The outcomes of the Juba University Student Union (JUSU) general elections

Posted: June 18, 2016 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Columnists, Commentary, Contributing Writers, Simon Yel

We may enjoy laughing at the antics of the current crop of student politicians, but if history is any guide, we’ll end up paying them to govern us, writes Dominic Knight

By Simon Yel Yel, Juba, South Sudan

Ugandan election

The Ugandan election: do or die scenario

June 18, 2016 (SSB) —- Election is a decision making process where electorates choose their representatives from contesting parties to hold official offices and deliver services to them. The party with clean track records and good manifesto with detailed work plans always win the hearts of electorates. This is the usual mechanism by which modern democracy fills offices in the legislature, Executive, local government and also in Unions like student Unions and Associations like Bar associations.

There is a saying that goes “no an easy job” it same goes to the election, “no an easy election!” The recent JUSU’s election was not an easy election. It was a real election battle and the SPLM/SL squarely won it with over 50% of the total votes casted. SPLM student politicians did their campaign thoroughly on programs that they will implement and changes they will bring about unlike the other camps. Up to now they are still euphorically celebrating their “mini-election” win on the campus, in hostels and around Hai Thoura shouting at their top voices “SPLM OYEEE!, INTA WA ANA SPLM, SPLM AKUMA BITANA while the democratically defeated NSAF students are mourning. Indeed they labored for lost and they deserve!

However, one may ask; how election was the JUSU’s election? What does the win of the SPLM/SL in the University of Juba mean to the SPLM-main stream and what can political fortune tellers predict about the political life span of the SPLM?

Indeed the election was seen as a “referendum” on the SPLM’s popularity; litmus test on the SPLM’s performances and lifespanmeter on the SPLM’s political supremacy in South Sudan. However, the win of the SPLM/SL, reaffirms that SPLM is still the largest and popular political party in the country; means that the students of the University of juba  have trust and believe in the SPLM leadership as the only political party which can rule South Sudan whether on the campus or at the national level.

The recent election was heavily politicized and contested by many political parties and student political organizations. There were three main contesting camps: The National Unity Alliance which consists of SPLM/SL and ANC; National Students Alliance force (NSAF) which consists of two political parties, DC, UDF and three student-organizations, MSF, CIS and MSFSD; the last camp is the Students’ Alliance (SA).

The camp of NSAF was established on the ideal aim of “taking students to street”. Its components don’t have similar political visions but one aim, “taking students to street” Their campaign sarcastically focused on the SPLM’s shortcomings including corruption in the country, war, and the ongoing strike of lecturers of the public universities. No election manifesto, no plans for betterment of the University of Juba throughout their campaign period!

 For the benefit of readership, I will concisely explicate the visions and backgrounds of MSF, MSF-SD and CIS because they are not known to many people.

MSF, it is a students’ organization which operates only in the University of Juba. It was formed by southern Sudanese students in Al-Neelian University back in 2002 in the tutelage of Dr. Lam Akol when he was a minister for road and transport. In other word, it was students’ wing of Fashoda peace agreement.

When Dr. Lam broke away from the SPLM in 2009 and formed SPLM-DC, the MSF bifurcated into three faction; the Cholo students left and join the SPLM-DC, Abyei students left and formed their own organization called “MSF- southern Development (MSF- SD)” and the final faction which was composed of the Darfur students and other students from southern Sudan decided to remain in the old MSF which is sometimes known as “MSF- Afaf faction”. Although the organization didn’t dichotomize into political oblivion in then Sudanese universities, it maintains almost zilch membership in the University of Juba. Despite their (MSF and MSF-SD) claim of political independency, it is open secret that there are links between MSF, MSF-SD and DC. Dr. Lam Akol is the de facto leader, mentor and political god-father of the MSF and MSF-SD. Therefore, the two MSFs are side B of the DC party and it is the very reason why they formed a coalition with DC party.

Congress of Independent Students (CIS), it is students’ philosophical organization which teaches the philosophical thoughts of Plato, Thomas Hobbes and John Locke. Their thoughts and visions don’t in any way around meet with the academic demands of students of the University of Juba. This group strongly believes in Plato’s theory of The Republic of aristocratic model which is based on ruler-ship of PHILOSPHER-KINGS. And therefore, CIS would want South Sudan to be governed base on its paraphrased Republic theory of aristocratic model on DR-PRESIDENTS by likes of Dr. Lam. In short, CIS shares the same political antagonism with DC against SPLM and hence they are birds of the same feather and that is they flocked together.

Elections outcomes are always unpredictable; it cost NSAF Dr. Lam Akol, SPLM-IO and UDF’s acting president to campaign on the campus for seven days and lost the election. while it cost SPLM/SL & ANC Hon. Micheal Makuei, Hon. Louis Lobong, Hon. Nadia Arop and Ustaz Kuel Aguer to campaign on the campus for one day and win the election.

People often criticize the intrusion of political parties into student’s bodies. However, universities are not merely the centers for academic learning. Democracy is well nourished and natured in educational institutions. Students are cradles of modern political thought. They are intelligent; they are selfless by nature; they love truth and hate wrong; they are always ready to lie down their lives for the sake of their ideal, patriotism or something as noble as that. Prof John A. Akech deserves appreciation and thanks for allowing students to engage in political activities on the campus.

The students of the University of Juba are intelligent and can see far beyond horizon and it is well manifested in their overwhelming rejection of NSAF which wants to use the university as a platform to incite the protest against the government. The National Unity Alliance has registered or written a noble history for electing Abuba Evelyne Peter as the first female president of the JUSU since the inception of the Union. It reaffirms the equality, affirmative action and diversity which the SPLM believes in.

In conclusion, it is no secret that the students’ politics in South Sudan suffers from perception problem. Student politicians in the universities are scurvily thought not the best and brightest students on academic performances, not nationalists, and practicing grotesque politics. But contrary, they are the ones who will work their butts off perfectly, and execute effectively and efficiently what they are told. And they will be more relevant to the world of real power, politics and governance.

The writer can be reached via maandeng2017@gmail.com or 0955246235

The opinion expressed here is solely the view of the writer. The veracity of any claim made are the responsibility of the author, not PaanLuel Wël: South Sudanese Bloggers (SSB) website. If you want to submit an opinion article or news analysis, please email it to paanluel2011@gmail.com. SSB do reserve the right to edit material before publication. Please include your full name, email address and the country you are writing.

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