A RESPONSE TO THOSE WHO ALWAYS ASK WHETHER HE IS FIGHTING BECAUSE OF 32 STATES IN SOUTH SUDAN
By Daniel Deng Mario, Khartoum Sudan,
Jan 29, 2020(Nyamilepedia) — Since I joined the Movement of the People, the SPLM-IO, and began writing articles touching on the issue of 32 States, the frequent asked question by those who comment on them is, in 1991 and 2013 Dr. Riek began a fight against the SPLM/A and against the Government of South Sudan respectively yet there were no 32 States, was he fighting against 32 States?
In respect to the above question, let me not be considered to read their minds or to be seen as living on assumption but what they are trying to explain (based on my personal analysis) is to show that His Dr, Riek Machar does not have any agenda but he only loves fighting which is not true. His Excellency Dr. Riek Machar in fact has a cause, which all of us members subscribe to though I have been silence to answer them back. Therefore, my silence in answering this common question is not that I didn’t have an answer to it but my silence has been conditioned by limited time as I have not got humble time to adequately respond to it.
Now, it is the time to respond to those who have been asking it and those who will still ask it in future. I am glad that those who ask this question have picked interest in what I write connected to the ideology of the SPLM-IO. The SPLM-IO is a Political party which means that whatever it explains must be criticized and questioned. My understanding is that a Political Party like the SPLM-IO is not a religious organization but it is a political organization that thrives on the constructive criticisms. Constructive criticisms are those criticisms that point out weaknesses of the party or its leaders and then after that give recommendations on how to improve on its policy or performance gaps. This means that those criticisms that do not recommend any to the party are destructive criticisms and should not be entertained.
Based on the foregoing conclusion, I consider every South Sudanese who is not yet a member of the SPLM-IO but having interest in the debate involving the SPLM-IO to be its potential member. It is my assumption that when they ask the above question and others connected to the SPLM-IO, they are not making fun of our party but they are seeking more understanding of what the policies and the objectives of our party are. Even though they are asking this common question just to ridicule the SPLM-IO, still, I consider the SPLM-IO to be the Political Party and a Movement. We cannot therefore hate those who criticize it as we hope that they will one day decide to join it after they exhausted what they were searching for.
The above conclusion takes me to the subject of this article but before I answer the question asked by many as I put it onset of this article, let me briefly give the similarity and the differences between the SPLM-IO and the SPLM-In-Government, that is, the SPLM-IG. To begin with, the SPLM-IO is similar in form to the SPLM-IG as it has not come to destroy the SPLM-IG which is the South Sudanese historical party. But the SPLM-IO has come to reform it by maintaining the salient features of the SPLM Movement of 1983-2005, which is the current SPLM-IG.
The Constitution of the SPLM-IO, 2015 confirms the assertion. Thus, the Preamble and Article 1 of the Constitution of the SPLM-IO provide— Do hereby adopt the Constitution of the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement, 2008, amended 2015 (the Preamble). This Constitution may be cited as “The Constitution of the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement, 2008 and amended in 2015” and shall come into force on the date of its signature by the Chairperson (Article 1).
Furthermore, the SPLM./A Manifesto of 1983 which was amended in 2008 is adopted by the members of SPLM-IO in the above cited Constitution by stating it in clause of 2.1of the Article 2 that the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement is a mass political Organisation to be known as “The Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement” hereinafter referred to as “Movement” and abbreviated as “SPLM”. The use of the SPLM without the IO here shows that it is the same as the SPLM-IG in form though the Constitution of the SPLM-IO has amended some of the original provisions of the SPLM Manifesto of 1983 as amended in 2008.
Apart from the above similarities, the main difference that distinguishes the SPLM-IO from the SPLM-IO is the way it deals with issues of accountability and equal access to resources by citizens. In that way, the name IO was only added to differentiate it from the SPLM-IG. This is because its members oppose the policies of the government of the SPLM which makes them to be opposition against the government hence their Movement became to be known as the SPLM-IO. Another major difference between the SPLM-IO and the SPLM-IG is found in its democratic principles and its approach to issues of democracy.
In that respect, the SPLM-IO is the hallmark of democracy. This is clearly stated in the Preamble of the SPLM-IO Constitution which provides that the SPLM-IO is— Committed to building a better future for the people by establishing a federal democratic and developmental State with an equitable socio-economic and political order based on the principles of freedom, equality, democracy, justice, respect for human rights, progress and prosperity; This is because it is represented by strong and democratic leader that loves all South Sudanese. Those who have been close to His Excellency Dr. Riek Machar may agree with me on the fact that leadership is everything when it comes to the management of the Organization. The character of the SPLM-IO is derived from the democratic character of its leader, His Excellency Dr. Riek Machar.
I hope the above explanation may have helped those who wanted to know more about the SPLM-IO. Having reached that conclusion, I have to revert to the topic of the day by saying that it is time now to briefly answer the above question and then I go to the conclusion. But before that let me briefly add that the time is coming in South Sudan when citizens will no longer support the political party based on tribal affiliation. Having made these few remarks, let me go back to the original question in answering the above question that did His Excellency Dr.Riek Machar Teny take up arms in 1993 and against the Government of South Sudan in 2013 because of 32 States in South Sudan?
As I have already analyzed this question, let me add by saying that those who ask this question are also trying to tell me that 32 States are not the cause of the conflict in South Sudan. For the respect of their opinion, I cannot tell them that they are either right or wrong as it is their opinion but my answer is that Dr. Riek Machar has a cause of which 32 States are the effects of the cause and also they are the cause feeding itself to the effect. Let me not sound philosophically here. Having concluded that Dr. Riek Machar has a cause, let me now give the causes of the cause of Dr. Riek Machar and the SPLM-IO and how they are related to the issue of 32 States. The causes of the present Conflict in South Sudan are well captured in the Preamble of the Constitution of the SPLM-IO, 2015 which are provided in paragraph four that—Recognizing the historic struggle of the oppressed people against forces of repression, all forms of injustice, political sectarianism, regionalism, tribalism, ethnic chauvinism, marginalization and exploitation, religious bigotry, intolerance, harmful customs and gender discrimination against women and girl child.
From the above paragraph 4 of the Preamble of the Constitution of the SPLM-IO, 2015, the causes can be identified to include— oppression and repression against tyranny, struggle against all forms of injustice, political sectarianism, regionalism, tribalism, ethnic chauvinism, marginalization and exploitation of youth and women, religious bigotry, cultural and political intolerance, harmful customs and gender discrimination against women and girl child. These have been increased by deadly corruption that is openly practiced in different offices. South Sudan has recently been ranked the top corrupt country in East Africa. Corruption in South Sudan has reached to the extent of corrupting military ranks in the country in violation of clear military rules of awarding them to those who are qualified to get them. In normal circumstances, civilians are not supposed to be awarded equal ranks with those who underwent military training. If that is the case, why should the people undergo training and military services instead of just waiting for them at home?
When we relate the above causes to the question whether Dr. Riek Machar is fighting because of 32 States. The answer is simple, Dr. Riek Machar is for the unity of South Sudan and South Sudanese people in diversity. This is reflected in Article 5 of the Constitution of the SPLM-IO which provides for the Guiding Principles. Article 5 provides that the SPLM shall be guided by the following principles— 5.1 Democracy, justice, freedom, equality, religious tolerance, social cohesion, peace, prosperity, harmony and inclusivity; 5.2 Federalism and devolution of powers; 5.3 Unity of the people, shared historical experiences and respect for diversity; 5.4 Supremacy of the rule of Law and respect of separation of powers and roles; 5.5 Human Rights and fundamental freedoms as stipulated in the Constitution of the Country and in regional and international instruments; 5.6 Respect of democratic institutions and collective leadership; 5.7 Accountability, transparency and good governance; 5.8 Respect for diversity of South Sudanese cultural values, heritage and beliefs; 5.9 Gender equality, socio-economic, cultural and political empowerment of women; 5.10 Safeguard the rights of the child, youth, widows, orphans, people with disabilities, wounded heroes and heroines, and war veterans;
Article 5 of the Constitution of the SPLM-IO above protects the social cohesion, peace, prosperity, harmony and inclusivity which can be protected through the democratically chosen form of Federalism and devolution of powers as agreed by all South Sudanese. The SPLM-IO and its leadership plus general membership believe in the Supremacy of the rule of Law and respect of separation of powers and roles as well as sanctity of human Rights and fundamental freedoms as stipulated in the Constitution of the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan which are also enshrined in the regional and international instruments.
The SPLM-IO further believes that in upholding the respect of democratic institutions and collective leadership is the basis of strong democratic principles in the country as it can be understood in the above Constitutional provision of the SPLM-IO. In respecting the Supremacy of the Law, the SPLM-IO believes that the unity of the people, shared historical experiences and respect for diversity can be achieved. It implies that even if even 32 States would have been good for the people of South Sudan but if they become the source of disunity in the country then the SPLM-IO cannot be a party to anything that can destroy the national unity of South Sudan both in short and in long run.
The SPLM-IO however should not be understood to be against the interest of South Sudanese but it should be understood to protect the unity of South Sudan which the SPLM-IG has destroyed through its sectarian tendency and policy. The SPLM-IO is a national Movement though it has been sold in the black market of tribalism as it is now being held hostage by tribal hatred which the leadership hopes to break with time. Being a National Movement, the SPLM-IO is working hard to ensure that all South Sudanese are united by working in developing those factors that promote national unity and common identity rather than encouraging disunity through party parochial interests of the leadership as it has been the case of the SPLM-IG.
The foregoing explanation gives the clear view that though the 32 States were not among the causes of South Sudanese conflict in 2013, but the SPLM-IO believes that they are the effects of the cause and have now even become the cause of the war themselves. In addition, they have become cause of disunity though some South Sudanese, especially those who believe that the government has done something good for them support them. South Sudanese will appreciate in long run the position of the SPLM-IO. The SPLM-IO is not against 32 States as the ruling party has portrayed it.
Contrarily to that betrayal, the SPLM-IO is inspired by the vision to build a new nation from which all political, social and economic disparities in the country are removed as enshrined in the SPLM Manifesto. In doing that the SPLM-IO gets its motivation from the need to lead and contribute effectively in State and Nation building which can be achieved through established federal system. This is why the SPLM-IO is committed to building a better future for the people by establishing a federal democratic and developmental State with an equitable socio-economic and political order based on the principles of freedom, equality, democracy, justice, respect for human rights, progress and prosperity;
In conclusion, by referring to building a federal system, the SPLM-IO believes in South Sudan having more states freely agreed by all citizens. This may convince those who claim that the SPLM-IO is against the 32 States as what it is against is how 32 States were stablished since their establishment becomes the source of disunity in the country. The reason being that they were established contrary to the rule of law. The rule of part of democratic pillars such as human rights, democracy and referendum which all people must participate freely and respect for institutions. The SPLM-IO subscribes to these pillars and cannot play with them. Our major concern is disunity they have caused and may lead to further escalation of the conflict.
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