OpEd, Politics

What are the roles of Political Parties in fostering peace and harmony among diverse communities in a country like South Sudan?

By Ustaz Benson Bol Anyar


The principle that “the Party commands the gun”, and the gun must never be allowed to command the Party”. The Chinese Leader Mao Zedong once stated that,” Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun”, and therefore, control of the military determines whether a country prospers or declines. The ruling party has definite power over the military, so as to maintain the advanced nature of the military and better provide military support to carry out military missions to protect the sovereignty of the country from both internal and external aggressions.

Party spirit is an inherent attribute of a political party, strong party spirit comes from a deep understanding of the party’s history and attributes above. The national spirit cultivates party members’ party spirit by requiring them to undergo relevant education and learn from practical experience. Party roles which are critical to political maturity in any country, whether a developed or developing country with a political program to perform must possess the below functions;

Integration role – The principle of state equality in the country’s constitution, the fabric of national unity. The political party could be registered only if it met a number of stringent conditions, such that the party is not an association confined to a party only of the geographical area, its headquarters had to be in the national capital and its executive committee had to reflect South Sudan’s character.

The legitimizing role – The legitimizing role for the party – each party sought to win maximum support at a general election. However, the winning party conferred legitimacy on the successor government only when the election was widely accepted as being “free and fair”. The attitude of the opposition parties was important in determining whether elections served a unifying or divisive role.

Democratic role – multipartyism or political pluralism fosters open democratic political space to other parties political to compete in all political positions per the constitutions of the democratic societies. Democracy is a form of government that originated in ancient Greek. Liberty and equality are the twin goals of a democratic state. The Policy role– the formulation and execution of policy. The subordination of the party to the state.

Mobilization and Reconciliation roles – Mobilization – harnessing popular energies for economic development through self-help – was early seen in some post–independent periods as a task of the party, for example, Kenya’s Harambee (pulling together) Programme and Ujaama in Tanzania etc. The patronage role– Each party used its regional power base to confer benefits on its supporters, to strengthen its holdover its own region, and to direct access to national resources by seeking to capture power at the centre. And The political communication role– political communication – keeping open a two–way channel along which government policies could flow to the people and that could reach the government, communication remained an important party system.

The political leaders of various states gave a number of sometimes contradictory reasons for establishing a political party, especially the single political party system rule, thus it was argued that the single party rule is necessary to control regional or ethnic divisions and curb factionalism and, on the other, the single party reflected the basic consensus of African society.

The declined or diminishing role of the former grand old political parties in the New South Sudan political arena has made the SPLM to be the only viable and unifying political party organisation, which could accommodate all South Sudanese ethnic backgrounds under one umbrella.

However, as elections loom, the SPLM leaders and their supporters from the three Greater regions of the Republic of South Sudan are racing with time to endorse the party flagbearer, the party Chairperson in the person of President Salva Kiir is tipped to compete for another term in office as President, which was easily conducted last year in Greater Bahr el Ghazal region least than a week preparations.

In comparison to the time and energy being exerted in Greater Equatoria and Upper Nile regions where competition from other political parties is high just holding a rally in one place proved to be difficult, and a similar business was simply done in the Greater Bahr el Ghazal at Wau in the shortest time as due to the regional homogeneity, also the advantaged was that, the four states are within the proximity of each other, and also predominately occupied by a single largest tribe in the region.

Whereas the Greater Equatoria and Upper Nile endorsement plans disintegrated into states and counties due to stifled political competitions, like in Central  Equatoria state had conducted its endorsement exercise in Juba city last year, and Western Equatoria state did the same exercise in Yambio and Eastern Equatoria state has not done any because of political competition from the other political parties who might have gained upper hand than the SPLM party which is healthy political practices, so far the Central and Western Equatoria states are proud to have completed their mini endorsement and waiting for the grand endorsement of Greater Equatoria region in Torit this year according to the high-level committee for endorsement’s planned.

Meanwhile, the Greater Upper Nile is posed to kick-start her endorsement early next month if things go according to planned by the high level of the organizing committee. But Jonglei states counties alongside Pibor Administrative Area had done their mini endorsement at Twi East and Bor South counties respectively. Therefore, now the ball is the on the other major political parties’ courts to conduct their endorsements for aspiring candidates coming months if not coming weeks.


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