Jemma Nunu Kumba (© facebook)
By Zechariah Makuach Maror
SPLM is one of the best political parties in the world in terms of invented vision and mission yet the fragile political party in the extent of leadership and policies execution. The total frailty of SPLM emerged tenuously after the independence of South Sudan and dragged to total letdown after the appearance of mediocrity in the caliber of Jeema Nunu Kumba, the current Acting Secretary-General. Needless to say, she is just a Patrician at public expense, interested in preserving her status quo in politics in the name of SPLM patriotism.
SPLM as a ruling agency in South Sudan: if its actors were doing a proper job of promoting what it's for, then, presumably, they should have put themselves out of business by now given the time they have killed in power. Over almost fifteen years they should have dealt systematically with the problems that they were established to solve, closed up shop and stopped selling their ideas on the media and allow success to speak for itself as a source of their government lifeline but unfortunately the Development which SPLM fought for passes over the poor people and their villages like the electricity cables soaring overhead.
After independence, SPLM has done no renowned thing to talk of, however. On the contrary, they have managed to stay firmly on the scene despite the rapid appetite for changes that have seized the niche after independence. Neither have they simply, doggedly persisted: the Illuminati of the party have thrived monetarily from year to year with ever bigger government budgets ever passed in hibernating Parliament, more projects on a budget are administered on papers and ever more staffs on ever-expanding redundant government payrolls are in ghosts. The acting secretary-general of the party and her junior staff have employed the tongues to outshine themselves and serve the poor with fables and deception. These staff rank ironically amongst the best-self-paid professionals on what everyone can't hesitate to call looting in broad daylight.
SPLM was/is united not because of unity of purpose in its echelon but because of elites' endless access to power and swag which guaranteed special partnership amongst themselves during normal times, something that often fails to do so during crises. Instead, the identities, norms, and organizational structures forged during periods of sustained violence, and self-interest-driven conflict are a critical source of cohesion—and durability—in party-based authoritarian regimes.
Origins in violent conflict raise the cost of defection and provide leaders with additional aids that can be crucial in maintaining the status quo, even when a crisis threatens the party's hold on power. Hence, the ruling party knowingly or unknowingly created mechanisms of patronage distribution of wealth with the strong identities, solidarity ties, and discipline generated by violent origins that make regimes sensible of weak temperament adoption as a recruitment strategy. No doubt, SPLM is a party that, fittingly enough, has hunted its entire genuine four-legged elephant called South Sudan to extinction.
Recently, South Sudan’s President who doubles as chairman of the party, H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit was reportedly chopped on the Secretary-General, Jemma Nunu Kumba over distortion of the nomination process of the members of the newly formed Reconstituted Transitional National Legislative Assembly (R-TNLA). Some members of parliament who were elected on the ticket of the SPLM party in the 2010's elections were neglected in reconstituted parliament, the act sparked acrimony among the then-elected legislators who peeked revitalized peace agreement to have no rationale to exclude them since it is just a treaty with no legal basis then compromise.
In response to their insistence, the spokesman of SPLM under the directive of the acting secretary general said, the left aside old parliamentarians were not discipline to the party and their claims have no relevance to ARCISS as well as to SPLM strategy framework since 2010’s election is an out-gone event. To me, the narratives are not at itself negligent but lack of political mathematics from someone who once failed in a political rivalry, we all know that the current Secretary-General of SPLM is among the few SPLM candidates who lost seats in the 2010's election, and any attempt to capitalize on 2010's election as a basis of claiming the right could be an insult to her.
In reality, what she doesn't know is that the series of current regime legitimacy originated in the 2010's election. Without that election, there would have never been a Parliament to mandate President Kiir in 2011, 2015, 2018 and 2020 respectively. In other words, if the election of 2010 is of no basis then President Kiir legitimacy is in question, since he was mandated by illegitimate Parliament in 2018 and thus, ARCISS itself was rectified by Parliamentarians who are branded illegal today's. What a big blunder!
Another scenario is that those elected Parliamentarians have a constituency of the people which automatically equates them as people's choice and if you don't prefer people's choice then one is suggesting SPLM not to win the said constituencies again should the election come. On the point of indiscipline, the SPLM according to its code of conduct should have first formed a committee to investigate and punish them based on party internal rules and regulations and not taking away the seats without proving their guilt, the statement of spokesperson has nothing to do clever-ness than just trafficking in failure.
Lack of transparency is another disease the party is enduring; What is apparent to all members of SPLM was, that the list of SPLM nominees to Parliament was not tabled before SPLM executive committee known as Secretaries, it was clandestinely designed by Secretary-General and her associates and everyone must abide by, anyone who will oppose it is risking his/her political future under the sharp Sword of Damocles.
President Kiir was seen willingly striving to get back to the party business after seven years under the ethno-political influence of Jieng Council Elders. Nonetheless, his first attempt was met with fraud and dishonesty from his most trusted for nothing Acting-Secretary-General. The SPLM acting secretary general is among the fewest political elites known for blunder, among the rare capabilities she can excel is persuading President Kiir to appoint her to the position of her choice, apart from the successful appointment is a subsequent failure, from the governorship to more than five to six ministry without a single achievement yet the echo of such failures are still wet behind President Kiir's ears.
The SPLM has lost its prestigious revolutionary respect under the management of Jeema Nunu Kumba, the party has been turned into a Centre of brokers and dealers, some officials in national secretariats have no differences with vendors in the Konyokonyo market, any national public event are always viewed as a source of making pence for the day. Financial scandals in general Secretariats are the order of the day, this has murdered the organ of the party, make the party effective to perform, and the SPLM treasury is rifted off, party resources are directed from the Central Bank to individuals' pockets. Line party officials who have no access to organized looting Bag on other institutions for survival i.e.. Nilepet and so on.
The acting secretary general has created a structural abyss in SPLM; her management types need scholars to re-coin it again, the chains of bureaucracy are best described 'upside down.' Some deputy Secretaries whom she had personally bandages with are more powerful than Secretaries. Some Secretaries reached the point where they take ordinances from juniors who are powerful for the best reason known to the Acting Secretary-general. Brave Secretaries who are intolerant to such a bunch and question the chains of command, end up sent off in the match; arbitrarily suspended when questioning overlapping powers of junior officials.
The weakness of the party acting secretary-General has been discerned as a window of chance for intruders who galvanized SPLM to its state of doom. In the last seven years of conflict, the role and the duties of SPLM to run the State were taken over by a group of disgruntled politicians called Jieng Council of Elder (JCE), while the Secretariat echelon was invaded by NCP-Bushiir's orphans. The groups got the chance due to ineffectiveness and inability of the Acting Secretary-General as a principal, chief executive, and manager of the party. That incompetence was all acknowledged earlier, making some members in the higher echelon initiate Lobonok retreat to restructure the way forward, the event which its resolution later ended up in the dustbin of Nunu Kumba.
The mission of SPLM in summary is to work for the deprived, yet the few elites in Secretariats enjoyed an astonishingly rich and diverse range of perks and privilege. Despite all these they never cease to verbally advocate the cause of the weak and the lowly; paradoxically, however, many amongst those who speak most movingly at the glittering in the SPLM gatherings have acquired great personal power and prestige of wealth and are hopelessly addicted to the trappings of status and authority, they don't want to point out the truth though they had known to be living in their world of impunity. Patricians at public expense, thus have the strongest possible vested interest in preserving a status quo in which government resources continue to flow through their fingers. If the people of South Sudan are not enemies of themselves then such SPLM's extraordinary failure should not go unpunished.
Finally, this article will not rest well in the ears of beneficiaries but what they should know is that, In democratic society where citizens are stakeholders in managing their own affairs, we have the right to know the whole truth about publicly-funded institutions ---- rather than just the partial truths that the bureaucrats who staffed those institutions want us to know.
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