Report on the Aweil Community Association’s 7th Annual Conference
The 7th annual convention of Aweil community in the USA commenced on 25th, 26th November 2006 in Omaha, Nebraska-
USA. The conference was attended by H.E. Mr. John Ukec, the Sudanese ambassador, and Mr.Fatah Al –Rahman, a Sudanese diplomat from the Sudanese embassy in Washington.
The convention was officially opened & addressed by the out going president, Mr.Riakriak garang, H.E., Mr. John ukec, the Sudanese ambassador, Mr. kuc Majok kuc, the former president of the Aweil community association, Mr.Fatah Al- Rahman , a Sudanese diplomat , and numerous other dignitaries from the community.
The speech of the president was general, covering all the activities, without stressing on one important issue of the hour. Also, there were no brochures distributed to help in facilitating the follow up process. The financial report was read out as well, although some parts of it were not clear. It was divided into three parts vis-à-vis income, expenditures and liquid cash which totaled $ 9000.
Thumb up! It was a great job! This indicated that a great effort had been exerted and the result was wonderful. Also, some generous donations were made by his Excellency Mr. John Ukec Lueth- $ 2000, Miss Akual Ukec, the spouse of the ambassador- $ 1000, Mr. Kuc Majok Kuc- $200. A collection of $ 800 was also collected from the general public. The whole amount came down to $4000.
The honoring of the ambassador went as smoothly as it was planned. Aweil’s women & ladies prepared beautiful traditional robes (melaya) & clothed which the ambassador wore with delight. The Sudanese diplomat, Mr. Fatah Al- rahman was dressed with traditional clothes as well. The whole process was remarkable as it was the first time a Northern diplomat a attended and participated fully in southern Sudanese convention in the United
State. The ambassador assured the citizens & promised to solve their social and economic problems. He also mentioned finding some scholarships for Sudanese students residing in the US. He made a very generous donation to the community as highlighted above.
If we compare this tremendous job to 2004 convention, which, in essence, laid down the foundation, we can realize that a great job has been done. Aweil people in the United States and beyond should appreciate this fabulous job. We hope that the succeeding leaderships will add an extra strength to this annual event instead of turning the community clock back. In this regard, Aweil people should also be advised to learn to appreciate the work of their leaders. I was not quite impressed with the conduct demonstrated during election which I will elaborate on shortly. This is a voluntary job; it consumes a lot of energy, time and money so those who take up the challenge to lead the community should be appreciated instead of being ridiculed.
The meeting was also attended by the famous singer, Lady, Ms Nyankol Mathiang from Canada, who spent the night entertaining Aweil people, audiences and guests. She sang heartedly to Aweil people and promised them that she was going to release a new album about Aweil .So pleased stay tuned and expect a great song about Aweil by Nyankol Mathiang.
The atmosphere of the conference was wonderful, there was no incidence involving Bullying or disruption of the meeting. The meeting went quiet smooth which made everybody happy and grateful to the organizers. Our ladies did a great job! The food was well prepared, delicious and enough for everybody. Many thanks to our ladies, our good God will bless them all so that each occasion finds them healthy and ready to provide similar services.
Thump up for the organizers as well. The organizers seemed to have added an extra effort. The conference place was nice, clean and well organized. The accommodation was in the same hotel, which actually cut down most of the expenses. The services were up to date--- such job is tremendous, so all contributors deserve our appreciations for a job well done. This level of commitment should serve as an example to those who will organize the next convention.
As I mentioned earlier, the whole problem of the conference was in the election. It seemed that most of the candidates came only to be presidents, and nothing else, but presidents. The focus of each individual was how to win and become the 5th president. It appeared that each individual wanted to start from secondary school; no one was ready to start from grade, and accept whatever position was available. Candidates seemed to have forgotten that leadership requires qualification which is a basis for quality governance.
Thus, some candidates were so notorious and wanted the electoral commission to go by their own self imposed rules, and guidelines, or else, election should not take place. Some of the candidates used vulgar words, something that did not augur well with the minimum requirements expected from a community leader. One major problem was that some states had sent two candidates, which was a clear violation of the ACA constitution- which states that each state has to send one representative to the board of coordinating council. Those states, which sent two representatives, were Arizona, Virginia, and Illinois. Those extra candidates caused great havoc to the electoral commission, a fact that delayed the election for 48 hours. Thank God the voice of modest won at last, and we had an office in place!
The election process was conducted according to the ACA guideline, which was read out at the request of one of the candidates. The 19 candidates and the seven electoral commission members were present in the election room, and the door was locked. The first day was consumed by a heated debate, and the election was not conducted. In the second day of the meeting, the committee decided that no more discussion was to be allowed on issues that did not pertain to the voting process. The floor was opened for nomination, so Mr. Gabriel Ngong Ngong and Mr. Aken Kual Aken nominated themselves for the presidency, but Mr. Aken changed his mind and walked out with Tito Achak, when instructed by Lual Dau to do so. Therefore, Mr. Gabriel Ngong was declared unopposed president. The vice president, Mr. Atak Mawein came unopposed as well. The position of the General Secretary was contested by two candidates: Mr. Deng Diing who scored six votes and Mr.Deng Tem Kuac, who scored eight votes, so Deng Tem was declared a winner. The position of the Secretary for Finance was won by Mr. Yel Paulino, and the position of women representative was won by Madam, Nybol Achour. However, the president was asked to fill the rest of the vacancies at later time.
Consciously, the glimpse of hope on which the community was based upon, seemed to be fading away. Some members are carried away from the principles, and turning the community into a personal dream, instead of focusing on collective leadership. Sections, clans and egoism seemed to be protruding with its ugly head, and soon it will consume the hopes and dreams of Aweil people if it is not confronted in the bud.
The system of election needs to be amended to allow more regulations and guidelines to be put in place, in order for the community to remain strong and serve the purpose for which it was founded. The electoral system which was thought to be modest needs more scrutiny and thorough deliberation. It is ok for every State to delegate a representative, but the chairperson should be elected by popular vote after which he/she can go and form the executive from the state representatives.
In conclusion, I would like to thank and congratulate Aweil people, who made it possible to have this wonderful convention! H.E Mr. John Ukec Lueth, the Sudanese Ambassador for US, Mr. Fatah Al- Rahman, the Sudanese diplomat, ladies, youth, organizers, the outgoing executive, and above all , the out going chairperson, Mr. Riakriak Akok Garang, who deserved to be praised for quality leadership he demonstrated and portrayed in running of the daily affairs of the community for the last two years. Thank you.
Mr. Kuc Majok Kuc
Tel: (585) 458-1993