By Clement Maring Samuel
Nov 30, 2017(Nyamilepedia) —– Inbuilt-prejudices among the top SPLM leaders brought the current socio-economic and political turmoil in the country. The SPLM (SPLM-IG, SPLM-IO, SPLM-FDs) is entirely responsible for this malady. During the time they work as one ruling party, they invested energies in nursing past grievances instead of resolving their grievances, and they careless of the people of South Sudan.
Today, members of SPLM-IG and SPLM-FDs masquerades themselves as angels of light while portraying Riak Machar (SPLM-IO) as angel of darkness. The truth is evident; all SPLMs have participated in the longstanding grievances between them which ruin proper establishment of the post-referendum South Sudan. Among these grievances are hidebound ethnic rivalries between Salva Kiir and Riak Machar which put the country into jeopardy. No any single SPLM wing is an angel, all of them are devils.
After ascending to power in 2005, the SPLM undermined the role of reconciliation within the party to heal wounds of the past. Instead, they consolidated their grips by recruiting the weeds of the NCP destroy SPLM’s legacy. Those infiltrators deliberately exerted efforts to separate Riak Machar from Salva Kiir by planting seed of hatred and tribalism to keep them apart and promote their agenda. The likes in form of the JCE are insinuating a false notion that if Riak Machar is released from house arrest in South Africa, his presence in South Sudan will be a threat to Peace and Regional instability. But already the Region is suffering from the huge influx of refugees into their countries, and this is because of the threats caused by the evil leaders in the country. If at all there are people who are causing instability in the region, they are the regional leaders themselves because they are endued with personal interest other than peace in South Sudan. The bigger blame goes to the SPLM leaders because they refused to reconcile among themselves.
The only reconciliation that President Salva Kiir committed himself to do was that of 2006 with the Southern military challengers like late Paulino Mathiep and other powerful military leaders of the SSDF whom the SPLM thought were the major threats to disorganize the referendum of the South, while undermining their own grievances as members of the SPLM who came from the bush. The last reconciliation was in 2004 in Rumbek between late Garang and Salva Kiir, simply because of Garang’s selfless interest in using SPLM party and SPLA as instruments to intimidate other SPLM leaders who want to exercise their political rights to ascend to power.
Unfortunately after filling the vacuum, president Kiir who became the new chairman of SPLM, Vice President Riak Machar who was the first deputy chairman, Speaker James Wani Igga who was the second deputy chairman, and Pagan Amum Okiech who filled the powerful position as Secretary General of SPLM, became the big four to decide on party matters. They forgot to settle their past grievances and threw the SPLM party into dustbin in deception that things were fine, whereas not. This deception is justified by outbreak of 2013 SPLM differences which resulted into political deadlock in the country. Some of them held Riak Machar as a culprit of the 1991 massacre; yet, they could not take any step to resolve those differences with him in the party. It was Rebecca Nyandeng, the widow of late Garang among the SPLM members who shoulder the responsibility to reconcile with Riak Machar on the grievances of 1991crisis. The reason might be a hidden agenda of the Bor SPLMs to use Riak Machar as a channel to advance their political agenda. Whether, there is ulterior motive or not, the truth is that Rebecca Nyandeng had taken a bold lead to reconcile with Riak Machar, but where are the men?
However, that was a partial reconciliation, because the gravity of 1991 crisis was neither an inter-personal problem, nor an inter-communal problem, but political, could have been resolved by all SPLM leaders. But they allowed the grievance to germinate in their hearts and held Riak Machar culpable when all of them are responsible. The SPLM maintained an elusive unity which was proven wrong in 2013, when some comrades within SPLM aspire for the leadership of the party; brought resistance by president Kiir who resorted to violence using the SPLA. In effect, the SPLA was not detached from the SPLM; the army was supporting individual members of the SPLM other than the constitution and the people of South Sudan.
The SPLM leaders forgot their fellow comrades and adopted the NCP politics of betraying their comrades in pursued of favor and allegiance. Some SPLM leaders like James Wani Igga and Nhial Deng Nhial are playing scavenger-politics in the party than offering substantive programs. Michael Makwei Lueth is behaving like a wolf that is looking for someone to devour. Pagan Amum Okiech did not provide a reconciliatory program to reconcile the party members. John Luk Jok acted like an orphan calf that is looking for an udder to milk; his situated compelled him to create the worst constitution in the world.
The basis of the John Luk’s constitution was developed on the grounds of political loyalty and reward in return. The other reason was personal hatred and phobias towards some SPLM leaders like Riak Machar and powerful elected Governors like Clement Wani, Chol Tong Mayai, Joseph Bangasi Bakosoro, and Taban Deng Gai in an effort to deal with internal challengers and leave the weak to sing the praise songs that uplift the president all the time.
That selfish constitution of John Luk was deliberated and passed under speakership of James Wani Igga. James Wani Igga was not neutral; he was salivating for the vice president’s position because he was nursing internal grievance with Riak who took his position in the bush. He was waiting for that opportunity and uses his position to kick Riak Machar out of vice-presidency. His vested interest in the seat of the vice-president unruffled members of the National parliament to pass a discriminatory constitution that gave the President excessive powers to swim at wish and started ruling by decree. He then started to exercise his powers by sacking the entire cabinet including vice president Riak Machar and powerful elected Governors, and he did not sack himself as if he was the only elected person. This brought stiff political rift within the party. John Luk Jok, Michael Makwei and James Wani Igga are responsible for enacting a constitution that is compatible with terrorists’ activities. The suitable place to punish those selfish SPLM leaders is Guantanamo Bay.
The president implements what the parliament gave him in silver plate. Those SPLM leaders: Michael Makwei Lueth, John Luk Jok and James Wani Igga had compromise their authority in favor of complacent-sycophancy. Sadly, the consequence of their selfish act not only affects the SPLM party but all people in the country. However, the good part was the dramatic exercise of the constitution by the president who used it to hit John Luk Jok on his head, and that weaned the orphaned calf from milking the precious udder and ended the art of sycophancy.
Today SPLM-FDs is forging alliance with the SPLM-IG following the Cairo SPLM reunification meeting minus the SPLM-IO. The duo alliance is following the same mistake that John Luk did by creating a terrorist constitution. It is the same approach like the deal between Taban Deng Gai and Salva Kiir who connived to kick Riak Machar out of TGoNU in 2016, and the result of their selfish motive accelerated the war to current stage. The implication of such selfish deal prolongs the war and creates much suffering to the people. I think the senior SPLM leaders are curse, any attempt to deviate from the revitalization process of the ARCSS is condemned in the strongest terms and shall lead to fatal collapsed like Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe.
The senior SPLM leaders in all their splinters need to understand that the world has shifted focus from era of chaos to peace and development. The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) ended 30 years of development in 2015, South Sudan lagged behind because of the conflict. It is now two years where the member countries of the United Nations (South Sudan inclusive) are implementing the ratified Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Goal number 16 of the SDGs calls for a member country to promote “peace, justice, and strong institutions”. It is high time to drop personal and political ambitions in favor of peace for development. It will take South Sudan another 30 years of lagging behind if the SPLM splinter groups continue playing Cats-Mice politics in South Sudan. The SDGs’ duration is 30 years, and two years of development in South Sudan is robbed by the current conflict because of the stubbornness of the SPLM leaders.
The ARCSS failed because there was lack of confidence between the SPLM team of Salva Kiir and the SPLM team of Riak Machar while the SPLM team of Pagan Amum (SPLM-FDs), were forging their way to grasp the leadership. It is not bad to take the leadership of the country, but it should not be done in the expense of the people who have suffered enough. The SPLM team under Kiir is not interested in implementation of the revitalized ARCSS, they favor the national Dialogue. In collusion with Taban Deng Gai, president Kiir delayed the formation of the 2016 TGoNU government, to kick Riak Machar far away from Juba so that Taban Deng should be rewarded for political betrayal. The SPLM-FDs are on the same spot, and these SPLM comrades, Taban Deng Gai, John Luk Jok, James Wani Igga and Michael Makwei Lueth think only of political survival other than the suffering of the people of South Sudan.
Since all the key SPLM leaders, are responsible for the crisis in the country, they should stop the blame game and swallow the bitter pill together, enter into the revitalization process together, and form the transitional government of national unity to prepare for the elections. When time for election comes, the people of South Sudan know who to exclude and who to vote.
The author is an Independent Researcher, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org