President Kiir should Allow Free and Fair Elections after the Transitional Period

Posted: November 10, 2018 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Apioth Mayom, Columnists, Commentary, Contributing Writers, Junub Sudan, Opinion Articles, Opinion Writers

After the Transitional Period, Salva Kiir Needs to Set an Example and Allow a Free and Fair Elections

By Ngoi Thuech, Dodoma, Tanzania

President Kiir's speeches after independence

Salva Kiir Mayaardit: The Joshua of South Sudan

Saturday, November 10, 2018 (PW) — What Peter Biar Ajak termed as a generational exit should not mistakenly be interpreted as an all-out call for our aging liberation generation to retire from active politics and allow the new and upcoming youthful generation to give it a try this time around. The late Senator John McCain of Arizona served his people up to the very last of his breath when he passed away this past summer. He was a war veteran, much like our current leaders are. So, being from a military background doesn’t necessary socialize you to rule dictatorially and hold the country hostage as a ransom for personal enrichment. One thing that sets the late John McCain with our liberation leaders was that the former came from a stable and liberal democratic nation whereas our leaders come from a region whose democratic institutions are absent or nonexistence.

South Sudanese are forever going to be thankful to Salva Kiir and Riek Machar for inking the peace deal to work together in one unity government as a testament to their faith that for once they can put aside their differences and work for the betterment of their people. Many countries on our East African block have two presidential term limits which run for a total of eight to ten years. President Uhuru Kenyatta said recently that it is unconstitutional to run for a third term in Kenya. President Kiir took up the presidential crown after we gained our independence from Sudan. And by the end of the Transitional Period, he would have been in power for ten years, much like the time normally spent by the Kenyan presidents at the State House. The probable reason why there is a limit on a presidential rule is perhaps to avoid what the political scientists called the political decay, a scenario which entails lack of accepting new ideas and overall democratic institutional upgrade.

President Kiir needs to set an example and give way to a new political order by which free and fair elections are a common occurrence. He needs not copy and paste what the Zimbabwean ruling party did recently when they deployed the national army and forced the ballot counts in their favor. Nelson Chamisa, a certain charming politician lost the election to the incumbent ruling party of Emerson of Mnangagwa. Salva Kiir has been in the limelight of South Sudanese politics for 26 years, and by 2021 he would have etched his name into the stacked and storied great history of South Sudanese people for some 29 years.

He was a deputy of John Garang for 13 years and took over the Vice Presidential spot of Sudan for 6 years after the sudden passing of John Garang in 2005 and he has been our president since independence. South Sudanese have gone through four painful transitional periods and Salva Kiir has been a major part of these metamorphoses from day one. First, we were treated as second-class citizens in our own country by various Khartoum regimes; then we fought a revolutionary war to free ourselves from the burden of oppression by the Jellaba; we united and voted for independence under the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) accord; we tragically turned the guns on ourselves in the 2013 civil war.

The fifth transitional period, which will heavily impact our futures, is the one immediately coming into effect after the Transitional Period. South Sudanese cannot afford to lose the chance to vote the candidate of their likings into office come election time. The presidential aspirant must not be of a certain stereotypical age or youthful either; he/she ought to possess the qualities of a progressive thinker and someone who cares about the public welfare of South Sudanese in general. South Sudanese have always known wars and famine throughout our shared history and this tragedy must be stopped on its tracks. Political stability is what we are all yearning for, and there would be no better time than the next upcoming election in 2021.

Sub-Saharan Africa is the least developed region of the world, and the post-colonial leaders who took over shortly after the Eurasian powers left succumbed to the culture of corruption as their only option to stay in power. As our part of the world is heavily being pulled apart by the burden of poverty, diseases, famine and political instabilities; two countries in the fold of Rwanda and Ethiopia emerge as the newest darlings of economic prosperity; obviously, Burkina Faso was the first on the continental Africa to embark on that route, but Thomas Sankara whose economic miracles were beginning to change the lives of ordinary Burkinabe had his life cut short by the evil forces of progress and Burkina Faso was dragged right back to feel the pain of poverty and economic stagnation.

Rwanda whose economy has been growing consistently at 6% for over a decade than Ethiopia tops our chart as an exemplary candidate to guide South Sudanese to create their own path to a brand new era of economic progress and bountiful prosperity. Even though, Rwanda has been the poster-boy of things turning out for the better for her citizens, Paul Kagame has over the years become intolerant of criticism just like Lee Kuan Yew, the former leader of Singapore whose Rwanda based their economic model upon.

A few of his harshest critics and political rivals took asylum in foreign countries and some have even lost their lives after the national security operatives followed suit. Tolerant is a major part of any democratic state, and Paul Kagame, whose country has 60% of women in the Lower House of Parliament, seems to be harboring some anti-democratic sentiments behind closed doors.

Our precarious times of political uncertainties call for common citizens of a country like South Sudan to put their heads together and devise strategic ways to improve the public welfare of their people. We have been through unspeakable suffering through protracted wars and famine; our current ruling elite must give way and avoid any slight electioneering tampering come 2021. In the meantime, South Sudanese from all walks of life should start figuring out who they would vote for when it is time for ballot casting. We live in a country where politicians ask for providence of luxurious cars before they start delivering services to the people.

The Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning rewards the Members of Parliament for staying the course with the president with a whopping exorbitant amount of $16 million at the expense of the common lay people. This amount was embezzled right before our eyes while our people who have taken refuge in Uganda and Kenya were breaking into the UN distribution centers in protest of lack of food. Our government continues to reward corrupt officials while it continues to neglect paying her membership fees to the regional and international bodies.

A certain South Sudanese political commentator who goes by the name of Riya Williams once said that after our leaders have stolen all our money, we would be left with nothing but to eat them. South Sudanese yearn for a different style of leadership who will put in place counteracting mechanisms to stop the maddening cycles of corruption, tribalism, and political instability. It is up to Salva Kiir whether to choose war and protracted suffering of his people or give way to free and fair elections where ordinary people have the say to choose which public servants are well anchored to turn their aspirational needs into reality.

The biggest problem holding our liberation generation back is not the era or the revolutionary period they commonly associate with per se; they don’t want to change their way of thinking through continuous studying of new ideologues to adapt to the always ever-changing tide of time. Once a new leadership comes into the fray after the Transitional Period, everyone should get a chance to serve their constituencies no matter what age they may possess.

Ngoi Thuech is a South Sudanese blogger that works and lives in Dodoma, Tanzania. He is a graduate of the University of Dar es Salaam. He blogs on a mirage of South Sudanese issues ranging from politics to culture on www.ngoithuech.blogspot.com. He can be reached atmawangrieth@outlook.com

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Comments
  1. kailoor says:

    You have opted to stay on the right track, A PROUD South Sudanese I see; that country in which you are in is the great socialists state were an individual think of his brethren welfare to be exact to your statement of our today leaders. We ought to have a payment of what we have done not an assumption of what we will be doing or else there is hope in unknown gunman than pen robbers in the office to interpret how we will be eating our greedy politicians who have gone away with every we necessitate for our survival.

    Thank for your new founded war on civility restoration of which you are righteously armed.

    Like

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