By Joseph Ring Lang
The incoming election which is towards the end of 2024 is the first of its kind since the Independence of South Sudan from Sudan on July 9th, 2011. As such, there are no reference points for predicting who will win the first Elections in a country called South Sudan.
Yes, some sense has to be made out of the unknown.
Currently, there are three revolutionary political parties which are SPLM-IG. SPLM-IO and SPLM for Democratic Change.
During the signing of the CPA (Comprehensive Peace Agreement), there was only one SPLM/A (Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement and Army).
The revolutionary party called SPLM/A then began to splinter during the CPA era and after a post-independence period. SPLM for Democratic Change under Lam Akol Ajawin’s leadership was the first to break away during the CPA era and still maintain the acronym SPLM.
Whereas SPLM-IO (SPLM in the Opposition) under Riek Machar Teny, splintered in December 2013 after independence in a very violent manner. His forces fought inside the Capital Juba and when he did not succeed in capturing the Capital, he moved with his forces to capture some States in Greater Upper Nile (which are Jonglei, Upper Nile and Unity States. The Government was left to the forces that were loyal to Salva Kiir. Those loyal to him were later called SPLM-IG (SPLM in the Government).
Revisiting the original question who will win?
The real supporters
- The diehards of SPLM-IG (SPLM in the Government) will boast that they will win the majority of the seats in Parliament during the election of 2024 as well as winning the Presidency.
- Also the diehards of SPLMM-IO (SPLM in the Opposition) will definitely argue that they will win most of the electoral seats in parliament of 2024 including the Presidency.
- In a similar way, the diehards of SPLM for Democratic Change will say that they will win most of the seats in the coming competition for parliamentary elections of 2024 including the Presidency.
- Not least, the diehards of non-revolutionary parties like SSOA (South Sudan Opposition Alliance) or the OPP (Other Political Parties), they will definitely be vocal in claiming that they will win the majority of the seats in parliament during the 2024 elections including the Presidency.
All those claims are normal manifestations of election euphoria where no candidate or political party accepts defeat in advance – the objective is to win.
Finally, in that line of presentation which is a guess work (because one never knows) that unknown percentage of politicians may decide to stand as independent candidates and perhaps they become the majority in parliament during the parliamentary elections of 2024 – if that happens, it will put the elected President into real difficulties.
What does that mean?
It means we will have a president who doesn’t have a majority in Parliament. The basis of that assertion is the general knowledge that all revolutionary political parties don’t much rely on individual capabilities but count more on loyalty to the party more than anything else. In that respect, those capable and persuasive politicians in speech who may be discarded by the revolutionary parties could decide to stand as independent candidates and their number become the majority from the total number of electoral seats during the 2024 Parliamentary Elections.
The other important aspect is the 2024 Electoral Law which had been passed by the Parliament. It gives the elected President an extra bonus of appointing five percent (5%) extra diehards that will be accountable only to the President and not to the general population. In that respect, we may see the biggest and most serious competition exhibiting itself during the election of the President of the Republic of South Sudan.
Variables and assumptions
Assuming that all the electoral variables will remain constant like in any other known elections during the Parliamentary and Presidential Elections of 2024, many questions will be asked by the voters. Possible questions that could emerge from the voters during multi-party elections in 2024 at the political campaigns could be as follows:
Questions on insecurity
- Up to now there are still former SPLA Generals that have followers in the bush and are still holding out in the bush. What will you do about them – they will ask?
- What will you do about cattle rustling – which is one of causes of continuous displacement?
- What will you do about high way ambushes by those with criminal agendas coated inside political agendas?
- What will you do about organized town, criminal gangs that rob innocent civilians in broad daylight including nights?
- What will you do about unbridle motorists and motorcyclists who are rampant these days and especially in the capital town Juba?
- What will you do to enhance the justice system, since some trial cases spend years without being concluded?
- What will you do to bring peace, we have been longing for almost the last two decades, so that we plan our future with no fear in our minds to enable us to concentrate on our tasks.
There will also be questions on accessibility to food markets
- Lack of easy accessibility to food markets for buying or selling food will definitely be the general question raised during the elections of 2024 – they will ask what will you do about it?
- The voters who have food in stores in the far-flank counties of South Sudan who are unable to sell that food at a rate that can make them winners will likely ask the contesting candidates, what will you do about after you are elected in our constituency?
The examples are varieties of fruits in Western Equatoria that can’t be transported to the Juba market, which is monopolized by the East African fruit sellers, especially Uganda. Apart from that, the abundant cereals at Renk mechanized agricultural farms – what system of transport will you provide to us, as our representatives to bring us out of this dilemma?
Questions on education fees
Difficulties in payment of Education fees will be an issue for the voters. Education fees are continuously going up and we don’t have money to keep up with the rising education fees. What system will you create to make us get income to help our children to progress in education?
Questions on Health Issues
Problems of absence of Health services will be a topic with the voters. Emotional questions will emerge on health issues. They may ask what have you in store for us to save some of us who continuously, prematurely perish from treatable diseases? because they are unable to afford the continuous rising prices of medicines as well as treatments. Some sophisticated voters within the public may ask, what are your plans for preventive and curative diseases in our constituency/constituencies?
Questions on unemployment
Unemployment will be a burning issue for the elites, in all the state constituencies. They may definitely ask the competitors how you will solve the unemployment issue which has eluded our rulers for almost two (2) decades, specifically after independence from Sudan in 2011.
Questions on transport by Road, Rail and River
- Road transport difficulties, no doubt will face the candidates vying for election in their various constituencies. The absence of good road transport is continuously putting the local farmers at a disadvantage when attempting to take their farm produce to the nearest markets where they can sell their produce. They may ask how you will solve it.
- River Transport which enables bulky goods to be transported was functioning before the Independence of South Sudan from Sudan – is a question that will definitely be asked why it is not functioning?
- Not least also, the voters will ask why there have been a lot of talks about the railways, and nothing has been done so far about it – Please can you answer the question?
Any plans in place?
Other sophisticated individuals may ask what are your plans for the start of manufacturing and large-scale agricultural production and how will you do it – so that we extricate ourselves from too much reliance on foreign trade to satisfy all our household needs?
The elderly who know what had been achieved in the past may ask the candidates in their various constituencies about their plans of bringing back to life past agricultural production as well as past factories that existed, apart from those that couldn’t be completed because of 21 years’ war. They will also be asked to explain the methods they will apply to reach that level of modest development as well as introducing new manufacturing and agricultural production that will keep abreast with climate changes – they will definitely ask?
Failing to answer those questions to the satisfaction of the voters at various constituencies will definitely result in the failure of those candidates during the 2024 elections. In all probabilities, the failure to satisfy the voters’ questions will certainly affect as well those vying for the Presidency of the Country called South Sudan.
It means, in brief, that all the political parties in South Sudan will have to choose the best of their best members so that they are able to answer all the possible questions the voters may ask during the electoral campaigns. Failing to answer those possible questions to the satisfaction of the voters, the candidates who are competing will in all probabilities fail during the 2024 political elections. Do you doubt that prediction? History will be our best judge – isn’t it?
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