by Deng Kur Deng
Many people define Bortown as a “key town” and also as a “historical city” in South Sudan, and as such, we must incorporate certain rights to respect. Under the South Sudanese government, Nhial Majak became the first Mayor of Bortown from since 2012 until 2015. Even with his appointment and the recommendation from high level leaders, Nhial also had a strong base among young people abroad and at home.
After Nhial stepped down, there has been an uproar among those who are interested in filling his shoes. Personally, I don’t know exactly what procedures were followed to bring Nhial on board as Mayor, so I will not speculate about how that process works. But in terms of the candidates themselves, I feel much more entitled to speak my mind. We have heard many recommendations made by various individuals and even communities endorsing certain people, but we have yet to hear what they are basing their recommendations on. But there is one thing I am certain about: Even if you, your mother, and your father all agree that you should be the next Mayor, you must also know that these three votes of confidence are not enough to get you into office. This is a serious position, and it should only be pursued by an individual who takes it seriously.
If you are only popular among your immediate family, how can you secure the position of Mayor of a town that is quite diverse and over populated? You must build your reputation with the people, and if you have never bothered to branch out from your family, then putting you in office would be a biggest mistake. Looking back at the names I have heard of potential mayoral candidates, I feel it is appropriate to deny people who have no merit in regard to the position; you should only be allowed to run if you have political—or at least leadership—experience. To seek office through your mother and father is an ignorant approach. It is a distortion, misleading of what people believe collectively.
We the people have the right to vote for our leaders. As such, some of us feel compelled to ask Michael Makuei to protect us from corruption and let us choose a leader who is not solely endorsed by his parents—a clear sign of naiveté or, at worst, corruption. Many visible signs of corruption are preventable. It is quiet depressing to learn about how organized crime takes root early on, but now that we know, we must protect ourselves. We cannot rely on leaders who use their own mothers and fathers to navigate the political system.
In order for us to build a prosperous society, we must start to embrace democracy in the right format. This idea of skipping procedures is unacceptable, and therefore, it must be characterized as a deceptive tactic. Those who are using this vague process must be discouraged, because they are not independent in terms of decision making—some of which are very complex and complicated to carry out. If you rely on a handful of people to get you into the office, then in all likelihood, you do not have the proper understanding of development, education, roads, health, security, and other people’s needs.
I want to find a leader who is trustworthy, who has integrity. Among all of these applicants are those who are not entitled to hold the office because they relatively have no experience in terms of leadership. Some of those who lack experience serving our communities are seeking the office of Mayor for reasons only known to them and their families—and those families are the only ones supporting those applicants.
This idea of parents recommending their children for public office is honestly a true problem. Even if you are not interested, but your mother has high expectations and hopes about your leadership skills, it still comes down to you. You must know whether you are the right fit for the job —not because your parents want it to happen, or because your family thinks you’re a good fit. No, you have to recognize that the office is for you.
Interestingly enough, these kinds of familial recommendations are the reason why we may have so much corruption, which is ingrained or rooted among family members, whose sons and daughters are in the positions of holding public office. The egomaniacal and self-centered attitudes from families are not suitable for public office. However, we have yet to learn if any of the candidates have built a relationship with communities.
Recently, some of us were shocked to learn that some are recommending their son(s) as Mayor just for the hell of it without putting into consideration their experience. How could this be possible in our current time? How do you go to President Kiir and ask for your son or brother to be a leader of our very own town without popular political vote.
This infamous strategy of going to Kiir for something that belongs to us might give the wrong impression. When do we make decisions on things that belong to us. These false expectations from the President must be fully addressed head-on in our back yard. Our people have been ensnared into this unexpected strategy of intended to “welcome” our leaders. It is very unthinkable. Why can you have an independent mind and decide what is appropriate for you and our communities.
This article was written by Deng Kur Deng, AKA, Raanmangar. You can reach him at: firstname.lastname@example.org