By Dong Samuel Luak
April 9, 2014 - The story of the two orphans is very interesting Cdr. Salva Kiir and late Dr. John Garang have been together in the movement for 22 years, and have been close friends, when Dr. John visited Malual Kon and the “Luak” of the family of Cdr. Salva to show comradeship and a long cherished friendship. Dr. John was told; “You are the two orphans” left because the original members of the High Command died, both of you will carry on bringing peace.
Peace was achieved in 2005, and late Dr. John Garang was welcome by waves of marginalised people in Sudan, he was later sworn in as the first vice-president of Sudan and president of the Government of Southern Sudan. After (21) twenty one days in office Dr. John died in a plane crush under mysterious circumstances.
The CPA was clear that in case the position of the first vice-president falls vacant the SPLM will nominate their candidate within (60) sixty days. Leadership council met in new site Eastern Equatoria and unanimously selected Cdr Kiir Mayardit to be the predecessor of late Dr. John, Kiir was sworn to office and started to put in place the first government of Southern Sudan. I believe when government was being formed the memories of president Kiir were still fresh especially his famous address to the leadership council, the secretariats, and the members of the general staff in Rumbek meeting in 2004, to the benefit of our readers I would like to take this opportunity to remind president Kiir of this historical address which I quote.
“If we are National Leaders, which I don’t believe we are because we have no cohesion within our leadership structure, let us be sincere with ourselves. After meetings are concluded, we run to foreign countries. There is no code of conduct to guide the Movement’s structures. When the Chairman leaves for abroad, no directives are left and no one is left to act on his behalf. I don’t know with whom the Movement is left with; or does he carry it in his own brief case?
The Chairman killed the National Executive Council (NEC) by creating the Leadership Council. But there is no provision in the Convention for a ‘Leadership Council’. Does he want to revive the Political Military High Command? The Leadership Council creates a situation where all are directly reporting to the chairman – including SPLM County Secretaries. When I mentioned these facts, they should not be construed to be my personal or family problems. Those around the Chairman don’t tell him the opinion of the public. The Chairman is everything, from a finance officer to one at the lowest level.
Corruption, as a result of the lack of structures, has created a lack of accountability which has reached a proportion that will be difficult to eradicate.
In fact, there are many outstanding administrative problems that require our attention. These include the infrequent converting of conferences at the leadership level, causing an absence in the SPLA/M chain of command and making others to directly communicate with the chairman without following the right procedures. This should be corrected. If the responsibility of governors goes directly to the chairman, what will be the work of Cdr. Daniel Awet? I hope Cdr. Daniel Awet will address all those things. The chairman should not make appointments of SPLM county secretaries; it is the work of the governors.
The other issue I would like comrade chairman to address is how the CANS structures are now operating, e.g., take the absence of the SPLM Regional Secretary for Bahr El Gazal from his area of responsibility while there has been sporadic tribal feuds within the region – and which has resulted into sectional conflict. The chairman most of the times send Cdr. Deng Alor on foreign missions which were supposed to be the work of Cdr. Nhial Deng.
There are several other administrative issues that require correction. We are three deputies without functions. The chairman is responsible for all systems including the army general headquarters. Our HQs. started in Yei, then Rumbek, then new Cush and now Ramciel. When are we going to establish our HQs? The deputies of the general staff are the ones commanding the forces; they should stay in the general headquarters instead of commanding. Yet the Chairman is the one who dismantled the general headquarters. Comrade chairman, the establishment of the general headquarters hasn’t been fulfilled and this I have been requesting ever since Yei was liberated. Branch officers such as the director of military intelligence and his deputy are now in your Headquarters, though they are supposed to remain at the general headquarters. The chairman concentrates on his headquarters forgetting the rest of the army. It is only his headquarters, which has military uniforms, boots and other supplies.
Our present situation requires us to be organised and prepared. If peace is signed, the question is; what have we done in training our military cadres so that they meet the standard of their counterparts in the integrated army. There are rumours that the Chairman had already selected by name those commanders who would command the Joint Integrated Army. What about the rest of the army and who will pay them? The chairman seems to have taken the movement as his own property. As we leave Rumbek after this meeting, I would like to see that all our administrative issues be addressed and implemented following this meeting’s resolutions.
I would also want Comrade Chairman to give me full powers of the Chief of the General Staff (COGS) to enable me expedite the regrouping and reorganisation of the SPLA, and if Comrade Chairman sees that I am not able to do that job, then he can appoint another person to do it.
The Chairman is to be 1st Vice-President of the Sudan and the head of the Government of Southern Sudan, but he is not talking to Southerners. The North is organizing southern militias so that we fight among ourselves. We must unite our own ranks and not just unity with the north. On a personal basis, I don’t have any problems with the Chairman but our working relationship is bad and leaves a lot to be desired.
I would also like to say something about rampant corruption in the Movement. At the moment some members of the Movement have formed private companies, bought houses and have huge bank accounts in foreign countries. I wonder what kind of system we are going to establish in South Sudan considering ourselves indulged in this respect.
I must warn the Chairman that Nimeiri was made to be unpopular by his security organs. Those who are misleading you and giving you false security information about others will suffer with you together or leave with you. The government, which is going to be led by you, must include all. Without unity, the agreement will be a source of our disunity. We are not organized in all aspects, and as such will be exploited by other political parties that are more organized. The lack in our structures and political guidance will lead us to a very serious political defeat. Mr. Chairman, you have talked about people eating the boat while we are in the middle of the river. Let me add this; the issue is not eating the boat in the middle of the river. The issue is that there are a few who have already crossed to the other side of the river and when the remaining ones asked them to bring the boat, they refused to return the boat. This is the problem”. End of quote.
29 of December 2004 meeting in Rumbek was a turning point in the history of struggle for the people of New Sudan when late Dr. John Garang was confronted by his comrades who judged and awarded him grade (F). But nevertheless those we judged late Dr. John join President Kiir government in the implementation of the CPA until the women and men of South Sudan from different background voted overwhelmingly for the independent South Sudan, which was celebrated in 9/07/2011, the reason was that they share a common vision for the people of South Sudan to leave in peace and harmony among themselves in an independent country called South Sudan.
Now we have President Kiir the surviving orphan who is answerable only to God because the structures of governance are there but never function. Constitutionalism has a verity of meanings most generally it is a complex of ideas, attitude and patterns of behaviour elaborating the principle that the authority of government derives from the people and limited by the Constitution. A political organisation like ours in South Sudan is constitutional to extent that it contains institutionalise mechanism of powers control for the protection of the interest and liberties of the citizenry including those that may be in the minority. Let me ask these few questions even though the answers may be obvious.
1. Do we have National Leaders?
2. Do we have a code of conduct to guide the Movement’s SPLM structures?
3. Do we know who own the Movement?
4. Is the National Liberation Council NLC operational?
5. Do those who are around President Kiir tell him the opinion of the public?
6. Does President Kiir have control of everything, from Parliament, finance, bank, executive and Judiciary?
7. Does Corruption exist in the movement and the Government of South Sudan?
8. Is there any accountability in the Government of South Sudan?
9. Governors of the (10) ten states who are they accountable to?
10. Does President Kiir talk to Southerners?
11. Do we have senior members of the SPLM and Government of South Sudan who formed private companies? Who bought houses and have huge bank account in foreign countries?
12. Do we have any system in South Sudan?
13. Is President Kiir security makes him popular or unpopular in South Sudan? Do they misled or give false information about others to the President?
I leave these few questions to concerned people of South Sudan to answer, but Mr. President my advice to you is (if you delay time will not delay). The same people who awarded late Dr.John grade (f) are still around you and Rumbek meeting will repeat itself and I believe they themselves will award you grade (f +). Remember that you have millions of orphans at your hand now.
In conclusion my only humble answer will be about the participation of the public in the drafting of the Constitution is a crucial component of the process. It adds indispensable legitimacy to the final document adopted. It also assists the definition of a national identity and the articulation of common aspirations for the future. Internal exclusion in any constitutional making process is a substantial impediment to the successful implementation of participatory democratic reforms in post-conflict states.
The writer is a lawyer in South Sudan, he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.