Opening Statement by Comrade Pagan Amum Okiech, SPLM Leaders (Former Political Detainees) 20th, October, 2014, Arusha, Tanzania

Your Excellency, Ndugu Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, President of the United Republic of Tanzania and Chairman of Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM),

Your Excellency, Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit, President of the Republic of South Sudan and Chairman of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM),

Your Excellency, Dr. Riek Machar Teny, First Deputy Chairman of the SPLM,

Mzee John Samuel Malecela, Former Prime Minister and Former Deputy Chairman of CCM and Chairman of this Intra-SPLM Dialogue,

Excellencies, the Secretary General of CCMand the Foreign Minister of Tanzania,

Honourable Delegates from the SPLM divided family,

The last four political detainees, Oyai Deng Ajak, Pagan Amum, Majak Agot and Ezekiel Lol Gatkouth booing the kangoro court before their release in April, 2014(Photo: file)

The last four political detainees, Oyai Deng Ajak, Pagan Amum, Majak Agot and Ezekiel Lol Gatkouth booing the kangoro court before their release in April, 2014(Photo: file)

Ladies and Gentlemen,

October 23, 2014(Nyamilepedia) — On behalf of the SPLM Leaders, who were detained following the crisis of December 15th, 2013 for calling for reforms and internal democracy within the party and on my own behalf, I take this opportunity to thank Ndugu Chairman of CCM for extending his solidarity by convening this Intra-SPLM dialogue in the beautiful city of Arusha.  We wholeheartedly appreciate this facilitation by CCM and the support of Crisis Management Initiative (CMI).  Offering the SPLM family this forum and a conducive environment for dialogue is like extending a ladder to somebody who has thrown himself/herself in a deep pit.  Unless we choose to get out of the pit by climbing up, the ladder alone will not get us out.  Therefore, we must climb the ladder provided to us by CCM in order to come out of the abyss we have landed ourselves into.

Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates,

The Secretary General of CCM, Ndugu Abdulrahman Kinana, wisely made it clear the other day that their support and solidarity is out of historical commitment to support and help the African Liberation Movements mend their differences and heal their rifts whenever that occurred, without unhealthy interference.  CCM is making it clear that it shall not diagnose our ailment and problem.  In other words, CCM will not give the SPLM a prescription or a recipe but rather it provides only a forum, a conducive environment and the moral encouragement for us, the SPLM leaders, to take advantage and the courage to accept the reality that we have the responsibility, in fact a collective responsibility, for the current crisis in the country.  This crisis, as we all know, emanated from failure of leadership, resulting in differences among the top SPLM leaders.

Therefore, we must admit this fact and discuss it during the dialogue when we resume in November with open minds and hearts so as to correct ourselves and agree to recommit to the core values and fundamental principles of our Movement.  Let us courageously recognize that we have lost direction and have deviated from the vision of the SPLM.  We have fundamentally gone wrong, divided ourselves and have thrown the country into chaos.  However, it is human to err and fall, the greatest of human spirit is in correcting oneself and rising up from the fall. By admitting such facts, our hearts will be ready to reconcile the differences and heal our self-inflicted wounds.  To do this successfully, we have to move away from finger pointing and blame game and go beyond our egos and fears.  Let us leave judgment to history but for now let us focus our energies in resolving the current crisis by reuniting the divided SPLM family so as to rescue the country from falling into total chaos and disorder.

Finally, inspired by the spirit of Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, the founding father of this peaceful and united nation and by the vision of our founding father and hero, Dr John Garang De Mabior, who dreamt of a new and just society at peace with itself and with its neighbors, a common wealth united in its diversity; inspired by this spirit, let us launch this process of the Intra-SPLM Dialogue in order to return the party to its glory and provide collective visionary leadership to the people of South Sudan in this second phase of state and nation building.  We, the SPLM Leaders (Former Political Detainees), are certain that the SPLM vision shall come to fruition.  As SPLM committed cadres, we will engage in this dialogue with open hearts and minds in order to reunite the SPLM and realize its vision of a free, peaceful and prosperous South Sudan.

Oh God bless South Sudan!

SPLM Oyee!

CCM Oyee!

Thank you.

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