By Lemi Stephen
Juba, South Sudan
The first democratic exercise ever in south Sudan has just ended with the election of Comrade Salva Kiir as the Chairman. The south is indeed leading the whole country in the process of democratic transformation; though a lot still needs to be done yet they are by-passing Northern Sudan in long strides. National parties in North Sudan as such are not truely democratic or national in the real sense of the word. This is because party leaderships are dominated by either members of one family (modern fuedalism) as in the case of UMMA party of Sadiq Mahdi, National Democratic Alliance of Mohamed Mirghani or purely religious like the National Cogress party of Omer Bashir and the Popular congress party of Dr. Hassen Turabi. None moslems may only be nominal memebers without leadership positions, and those who may have the chance of being offered a poistion will either be stooges or the so call puppets of the real party owners.
It is time the SPLM got rid of ills like tribalism, nepotism and corruption. Otherwise, they have started the real transformation of the country.
Below is the Speech of Comrade Salva Kiir, Chairman of the SPLM
"I would first to congratulate the Convention Organizing Committee (CoC) under the leadership of Comrade James Wani Igga for such a remarkable achievement
I thank also all countries that participated in this Convention as they have shown their solidarity with SPLM during this critical phase of democratic transformation in Sudan .
I would like also to extend my sincere appreciation for the valuable words of encouragement and advice from other political parties with whom we share a national commitment and agenda to realizing peace and stability in Sudan through implementation of CPA, democratic transformation and national reconciliation.
I will not also forget the valuable contribution and advice provided by our elders Molana Abel Alier and Gen. Joseph Lagu.
Above all, I would like to sincerely congratulate each of you for making this Convention a success, Maburuk Alaikum.
2. The Confidence of National Convention and People:
I would like to thank each of you for electing me as Chairperson of SPLM and this clearly shows your confidence in me as the appropriate person to lead you during this critical phase of our struggle. Your trust and confidence in me pose a real challenge on me of how I can live up to your expectations. I want to assure you Comrades that I will not and I shall not let you down.
Let me also seize this opportunity to congratulate each of you for trust you have given to the newly elected members of National Liberation Council and I tell them Maburuk Alaikum. I am committed to work closely with them in making SPLM a credible political party that would bring the real change in the Sudan .
Also for delegates of the National Convention, you have the confidence of our people and each of you has a role to play in making SPLM to be felt at the grass root and to become a true people’s party. Let us return to our community and make the structure of SPLM functional and operational in the state, counties, payams and bomas.
3. My Commitments as SPLM Chairperson
As you have entrusted me to lead this great party, the SPLM, I would like to share with you my personal commitments during my tenure of office:
3.1 No to War Yes for New Sudan :
I am committed, Dear Comrades, to the full implementation of CPA and as I mentioned in most of my speeches that I will not take my people again to war as they have suffered a great deal and they need to lead a peaceful life like other peoples in the world. I call upon each of you to cherish this culture of peace among our communities in all parts of Sudan . Let our people know that SPLM is a party of peace and stability
Despite our unconditional commitment to peace, the SPLM is committed to protect your rights and achievements in the CPA through the peaceful mechanisms provided for in the CPA. As I mentioned in my opening remarks that SPLA as people’s army will be vigilant and on alert to protect your rights and that is why we are committed to making SPLA a professional and modern army.
I am also, Dear Comrades, committed towards realization of the Vision of New Sudan. We must replace the Old Sudan with New Sudan. This is not a dream it is a reality as we are virtually dismantling everyday the Old Sudan. Who would imagine one day that all marginalized people of Sudan from the East, West, South, North and Centre would meet under one umbrella of SPLM. If all Sudan is here, then who would dare to stop us not to change Sudan . Sudan must and shall change in the terms and will of our people. Let us rise up to this noble challenge. As you have now elected me as Chairperson of the SPLM, I declare now with trust and confidence that I am now the Leader of the Marginalized people of Sudan and I am committed to protect their rights and realize their aspirations.
As we are committed to the principle of the right of self-determination to the people of Sudan as an internationally recognized right, I am committed to ensure that the people of Southern Sudan exercise their rights of self-determination as well as the conduct of referendum for the people of Abyei and popular consultation for the people of Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile as per the provisions of CPA. It is my personal commitment to ensure that these referenda are implemented in letter and spirit and any attempt to deny these rights to be exercised or their outcomes not to be respected shall be tantamount to gross violation of CPA that may have serious consequences on stability of Sudan.
As part of our vision of New Sudan, I am committed to work towards realization of peace in Darfur and to ensure the protection of civil population and their access to humanitarian assistance. No Peace with Darfur burning!
As First Vice President of the Republic of Sudan , I will be committed to ensure the full implementation of Eastern Sudan Peace Agreement.
3.2. Unity and Reconciliation:
Dear Comrades, our survival as political party rests with our unity and I would like to assure you that I shall be committed to the unity of our party. We have come along way with bitter history of division that resulted in enormous atrocities committed against our people and we have no any option but to nurture unity and reconciliation.
Dear Comrades, I shall ensure the full implementation of Nairobi and Juba Declarations, Wunlit Agreement and other agreements.
As Chairperson of the SPLM, I will ensure that the national reconciliation and healing process is initiated and implemented as stipulated in the CPA. Besides national reconciliation process, I will renew the South-South Dialogue as well as encouraging the Darfur-Darfur Dialogue.
Dear Comrades, I would like to remind you all that my personal relations with comrades Pagan Amum, Riek Machar, James Wani Igga, Malik Agar and others go back to the early and difficult days of our Movement. These values of comradeship and solidarity are the ones that kept us together during our struggle till we realized the CPA.
We need to renew these values to be the basis for our team work as we enter this critical phase of our struggle. I would like to assure you that I will work with them in the spirit of comradeship and trust and within the vision of New Sudan. SPLM can only be strong with our unity and shall only be victorious with spirit of comradeship. Can we stand up all and hold our hands together to symbolize the spirit of our comradeship and let us say loud and clear “SPLM Oyee, Unity Oyee, Comradeship Oyee”.
I would like to use this opportunity to appeal to each and every one of us to forgive each other and to open a new page so that we can focus together into our future and to rise up to the aspirations of our people. We have a lot to loose in our disunity and more to gain in our unity.
3.3. Democratic Transformation and Democracy:
Dear Comrades we have been talking loud about democratic transformation and democracy, it is now high time to walk our talks and away from rhetoric to action. We have no any other option except the path of democracy. I know that sometimes we confuse ourselves by exaggerating the cost of maintaining unity so that we can undermine the democratic process.
If we allow some of us to temper with democratic process in the name of unity then we will be making disservice to our people. Any unity that is based on pillars other than commitment to SPLM principles and respect of democracy and the free will of our people shall be fragile and may produce “Old Sudan” and wars. I truly believe that the basis of our unity is democracy and free will of our people and these are cardinal values that we need to cherish in our party. As we are initially witnessing democratic process based more on ethnic representation than on individual merits, it is a challenge for us of how we can gradually replace ethnic allegiance with that of SPLM. Democracy is a process, not a single event.
Me personally, I am committed to these democratic process within the Party and I hope that in our next meeting of the NC we will have by then a credible and democratic SPLM not only established at all levels but the only ruling party in parts of Sudan.
Also as SPLM, we are committed to conduct fair and transparent general elections as per the provisions of CPA. I am committed to champion the SPLM’s election campaign that shall hopefully result in landslide victory in all parts of Sudan . We must win the forthcoming general election so that we can set Sudan on the path of New Sudan and away from the “Old Sudan”.
3.4. Transparency and Corruption
Besides ensuring democratic transformation, the SPLM is committed to economic transformation that would ensure transparent and efficient management of public resources so that we can provide peace dividends and realize the Millennium Development Goals.
Dear Comrades, I want to assure you that I am adamant to fight corruption not only in the Government of Southern Sudan and the SPLM but also in the Government of National Unity in my capacity as First Vice President of the Sudan . Based on the resolutions of the Interim National Council, I will ensure that all levels and structures of the SPLM to finish the audit of their accounts as basis to improve and ensure prudent financial management of the SPLM meagre resources.
3.5 Party Discipline and Code of Conduct
The issue of the party’s discipline is critical for making our party stronger. Of late we have seen some members in key positions making public statements that are contrary to the vision of the SPLM and even some members decided to undermine the activities and programmes of the SPLM while others directly interfered with the functions and duties of other levels of SPLM.
I would like to reiterate that if these individuals managed to get their ways again into the SPLM key offices, I would strongly advice them to adjust in the new spirit of National Convention and to respect the rules and regulations laid down by the SPLM. Let us be vigilant in identifying those who will rock our boat. The enemy from within is more dangerous than a well known enemy. We have a lot ahead of us and we need not to waste more time in disciplining ourselves.
3.6. Women Rights, Youth and Diaspora Participation
Our commitment to women empowerment has now become a national agenda as it has been adopted by all political parties.
I would like to assure you Dear Comrades that I am not only committed to women empowerment but I will also continue with my noble mission of ensuring as well that women are represented well in the SPLM structures and at all levels of government in Sudan.
Besides women empowerment, I would like to assure you that I am committed to making SPLM young by ensuring active participation of youth in all activities and their adequate representation in the SPLM structure. I am delighted to tell our youth that our Comrade Yien Matthew B. Chol (he is here with us in the hall) has now been released and we expect the rest of our comrades who are illegally detained in various prisons to be released as well.
Diaspora used to be our Seventh Front but now I am giving you another mission. You are now given another task to become our “CPA Watch Dogs” and you are tasked to mobilize international community and peace-loving nations to ensure the implementation of the CPA and to mobilize development assistance for realization of peace dividends. I am delighted that among you, you have Madam Fatima Yusif Kwa Makii, whom I believe will play a critical role in promoting the unity among the Sudanese people in Diaspora, particularly in USA .
3.7. Full Implementation of Abyei Protocol
Lack of implementation of Abyei Protocol is not only a gross violation of the provisions of the CPA and Interim National Constitution, but it is questioning the political will of our partner NCP to the implementation of CPA. If Abyei Protocol is not implemented, the same will happen to general elections, demarcation of North-South border, referendum and popular consultation.
Added to the injury is the current massive displacement of the entire population of Abyei town that became one of the worst provocations and violations of CPA since its signature in 2005. Virtually tens of thousands of civil population, mainly women and children, are uprooted again from their houses and are now in open areas under heavy rains with no shelter, food and water. This human tragedy is caused unfortunately by Sudan Armed Forces Brigade 31 that is illegally present in Abyei town and against the provisions of the CPA. Dear Comrades it is not only Darfur that is burning but Abyei also and we hope it will not reach other areas.
In the same way we condemned the attack on Omdurman , we condemn in the strongest possible terms the gross violations of the human rights in Abyei area. We call not only the immediate redeployment of these forces outside the area but they should be brought before the court of law.
For the aggrieved people of Abyei area, I would like to assure that the SPLM is standing by you and is committed to protect your rights and full implementation of Abyei Protocol.
4. Concluding Remarks:
Dear Comrades, I am extremely delighted that the SPLM 2nd National Convention has ended peacefully with strong sense of unity. The SPLM to all of us is not just a party but it is a life project and commitment.
My key message to all of you Dear Comrades is to your grass root where you came from. Tell them that “SPLM is the only party for a change in Sudan ”. Tell them also that SPLM with their support shall win the forthcoming general elections in 2009.
New Sudan Oyee
Thank you and God Bless You All
Thursday, May 22, 2008
By Lemi Stephen
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