Behind The Headlines with Deng Vanang:Like Huru, Not Yet SPLM’s Re-unification

By Deng Vanang,

Leaders of SPLM Parties, Chairman Salva Kiir and his Deputy for IG, Taban Deng Gai for IO and Deng Alor representing FD at the SPLM-IG Extra Ordinary Convention today in Juba, South Sudan(Photo: file)

Leaders of SPLM Parties, Chairman Salva Kiir and his Deputy for IG, Taban Deng Gai for IO and Deng Alor representing FD at the SPLM-IG Extra Ordinary Convention today in Juba, South Sudan(Photo: file)

Jan 15, 2016(Nyamilepedia) —- Saturday, 9th of January was last day of the three days of SPLM’s First Extra-ordinary Convention. The convention was meant to pass SPLM’s new constitution with changes, both the admissions and omissions, made. New admissions included the incorporation of Arusha agreement into the newly drafted constitution.

The clause standing out prominence in Arusha document is to re-unite the party torn apart by two years’ old devastating military showdown as the result of National Liberation Council’s meet that went terribly wrong. This would allow all the SPLM’s officials to get back to their previous positions they left helter-skelter following violent outbreak of conflict on December 15th 2013.

Other vital clause is to usher in internal structural reforms in the liberation party with good democratic practices inculcated in terms of free and fair elections for all positions thrown up for grabs and constitutionally agreed term limits for office holders respected.

Party’s operations, as the third clause in Arusha agreement admitted, must be independent and delinked from those of the government. But it is the decisions made in the party that should run the latter. And not the Chairman’s kith and kin from his village to come to Juba barefoot where they will throw a cordon around him and force feed him with wrong diets on how to run a functional government and state.

General Taban Deng of IO and Cde Deng Alor of FD factions became initially suspicious to grab an invitation beautifully wrapped and cordially extended to them by SPLM-IG. But Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa as co-guarantor of Arusha accord morally clamped down on them as well as allayed their well-placed fears to attend the hurriedly organized convention since 2008.

Good oratory from him at the convention had electric effects to cool tempers and bring belligerents psychologically closer to each other bosoms. Resultantly, Arusha was indeed incorporated in letter but not in spirit long after Ramaphosa jetted back to his home country, South Africa.

Since there were some missteps that crash-landed the intended re-unification which threw excruciating jabs and blows on the face of the revered South African deputy President of the Republic, ANC party and professional lawyer who helped midwife the non-racial and non-sexist constitution which ushered in the birth of a new rain bow nation back in 1994 after a hundred years of combined armed and non-violent struggle against the apartheid white minority rule..

Signing the approved new document by acclamation into party’s law and subsequently calling upon Taban and Alor from the elated crowd to join him and raise the document high on the podium in photo opportunity, it was too good to be true for SPLM-IG’s supporters but unbelievably jaw dropping to SPLM-IO’s diehards.

Taban fearing to embarrass Chairman Kiir in the latter’s own political backyard should he object joining, had to humbly accept the air renting shouts from SPLM-IG’s ululating crowd to kidnap his conscience and consent for erratic egos of the moment.

FD as always known, is a tiny circus whose membership doesn’t exceed ten fingers with a unique habit of signing anything that comes its way.

Then the bug stopped with General Taban to respond in an hour later to unravel the naked truth.

In his terse press statement to all the media outlets that matter, Taban denounced the so called re-unification as incomplete.

The IO paternity must first study the authenticity before approval and ratification of the highly hyped SPLM’s new constitution by IO’s National Liberation Council, Taban concluded his statement.

That is before IO could take the great leap of faith back into the re-unified SPLM house, sharply divided by issues of good governance and power struggle.

Interestingly, the drama contradicted what Cde Akol Paul, the SPLM-IG’s vocal leader of Youth League, said during the opening session two days before about reining in the endemic corruption.

His remarks renewed the need for finally sending endemic corruption to the tallest of gallows after ten years of empty populist talks on the same without actions accompanying the words. Which is another glaring evidence of what has not changed yet, could there be any at all.

Drama of similar nature quickly followed suit when Chairman Kiir was making his parting remarks to close the three day convention.

The odd was on some of Juba’s residing delegates to the convention sneaking into accommodation full board in city posh hotels without required permission from the acting Secretary – General, Madam Jemma Nunu Kum, who Chairman blamed for not ejecting them out of the said Hotels upon hearing the odd news.

But the culprits were quickly let off the hook courtesy of Chairman’s benevolence, if not his usual reluctance to take on the cancer by its head and tail.

All those interesting episodes are besides the cajoled attendance of smuggled delegates to replace the physically dead, emotionally dejected and politically defected ones that attended the acrimonious 2008 SPLM’s Second National Convention.

A process that has already tented the legality of the passed and signed draft document into law, the SPLM’s new constitution.

Deng Vanang is an author and member of SPLM – IO’s Advance Team to Juba. He is to be reached at: dvanang@gmail.com