Change of political allegiance is normal but not good for democracy

Change of political allegiance is normal but not good for democracy

South Sudan is currently wading through a political season marked by mass defections as politicians try to align themselves ahead of the forthcoming general election.

The ruling party, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), is a foot ahead of the rest in wooing new members to their side.

Last week alone, SPLM-IO and Kitgwang lost over 100 members to the SPLM.

Other parties are folding or joining forces with the rest as an apolitical alignment takes shape ahead of the December 2024 polls.

Gen. Johnson Olony, the leader of the Agwelek Forces, is currently in Juba. He is expected to meet President Salva Kiir in the next couple of days to chart the way forwards to ending the longstanding violence that has plagued development in the Upper Nile State.

Though the agenda of the talks has been kept secret from the public, Olony let the cat out of the bag when he revealed that he will soon “return to Malakal and work with the state governor”. While it is hard to conclude that he is defecting, politically, one may say that he is aligning himself strategically for the forthcoming election.

President Kiir has been appealing to holdout groups to drop the guns and join the government in Juba in the search for lasting peace, the peace that we all long for.

The fact that some of these forces, who once fought the state, are joining the government is a step in the right direction if the country is to move forwards. We implore those who have yet to heed the president’s plea to do so.

What, however, should not be encouraged, is the possible silent ‘killing’ of opposition parties.

The opposition is there to put the government in check for better service delivery to the people.

Wooing members of the opposition is nothing but killing any dissenting voices, albeit democratically.

South Sudan should strive to have a stronger opposition to help the government deliver services to the people. We need good roads and clean, running water at the taps. Our children need quality education and a functioning healthcare system.

For the government to deliver all these, it needs an external force to keep pushing.

This, however, cannot be achieved if we ‘kill’ the opposition. 

South Sudan has come a long way, and the recent gains and commitment by President Kiir to open up political space should not be watered down by personal interest.