Politics Press Release

The Way Forward: An Appeal to the Governors of the Ten States

By Hon. Atem Garang D. Dekuek

“’The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement’:   

‘Inspired by the Socialist principles of freedom, equality and social justice’ 

‘and in order to:’ ……

‘curb the crime that has been rising.’    

‘Destroy forever the social diseases of corruption, cheating, theft, robbery and exploitation’

‘Rid society of hunger, disease, ignorance and other harmful habits and practices.’” 

(The Penal and Disciplinary Law of the SPLM/SPLA1984, preamble p. 1)

March 25, 2021(Nyamilepedia) — The then SPLM objectives as quoted above, are still relevant and realistic to be embraced, therefore, there is need to work with intention to operationalize and implement some of them in the ten states. These objectives were among many other principles hat guided the SPLM/A to wage a patriotic war (1983-2011) for justice, freedom and human dignity, which are in sharp contrast with the confused war (2013-2018), that was fought among the SPLM/A factions, centred on positions and opportunities. This 2013-2018 war of positions had ravaged our country and the lives and livelihoods of our people; and it ended in a negotiated peace based on positions in public offices the so -called power model of peace.

Hon. Atem Garang D. Dekuek, a former Inspector of Local Government, former Deputy Speaker of the Sudan National Assembly and a former Chief Whip(Photo credit: courtesy image)
Hon. Atem Garang D. Dekuek, a former Inspector of Local Government, former Deputy Speaker of the Sudan National Assembly and a former Chief Whip(Photo credit: courtesy image)

 By the appointments of the state governors and their governments, the real work to implement the agreement has just started. 

This is an indication that the stakeholders are tirelessly trying to work together in order to restore stability and mitigate the effects of the war that initially they ignited, and vigorously fanned. Peace building requires funding and commitment of all stakeholders, of the Peace Agreement. Meanwhile, we the citizens of this country, are expected to fully cooperate with them, in their endeavor to reconcile, and mend the damage they have inflicted on our social fabric. Therefore, peace building and restoration of confidence among various social strata and components of each state rest on the shoulders of Governors, their Administrations and the people of each state; and to each Governor I appeal that:

1. Emphasize to our people in the state under your administration, that presently, the ruling elites in South Sudan are not democratically elected by the people. Share with them the fact that you: The Governors, the Presidency, the Ministers, and Members of Parliaments are governing this country on terms of the Peace Agreement. Tell our people that when election comes after this transitional arrangement, they will democratically and willingly elect their representatives at all levels. Always be with your people through frequent visits, this will reinforce your knowledge about the communities and challenges facing them and the state; 

2. To establish confidence in this Peace Agreement, your administration and the R-TGoNU, should apologize to the people of your state, and bravely, tell them, that the war was not in their interest in any aspect, and that you are regretting the devastation inflicted on them and their state; 

3. Some elusive and shallow jargons and slogans, were chanted during the war, centred around “reforms” as the main cause for the war; but the reality is that the war was about political positions which guarantees economic gains and therefore it was masqueraded as (a war of reforms). Hence, regardless on whichever side of the war you were then, it does not matter; attempt to work on the following aspects that would pave the way for non-bloody ‘REFOMS’, being institutional, economic or social:

  1. Fully cooperate with your neighbouring governors in order to address together issues that are related to insecurity across your shared borders. Agree with them on scheduled meetings and conferences between the bordering communities whether they are peacefully coexisting or not. Any resolutions agreed upon and adopted by such conferences must be fully implemented and timely executed;
  2. In South Sudan, combating corruption, in its all forms, is a justified noble fight, though difficult, you can succeed and earn popularity and gain political support in the state and across the nation. Be courageous and nationalistic: reject tribal/clan celebrations and carnivals in appreciation and glorification of your appointment, you are not a tribal chief. Declare your wealth, that you own in any form, inside South Sudan and outside the country; this will be your moral base to combat corruption during your tenure. You will face stiff resistance from elites and corrupt elements from your own political camp, tribal/clan associates, syndicates of sycophants; and money-launderers; all will give you demeaning names. But in the event that you are losing that fight, do not join them, just, gracefully resign from your position;
  3. Fighting tribalism and nepotism, is an uphill task; it is a demanding war not easy to win, however, if you transparently and continuously gear all government and public appointments, contracts, and privileges in accordance with our applicable laws and regulations, you would have clamped the wings of tribalism in the state; and that is a “reform”; 
  4. Government institutions and departments, are the perfect tools purposely designed to realise and achieve desired programmes and services. Respect of such institutions means prevalence of law and order; therefore, work in collaboration with state parliament, political parties, various government departments, judiciary, auditors, trade unions, civil society, and others and your mission in the state will be achieved. When developing policies or addressing challenges; avoid soliciting advice or opinions from relatives or syndicates of sycophants, but seek informed-ideas and opinions from heads of departments, national consultants and specialists; this will qualify you to take formal informed-decisions.

4. Be a pioneer ‘reformer’ in your state, by refraining from turning social gatherings (being religious, marriages, funerals, tribal/clan celebrations etc.) into political rallies; instead work to brand your state as home for flourishing democracy, by allowing political parties and civil societies to exercise their constitutional rights, and that is a ‘reform’;

5. Federalism as one aspect of political system, is historically linked to political psychic of the people of South Sudan; which to them stands: for good governance and unity in diversity; it is important therefore, to capitalize and maximise all powers granted to the state under decentralised system as stipulated in our Constitution. Make the merits of the federal system implementable and practical in your state; conduct workshops, intellectual’s debates and political seminars. National and international support from experts and specialists will be ready to assist you;

6. Prepare logical and realistic budget, for sustainability of peaceful coexistence in your state. Stability and peace cannot be achieved by central government alone, it is you and the people of your state that would work to reconcile, and build trust among themselves; so budget for that. I do anticipate, that the budget of the R-TGoNU would be geared towards funding peace building and nation healing, therefore your budget would be relevant;

7. Edify your-self, by constantly reading our Constitution, R-ARCSS, State Constitution, and all operating laws of our Country, (they are concise and not many, the largest may be only three), plus some of UN conventions and international treaties. You can be assisted by legal experts being nationals or UN based personnel. This will keep you always, vigilant and observant of legal comparability of your political, financial, security decisions and administrative actions;   

  8. There are many concerns to be addressed, however, the unity of communities of your state is paramount for political survival of your party; thus, on the first months of your arrival, initiate the following:

  1. At all levels of your government and State HQs form specialised committees to assess and document the following: i) public and private premises that got damaged and destroyed during the war; ii) number of displaced population, iii) number of people killed, iv) number of incapacitated individuals and v) any other war affected property or environmental damage. Translate the findings of such assessment into monetary cost; with understanding that, any rehabilitation, reconstruction or reparation would be funded on basis of such monetary estimations, but not an exaggerated assessment!
  2. Ensure the 35% power share for women, at all levels of local government. Women possess latent power in this nation, so guarantee their political and social rights; and be mindful of their political role and possible impact of their numbers in any future elections! 
  3. In order to efficiently and effectively handle counties and payams affairs with purpose, please, familiarise yourself with “The Local Government Act 2008”, and restrain from ‘management based on assumptions’;
  4. Our youth are seriously traumatised and violence captivated; they need specialised social rehabilitation, through cultural engagement: which necessitates building of theatres, cultural centres, sports facilities and others. Regular sports competitions, cultural carnivals and agricultural exhibits all will enable the youth to discard and disdain violence and social deviation. Remember that they are creative and innovative but lack conducive social environment that could encourage them to fully utilise their intellect abilities. Also, be mindful that they are the majority in South Sudan, they are the inheritors of this nation, and politically conscious; hence, their electoral power in any future elections is mighty; associate yourself with their associations; 
  5. Initiate programmes and activities for inter-state cultural exchange amongst the communities, through state FM Radio stations: translation of legends, stories, and social shared values that unite and emphasise the inevitability of human fraternity. Intensify sports, music competitions and encourage communal conferences between the various social components of your state;  

9. Finally, the most important engine, dynamo and pillars of your state administration are not minsters or their directors in the capital of your state, but the backbone of your administration and any administrative and political success in realising your policies are based on ‘Local Government Administration’ and its administrators: county commissioners, executive directors, payam administrators, county institutions, chiefs, elders/notables, women and youth associations, faith-based leaders and relief organizations. Figure them out clearly and work with them with gentility, honesty, respect and let them infer from your political attitude, administrative directives and decisions that: you are not their master, but rather their public servant! 

‘Local Government Administration’ is based on thorough information about the people you are administering, you should have comprehensive updated statistic of the people and every thing in the county; (even the species of trees, birds, invasive plants etc. in the state!). Through local government administration, you can learn new things every single week or month, if you are frequently visiting people in their counties and payams.   

** Together we can build South Sudan! **

Hon. Atem Garang D. Dekuek is a former Inspector of Local Government 1984, a former Deputy Speaker of the Sudan National Assembly 2005-2011 and a Former Government Chief Whip 2011-2013 & 2016-2018.

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