By James Okuk
July 9, 2011 — As the people of South Sudan andtheir friends celebrate with joy the long-awaited independence of their belovedMotherland, yet they are also seriously troubled by lack of good leadership inthe new country. The old Sudan has gone, the new South Sudan is born but thevalues of liberty, justice and prosperity are still to be practically seen soonin both the former biggest country in Africa (Sudan) and in the newest declaredstate in Africa with a guaranteed lucky given United Nations membership withina shorter time in mid July 2011.
With the good news of thedeclaration of the independence of the Republic of South Sudan kicking off on 9thJuly 2011, yet bad news of bad leadership from the SPLM and its military wing (theSPLA) remains the greatest concern locally, nationally, regionally andinternationally. The SPLM/A regime is not feeling ashamed at all to behave likethe NCP/NIF regime in the past even worst in South Sudan. History of regimecreation with absolute powers for intimidations that used to dominate the oldSudan seems to be repeating itself in South Sudan since 1956.
For Example, the first President ofthe Republic has demanded absolute powers from the lawmakers in the form ofSouth Sudan Legislative Assembly (SSLA), and these powers were given to him inmidst of threats and intimidations of the opposing views. What a shame andwrong start for the new Republic of South Sudan! We know that some countrieswere tremendously built by leaders with absolute powers, but will the firstPresident of South Sudan who is now given absolute powers do the same? If hecouldn’t do his best with the little power and wealth put under his custody inthe last six years what will change his abilities this time to effect a u-turnat the last days of his lifespan in power? Only God knows?
Another example of the bad eve ofthe independent South Sudan is the case of Leader of the Opposition in the SSLAHon. Mr. Onyoti Adigo who just lost his strong tooth on 7th July2011 as a result of torture from the SPLA Military Intelligence (MIs) watchdogsin Juba. The SPLA MIs beat and torturedhim, his bodyguards and other SPLM-DC at their new Secretariat Headquarters inJuba. The reason given for this evil act is that the Hon. Onyoti and otherSPLM-DCers did not request permission from the SPLM and the GoSS to celebrate theindependence of South Sudan and distribute posters in Juba to expresscongratulations for the big occasion made by Southerners in unity.
But does any Southerner need toobtain a permission to express the joy and congratulations for the independenceof the Motherland? And is it civilized at all to beat up a Member of Parliament(MP) endowed with constitutional immunities, especially at the eve ofindependence where all foreign dignitaries and international journalist areassembling for the rare occasion in the world? Absolutely not, and this showshow South Sudan is overwhelmed by the de facto sorry leadership of theso-called liberation fighters who turned out to have been fighting for selfish reward and not for a justcause of the people.
No wonder, the U.S. President BarackObama and other genuine democratic world leaders are justified to declineresponding positively to the GoSS and SPLM’s invitation for independencecelebrations. Right now a lot of questions are ringing in the minds of manySoutherners and those concerned about the common good of South Sudan: Why didSPLM/A fight against marginalization in order to practice marginalization byshift of guards? Why did SPLM/A fight for liberty in order to practiceoppression? Why did SPLM/A struggled against injustice in order to deny justicein South Sudan? Why did SPLM/A accepted to negotiate and reach a ComprehensivePeace Agreement (CPA) in order to create conflicts inter and intra SouthSudanese communities and/or the neighboring communities? Why, Why, Why and listof the pessimistic concerns and paradoxes continues.
Yes, the independence of SouthSudan is the best but does it deserve bad leadership? Does it make sense for aleader of the new country to say fromtime to time that he does not know that many communities and individuals inSouth Sudan are being subjected to all kinds of ill-treatment by the verySPLA/M commanders and comrades? Why is the SPLM/A top leader unable to lead anddiscipline his juniors who are executing very harmful acts against the good ofSouth Sudanese and the credibility of his leadership itself? What kind of aleader doesn’t know how to lead his people on the right path withoutdiscrimination?
For sure, and with shameful actsbeing executed in South Sudan, so many repeated failures to bring good news tothe new country will push some communities, groups or individuals to chooseliving in diaspora and exile or in the best rebellion bushes of South Sudanuntil genuine change is effected. But of course this shall increase the levelof bad news in the new country like what happened in the eve and dawn of thedeclaration of the independence of the old Sudan in 1950s.
The South Sudan President and thefew people benefiting from his leadership will attempt to crash those trying tooppose his leadership but with no success as he would wish. Also the SouthSudan rebels and the opposition leaders shall try to work hard to see to itthat the new President takes good care of values of good leadership or else hemust go to his home or to the grave. But in the course of this conflict overthe use of power, the people of South Sudan shall be the very one who shallbear the greatest consequence of the conflict from above. God have mercy on thepoor people of South Sudan since their leaders are failing to protect them fromharms!!!
Notwithstanding, the sufferingpeople of South Sudan will remain as unshakeable force for change and wise useof power. Their voice will remain the voice of God and whoever does not fearthem (be it the government of the day or the rebel or the opposition) shouldnot pretend to fear God. God shall hear their prayers in the form of the SouthSudan National Anthem.
Building a new country is not ajoke. Having absolute powers for leadership comes with greatestresponsibilities too. It is not about hiring and firing subjects at will only;it is far more demanding than this short-look.
Long Lived the Independence SouthSudan but Short-lived whoever will try to mislead the freedom to a wrong directionof non-prosperity, injustices and dictatorship.
Congratulations and Viva to theRepublic of South Sudan. I love this historic Day that I am witnessing in mylife as an opportunity missed by many other Southerners, including the top CPAhero, Dr. John Garang de Mabior.
Dr.James Okuk is a PhD holder from the University of Nairobi. He can be reached email@example.com.