July 20th 2023 By: Kono Dumo Ukumo –

During the 2010 elections in S. Sudan, the government’s partisan security forces of SPLM harassed,

physically assaulted, beat up and detained nationwide none SPLM political campaigners, political
opponents and their agents who dared to campaign for any other political party. All other political
party’s activities were overtly and covertly restricted and prevented from conducting campaigns, and
their candidates and agents and supporters were physically assaulted and beaten up and invariably
humiliated by the army and national security and police CID whenever any of them dared to defy the
unsafe environment imposed unto the election milieu. It was a real disaster for those who dared to
have a different opinion from that of the SPLM party. It took the rest of the South Sudanese an
additional couple of years to discover and try to resist the oppressive arrogance and domination of the
SPLM. Those who tried resisting the SPLM during the 2010 elections were years ahead of the rest, in
discerning the political direction of that party.
There were two main reasons why the violence directed against other political parties by SPLM security
organs during the 2010 elections did not spiral out of control into a full scale viciousness engulfing the
whole of South Sudan like a wild savannah grassland fire typical of most African elections’ aftermath.
The reasons are;
i) By then SPLM had still enjoyed massive goodwill from most of the South Sudanese population
that had still viewed the SPLM as the savior devil and or a necessary evil for that period. South
Sudanese had not yet seen enough evilness from the SPLM and were therefore willing and ready to
tolerate such breaches.
ii) The South Sudanese were still deeply worried as they watched Omar Hassan Al Bashir dancing
and singing (holding a walking stick) at public rally’s pulpits all over north Sudanese towns. South
Sudanese all over the world watched him and braced themselves with worrisome hearts and weary
eyes, not sure what Bashir had in his sleeves next for the then-upcoming referendum for self-
determination for South Sudanese in 2011.
Today the two reasons mentioned above are no more relevant. More so, disappointment, dismay and
anger cropped up and flared sky high and exponentially against atrocities and blatant arrogance and
savageries committed by SPLM officials. Examples are the legendary arrogance of the long-serving
government spoke person Michael Makuei Lueth and the extra judiciary dealings and killings
perpetuated by government’s security organs and security operatives. They squarely turn ethnic in
their dealings and engagements and retribution campaigns directed against the citizens. Not to
mention the astronomic and unprecedented scale of corruption, ethnically motivated discrimination
in national government institution’s opportunities, skewed and loop-sided implementation of the rule
of law. The rule of law was made meticulously none-impartial.
Again, not to mention the daily ruthlessness at the many illegal road blocks which are ethnically
manned, daily brutalities and brutal lies, sheer cruelty and an unprecedented scale of impunity for
governments and SPLM-related criminals. Criminals and crimes became and remained celebrated
celebrities, glorified and rewarded. Huge billboards of such celebrity criminals are put up across Juba
city highways – greeting the president. Personality cult is deliberately created for criminal figures while
honest citizens, honesty and industriousness are not only feared and frowned upon but severely
punished and banished.
The factor of anger and frustration and clarity of vision of the citizens of what they expect of a
government renders today (2023) and 2024 very different from the 2010 elections. Should SPLM
security agents and security operatives of the police CID, SSPDF Military Intelligence and the National
security start physically assaulting and beating up political opponents this time round, violence may
erupt in a blink of an eye and South Sudan may go up in flame and full civil war that may engulf the
nation in a matter of hours, More especially if the national security retain the power to arrest and if
the Military Intelligence (M.I) adamantly maintains and continues with its illegal habit of illegal arrest
of members of civilian population.
I am unsure if the SPLM’s SSPDF has enough tanks and armored vehicles and enough national security
units to roll out in all the streets of the 10 states’ capitals and the thousands of polling stations that
would be operating simultaneously across the country. More so, note that every individual in South
Sudan today is armed to the teeth, including communities which were known to be very peaceful and
It is true South Sudanese citizens have been completely terrified by scorch-the-earth campaigns
perpetuated against civilian villages by the SPLM’s SSPDF since 2013 to date and would hardly willingly
opt for or readily entertain rebels or rebellions in their localities. Also, Riek Machar, Johnson Olony,
the writer of this article Kono Dumo, David Yau Yau and Dau Aturjong might have tested or seen and
gotten scared of the deprivation and the difficulties that come alongside being a rebel. They have now
gotten hold of and are used to the sweet privileges and pleasures that come with joining even a bad
government, as bad as this one here.
Nonetheless and mind you there are still hundreds of thousands of hot-blooded and not very cool-
headed young men born after 2004 and have not yet experienced the pain of being a rebel. It would
take a couple of angry older ones (leaders) to head to the vast bushes and thickets of South Sudan and
they would be joined by thousands of hungry, angry and not-well-groomed idle-minded youths. Let
me not mention Pagan Amum Okeech and Thomas Cirillo Swaka who are still simmering with rage in
our sub-Saharan bushes and savannah heat and rainy thunders. Paul Malong Awan is also still
wallowing (and hopefully soul-searching) in the wilderness and brothels of Nairobi.
Any electoral violence or sustained security threat against the safety of members of the public and
members of the other political parties (including IO and SSOA), may likely result in swelling in the ranks
and files of the mentioned hold-out folks. Some of us know for sure, SPLM partisan security forces and
SPLM security operatives will not fail to do that. That is what they are good at doing – ever forcing their
colleagues and citizens to be rebels. It pays to do that as we shall see later toward the end of this
Worse still this same SPLM government and its security organs and security operatives are apparently
inherently not yet ready to allow room for a credible, free and fair election in S. Sudan. Recent remarks
by Western Bahr El Ghazal Deputy Governor Zachariah Wiil Joseph Garang during SPLM women
league’s baguette in Wau tells the world what magnitude of violence awaits South Sudanese citizens
should any political party or individual citizen dare to have different political aspiration. Zachariah
Wiil`s language tells us how dangerous it is for any South Sudanese citizen to have hopes beyond the
bleak and grim ones of the SPLM party.
It is worth noting that often during unguarded moments in the many social media group discussions
and informal political discourse, cadres of the SPLM (more often) promise hell on earth to those who
would dare stand up to express different opinions, more so during the much-anticipated 2024
elections. The writings are on the wall.
Add to that is the fact that, except for a few barely functional command positions, most of the security
forces and security operatives’ composition and orientation remain largely none representatives of
the national composition and ideals, but partisan, belonging to the SPLM party. They would, therefore,
ensure methodical harassment of ‘political opponents’ and shall relentlessly work to ensure unlevelled
ground and ensure grossly unfair, none free and none credible elections in 2024. Ensuring complete
sabotage of the 2024 election’s credibility is so far a collective responsibility that will even include
central arms of the government such as the judiciary. South Sudan Chief Justice Chan Reec was recently
sighted actively participating in SPLM party political campaigns in Wau the capital city of Western Bahr
Ghazal State (WBGS).
Add to that, the civil servant’s salaries will never come again. Not even after seven (7) or eight (8)
months. The civil servant`s salary budget line will be crossed off and out of the list of the national
budget items, and will be nonexistent, no big deal. All the money will find itself in individual pockets
of individual generals as adorned and decorated security budget. Only a fraction of that security budget
will be used to facilitate bloody looting trips and series of sprees of raids and rapes in the civilian
villages. That is why and how the SPLM partisan army and its affiliated security operatives often force
their colleagues and many good citizens to be rebels.
The motivation to force people to be rebels is free sprees of looting trips to the civilian villages and
filling stomachs once-in-a-while with looted food and filling the pockets of the commands with huge
lump sums of security budget that is prohibited to account for. All the generals including their
commander in chief have nothing to lose and everything to gain when there are rebels in the bush.
Full stomachs once-in-a-while for men and bulging pockets with a decorated security budget for the
army command and political leadership down to state governors.
I attest that for us in our Jieng language of Rek of Greater Bahr El Ghazal region, there is a saying by
some unscrupulous members, that «Tong Anong yic kueth» (which translates as ‘in war or during
wartime there is an opportunity to fill bellies or stomachs’ – with food). That is the predicament of
South Sudan and the philosophy behind most of the violent politicking and ethnic violence and civil
wars in South Sudan.
This article serves to highlight the fact that conducting elections in 2024 is akin to sentencing South
Sudan back into another overwhelming bloody violent civil war in 2024. Pushing the election ahead
through yet another extension is postponing an imminent very bloody war. Postponing another bloody
civil war for a few more months or years is for sure the preferred option than having the war right now
in 2024.
For the election to be credible, free and fair in today’s or tomorrow’s South Sudan, all security forces
and government security operatives must be made professional, nonethnic and nonpartisan, but
national in composition, functions and ideals. Professional, nonethnic and impartial security forces is
the most crucial prerequisite for a safer, free and possibly credible elections. All the other lists of items
which are often put forward as required to be in place before credible elections may be secondary.
Or else we should live under a one-party dictatorship than to go back to a full fledge civil war where
partisan armies and militia would be unleashed unto villages to loot food, which the government
couldn’t provide for its party forces, and rape elderly women and nine to eleven years young girls. We
may need to just be patient and wait. There is an end time for everything. That time seems not very