Suzanne Jambo is a former South Sudan ruling party official and has vowed to challenge President Salva Kiir in the country’s next general elections.
Suzanne was the first female Sudan People’s National Secretary for External Relations in charge of all SPLM external relations, SPLM relationships with national and foreign political parties, developed South Sudan foreign relations and other related external SPLM affairs and South Sudanese Diaspora.
In December, 2009 and as part of her duties as Foreign Relations Secretary, Suzanne facilitated and assisted in the drafting of the 1st SPLM Foreign Policy (which became South Sudan foreign policy in 2011) and the Diaspora guidelines. Suzanne also acted as a multi-facetted advisor on varied SPLM pertinent foreign and organizational/constitutional and visionary issues to the SPLM Chairman (H.E. the President of the Republic of South Sudan).
In 2010 South Sudan’s 1st General Elections, Suzanne participated in a team of strategists to prepare for the South’s first elections in the capacity of Director for Communications for the SPLM Presidential candidate (H.E. President Salva Kiir). From 2008 to-date, Ms. Jambo is in charge of all SPLM Diaspora organization and unification into becoming one global SPLM family by formulating the Diaspora Guidelines.
Allnet Africa’s Online editor Victor Chipato interviews South Sudanese Presidential Aspirant Suzanne Samson Jambo on her chances of dislodging her former boss, President Salva Kiir, in the forthcoming elections.
Victor Chipato: How are your chances as a woman and former ruling party official in South Sudan’s male dominated political arena?
Suzanne Jambo: The chances of a formidable woman in a male-dominated society, be it in Africa’s youngest and perhaps most militarized and traditionalist society is as tough as perhaps any other African more progressive peaceful country, or western established democracy country as the United States of America (Madam Hilary Clinton is a classic example). However, I am inclined to be motivated by Madam Sirleaf Johnson, the immediate outgoing Liberian president.
Specifically my chances are highest given:
- MAJORITY South Sudanese VOICES WANT and READY FOR CHANGE: They are fed up with the status quo rule of more than 10 years (since 2005-to-date) which has failed to deliver their promises of a freed dignified people. I would like to think I am the Hope and the People’s Servant that all South Sudanese have been yearning for given my over 25 years of public service and 18 years in politics since the war time.
- I am a unifying factor: all South Sudanese are equally fed up with tribalism and nepotism as a way of governance. They’re looking for a credible leader who is ready to unite all tribes of South Sudan. My track record is a nationalist and who has faithfully served all without any favouritism.
- My Party is non-violent: All South Sudanese have suffered more than enough from violence and wars since 1955-1972, 1983-2005 and again 2013-to-date. They all want the change but PEACEFULLY. That’s what I stand for and I do have a people’s-driven comprehensive long-term peace plan.
- Action-oriented leader is needed: I am action-oriented and fully realize the need to deliver services NOW. The people are also equally yearning for a dignified life free of begging, of refuge and internally displacement life. I am here to offer a systematic “the Right Person in the Right Place” and bringing/encouraging our skilled Diaspora including primarily the youth and women in Khartoum Egypt, the USA, Australia, the UK and Europe as well those all over South Sudan who have been side-lined due to their professionalism, their tribes or progressive ideas.
Is South Sudan is ready for a female President and will the electorate accept your candidature?
YES! South Sudan is ready for an overhaul change. Be it a woman leader or man! So long the proposed chosen leader is committed to a just peace, pluralism, multi-diversity in nationalities/ethnicities of all South Sudanese, professionalism, transparent effective national natural resources utilization and equity and justice in every national programme and outlook.
It is a must that president kiir must fully adhere to the proposed general elections in 2018 by immediately opening up all democratic space and guaranteeing basic freedoms of expression, movement and association. The People are in dire need of a peaceful democratic change that will offer peace, justice and development.
In light of the volatile security situation in South Sudan, how do you plan to tackle it and rebrand the country given that thousands of people have been killed and over two million displaced in South Sudan’s conflict triggered by political differences between President Kiir and his former deputy, Riek Machar?
I come with the message of a JUST LASTING PEACE. All South Sudanese including in Greater Upper Nile know the meaning of this.
I shall put in place the mechanisms including local and institutional as well as the national security, police and the army to be pro- a Just lasting and peace. No one shall be targeted because of his/her ethnicity.
We shall utilize every peaceful agents at community levels and fully empower them to continue to work on peace with like-minded local communities and institutions.
I shall introduce the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation system as all levels as well the laws that shall enforce when applicable/need be. The Victims must be encouraged to come forward and be heard. The pain has to heal. No short cut to reconciliation unless we are all fully on board. I realize this will take long, but it is the only guaranteed way to heal and belong to the Nation of South Sudan.
In short what can you say to the people of South Sudan ahead of proposed general elections?
I promise a just lasting peace, healing and reconciliation, justice for all and concrete development based on standard systems as well as our own South Sudanese context. I promise to be the People’s Servant that shall always hear their pains and suffering and ACT. I promise full democracy and multi environment along all levels, cultural, ethnic, economic diversity and an opening to the world on real competitive levels.
Qualitative timely basic social services delivery as security and personal safety, health, water and sanitation, education and skills acquirement to curb adult education and lack of local skills.
erment especially to widows, war orphans (who are now adults), the physically challenged: all are a direct result of the war and selfless sacrifices to free our Country.
Equal opportunities of employment based on merit and competence.
Ensure justice to all including women and the socially excluded communities.
Progress and prosperity to all South Sudanese in all levels including infrastructure that shall link us with East Africa (Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi), Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Djibouti. As well to the rest of Africa in time too.
Victor Chipato is Allnetafrica’s Online Editor with over ten years experience as a journalist.