of the R-ARCSS.

Likewise, SPLM in opposition has called for full implementation of R-ARCSS. The opposition asserted, it remain steadfast and committed to the implementation of the Agreement in letter and spirit, and expect other peace partners to have the same spirit. As a political analyst, one has seen these two conferences as the starting point of democratic election process. However, healthy democratic process in third-world countries, especially the country like South Sudan is cynical. Democratic voting system where ordinary citizens can vote in public leaders in fairly voting manner are not found and chances to see election opening is slim, given the fact that elections restricted from taking place. If by any chance election is indeed had been conducted, it has to be rigged and tribalism always aroused and block the progress.

Many countries were formed out of tribal segmentation, but, people learned how to live together.

The world of today has recognized diversity as the strength, not a weakness; and people choose federal system as the best system of governance over any form of the government.

Throughout the history of human civilizations, the will of the people has been regarded as the principal sources of legitimacy in striving for a good system of governance. It is the only manner in which the will of people is expressed and gets reflected in the form of the government. This form of governance can change from time to time and the change usually deviates from solid path which has been clearly defined.

Most of the time, the change can come according to the social and cultural variations of the society. Since the beginning of the civilization, many governments had been built on rigid hierarchies, but today, the efficiency of the pyramid model of governance is being eroded by the democratization will of the people. The influence of the traditional position of power or authority has shifted towards knowledge, expertise, and individualistic interest. The result of modern changes has encouraged a sharing of power and it influences a different kind of friendly governance, such as stakeholders, government private sectors and the civil societies.

Democracy in modern societies is the only well-structured system that helps people co-exist and thrive in their daily operations. The most distinctive aspect of democratic system is that government officials are elected by the people on the basis of universal adult franchise.

In recent decades, the world has witnessed new valiant heroes. People like Lech Walesa in Poland, Corazon Aquino in the Philippines, Raul Alfonsin in Argentina, Nelson Mandela in South Africa, Benazir Bhutton in Pakistan and Aung San Suu Kyi in Burma/Myanmar, just to name only a few of men and women who have shown the world a fortitude of spirit and a passion for freedom. These people and many others have endured great discomfort and overcome enormous obstacles to institute democratic movements in their countries.

Today in every region of the world, there is a clamor for change and an insistence on liberal reforms. Many nations arouse to proclaim their rights before obdurate dictators. This means, there is social and political forces that can break most repressive and punitive governments. Very often, the first forces that demand change are ambitious youth groups who advocate for reform but are ignored by leaders whose intention is to persist in efforts to preserve their positions. As a result, a reaction that can cripple the government usually surfaces.

Ironically, the smartest way to quell these groups is to grant some free elections or few civil liberties or human rights. Leaders who offer these changes find themselves faced with a growing confident from their constituencies. People all over the world no longer live in ignorance or isolation from developed countries; media brought them in contact with world’s powerful nations who can help them succeed in their strive for a true meaningful democracy. How can some citizens accept injustices when they see others free from misrules? Whenever vivid events occur, such as Tunisia, Egypt and Libya uprisings, the entire world can see instantly the spirit of freedom through the media. People of the world can also see and know that Western Europe, the United States, Japan, Canada, and other strong democratic nations are wealthier and manufacture many consumer goods and maintain strong economies. These plentiful goods and the high standard of living in such democracies are reminders to poorer or less free societies like South Sudan, that free democratic governments encourage free markets. Therefore, we have a strong desire to create a durable democratic society which could emulate the path of the above-mentioned nations.

Ultimately, the desire to be free and have a good structured democratic system require courageous efforts of women and men who take it upon themselves to ensure democracy will take hold in their nation. Undeniably, it is a known fact that, leaving the old structure and creating a new one with vitality is not an easy task for a nation whose majority of its leaders is inexperienced. A young nation like us that is full with domestic political crisis could not promote autocrat who may be potentially worse than the abandoned North Sudan dictators. Supporting those who will bring us democracy is wiser than solidifying the power of those who will degenerate us into anarchy or authoritarian state. Those of us who have seen the free world of democracy in the west, freedom and justice for all is the only guidance principle. We have seen the true meaning of the citizenship, where individual’s life, values, and the needs are highly respected and taken care of by the people’s government. Peoples’ voice is highly taken; and the power is from the bottom to the top. If elected officials are not up to their task and are not honestly or appropriately executing their duties, a re-call election or an impeachment panel can be performed either through citizen participatory election or court of laws, unlike South Sudan, where power is the other way around. The power seems to be from top to bottom and citizens’ voice is not taken seriously. In South Sudan, when political shift is on the rise, it is easy to see authoritarian practices as a guidance force. Peoples’ voice is ignored by the rulers. Democracy is not meaningfully prevalent. All power holders such as members of the parliament in both Federal and State levels, governors, commissioners or anybody who should enter public services arena through public adult franchise or election are handpicked and that bothers, worries, and gives pains to one’s soul by feeling that your ancestral land and truly your home country South Sudan is in a state of unpredictable future.

Democracy within our country continues to be demanding and corruption within the government is endless. In that regard, the current situation in the country is dominated by uncertainty. In another word, this road we are on will lead us step-by-step to the extreme: We will inherit either an autocratic government that functions or dysfunctional anarchy. The petty squabbles, bilge in the name of party or principle, will dissolve our supposed-to-be self-democratic government. However, we must hope for the best that in the near future, change will come, where people will freely elect their political leaders without any form of intimidations, disenfranchise, rigging or any kind of voting fraud that spoil election fairness. Those of us who have read our history know for fact that—for centuries, we have been paralyzed by intruders; as we are now governing ourselves, our focus should dwell on building the best democratic system that would transform our lives. A good transformation starts by creating an environment for economic growth. No price or trophy is bigger than having a peaceful prosperous environment. It is peace and harmony that we can embark on toward good economic and social transformation. Dictatorial set of principles always melt and retarded the nation’s economy. We hope the country will not be plunged back to war and the violence that is now taken place in Morota will be contained without escalation.

Respectively:

Lul Gatkuoth Gatluak

The author is a political commentator. He can be reached by lulgatluak09@gmail.com or lgatluak01@hamline.edu.


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