Too Many Parties Are Dangerous

" patterns inevitably still generally reflect ethnic and other primordial loyalties rather than a true exercise in democratic preferment."

By Jacob Lado Michael

(Gurtong-edited) -A political party generally refers to an organization that mobilizes voters on behalf of a common set of interests or ideologies. Twenty two or more political parties are too many for a country like Southern Sudan so it can be reduced to maximum of four major national parties that can mobilizes or educate potential voters of their platforms.

Again most of those parties probably share similar objectives and ideologies which most of them can either merge, align or forge an alliance purposely to reduce the number and to be more effective. 

Political Parties play an important role in political life by setting policy agendas, nominating candidates for public office, monitoring the work of elected representatives and organizing and directing human and material resources toward a common goal. While political parties must compete during legislative elections, once represented in parliament, political parties must adopt ways to work together.

In South Sudan, parties have grown around a particular leader or leaders or as the outgrowth of an ethnic movement just to change the governing system not to deliver promises during their election campaign, leave alone to implement their objectives or ideologies. These parties face taught challenges of developing and solidifying a party identity and constituency and developing even party`s discipline within the legislature. These parties in the legislature may have little experience in being held accountable to voters and may have few resources to establish internal party structures to organize themselves and become a democratic entity within a state.

The main aim of the most parties here are to quickly stand for election without even be in touch with its grassroots, that means without creating sense of trust with many voters in different states of South Sudan, hoping that his/her educational credentials may automatically uplift his/her personal political objectives.

Thus, voters who follow such leaders can vote without choice. In societies already rooted by ethnic and social cleavages, and with no clear political platform presented to voters, voting patterns inevitably still generally reflect ethnic and other primordial loyalties rather than a true exercise in democratic preferment.

In the minds of majority of the people in South Sudan, specially at this critical situation that most of our people are married with poverty, no one likes to see the test of a functioning of democratic system once every four, five or even ten years or many parties as sign of democracy, but in how the running of government affect their daily lives in terms of basic needs such as education, health services, security, food security, employment and etc.

In South Sudan, it is hard to say that the voice of the people is a determining factor in the formation of policy even if we have thousands of parties.  In the current one party system for almost six years, most states in South Sudan are unable to offer even the most basic services to their people leave alone twenty three party systems which will make it more worse with some ministers from other parties will only get paid after they have polished Mr President`s shoes.

Four or less party system can only be the one to ensured that governance should not exclude the spirit of democracy such as popular elections, freedom of speech and other basic human rights, the rule of law and accountability.

Of course, this system should also guarantee popular access to the basic social and economic needs of the people and move them in the direction of democratic empowerment. It is this that will encourage citizens to identify with and develop a stake in the survival of the system.

Disadvantages of too many parties in Southern Sudan:
Southern Sudan Legislative assembly probably have a provision somewhere in the constitution that authorize our government to provide public funding to fund political parties but with the limited revenue we have, our government will not be able to provide public funding to all these twenty two or more parties to run their activities, hence to be frank some parties have poor members that cannot afford to sustained their financial subscription every month or annually. Thus, some parties may use this as excuse to solicit funds from an enemy or if one of their members gets chance to be in position then may supply its party by using corruption to fund their events.

Giving public fund to twenty two or more political parties to run their activities means enriching those party leaders while neglecting schools and hospitals because at the end of the day they will not even listen to their voters demands.

Favouritism can occur especially those in power to their relatives who are leaders of some parties and these leaders if favoured can become a stooge to the government instead of implementing their party`s objectives. If all or a substantial amount of the party income comes directly from the State rather than from voluntary sources, political parties risk losing their independence and become organs of the State, thereby losing their ties to the civil society.

With these twenty two parties target audience with be segmented base on their ethnic groups or personal loyalty rather than geographic or demographic segmentation.

1.Constitutional Review committee should recommend that these parties are reduced to maximum of four national parties.
2.There shall be eligibility criteria to register a political party in Southern Sudan.
3.There shall be a Southern political party’s council to oversee registrations and funding of these four big parties.
4.This council must be natural body not bias and popularly understand political nature of our country.
5.Every political party prior to registration and annually must declare its financial sources and its bank account must be in any South Sudan financial institution.
6.Any political party shall not receive funding from governments that are considered a threat to the national security of our sovereign state.
7.Party’s` activities must be limited to a political one not military activities.
8.Political party must not aligned itself with army offices. Thus, army must defend national security from foreign attack 

Jacob Lado Michael

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