Gattiek Wichar Opinion

Opinion: How the SPLM/SPLA_IO can minimize its domestic challenges

By Gattiek Wichar,

Information Secretary of the SPLM_IO Chapter,

Arab Republic of Egypt.

June 27,2021 —  It has been 7 years, two months and 10 days now since the official formation of the SPLM/SPLA_IO in Nasir, on 17th of April 2014 as an armed revolutionary movement whose vision and mission is to transform the country from political injustices and despotism exercised by regime of Salva Kiir Mayardit into democratic and peaceful state. 

Machar urged to find solutions as SPLM-IO disintegrates amid ugly factional feuds
South Sudan First Vice President and SPLM-IO Chairman Dr. Riek Machar (photo credit: Getty Images)

From 2014 until the midst of 2016 the movement was very effective militarily on the ground and politically elsewhere in the world ,people were brought together by national aspiration and united under a common purpose to rid the tribal and discriminative regime. Their revolutionary energy and capacity to shake the status quo was very higher.

But when the differences emerged as result of divergence political interests among political figures within the movement, the cause became less prioritized which has fostered a negative impact on the SPLM/SPLA_IO leadership and the more differences increase the morale of the members decrease too, so gradually the members of the SPLM/SPLA_IO now and especially Cadres who should effectively defend and continue the banner of the struggle have become silence. The situation became worse and worst after the formation of the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (R_TGoNU) many youth criticized the formation and denote the SPLM_IO members who are in Juba as people who abandoned the cause rather than being there for peace implementation and this is happening because the top leadership of the SPLM_IO especially, Youth League, Women League, Students League and Veteran League, Secretariats and presidency have no contact with the concerned offices of the SPLM_IO especially Chapters and coordination offices in overseas which can enlighten and update the members of the SPLM_IO on daily basis about the progress in peace implementation process.

 Hence, due to the lack of contact and poor communication between members in Juba and other members outside, therefore, many reached to conclusion  that those in Juba are not for the cause and also motivated by some elements who want to see the SPLM_IO tearing apart with reasons best known to them. 

Coming to the point as I have mentioned above ” How should the SPLM/SPLA_IO solve its internal problems” and the bodies that can solve the conflicts.

In my view I believe that the SPLM-IO/SPLA_IO can manage to arrest the situation through an effective operationalization of Youth League, Students League, Political bureau and also by prioritizing the public interest, These organs have all what it takes to pacify the hostile atmosphere in the SPLM/SPLA_IO. I would like to narrate separately what they can do in bringing the movement into unified voice.

(1.) National Youth League.

The National Youth League is the vital cornerstone of the SPLM_IO  party, and is responsible for 70% of the movement’s membership. The youth league can direct youth of what to do in the party and prioritizing youth can reflect success and brighter future to the SPLM_IO and country at large because they are the backbone but if such huge population is ignored or undermined, it automatically leads the party to pessimistic future without doubt which is not what we wish whatsoever. 

 Through the SPLM_IO Youth League we can mitigate most of the SPLM_IO problems because it is youth now who are always used by disgruntled elements to castigate the movement as result of frustration and untold grievances. Therefore, to contain this setback the office of SPLM_IO National Youth league needs to develop a close contact with the SPLM_IO Youth across the world by making changes in term of General reshuffling of all structures of the SPLM-IO Youth leagues replacing an inactive offices of the youth with the newly leadership rights from top up to the grassroot levels, supporting youth offices in the country, diaspora and overseas so that they can able to carry out functions and activities of the party. This exercise can raise the morale of the young people again who have lost hope in the SPLM_IO/SPLA_IO for one reason or another. 

To maintain an effective and regular communication with concerned offices of the youth across the world, updating them on daily basis about developments within leadership especially things to do with decisions and what to do or what not to do, so that their ignorance about the things that matters is not exploited by manifold of political forces whose aim is to weaken the leadership of the SPLM/SPLA_IO and this can also make them not to react on everything because they will be familiar with all changes and decisions within the party. 

(2.) Student League.

The National students league is the intellectual entity of the party which can play pivotal roles in term of raising political awareness among students by directing its offices to conduct rallies to expound the vision and mission of the SPLM_IO at schools, Universities and whenever they are so that the members can have a good understanding of the leadership and it can also make them feel responsible on their respective offices. 

 But unfortunately such activities are not being exercised whether at National, State, county and Payam level in the country nor by student leagues in diaspora and abroad. The students League should initiate student seminars for discussions and student initiatives that can engage and inform the students with their policies in the party. Such activities through good follow up from the head can discipline and prepare good Cadres in the SPLM_IO. 

(3.) Political Bureau.

The political bureau is the executive organ of the party and it is one of the highest decision making bodies which has capacity to resolve all challenges and arrive to possible solution given the fact that most of the members of the SPLM_IO bureau are now became Ministers and members of the Parliament in the unity government which is very impressive. I believe the SPLM_IO political bureau can minimize the internal friction by constituting an ad hoc committee to engage the disgruntled members of the SPLM_IO in dialogue until the compromise is reached, ignoring things is a vicious circle that’s why Francis Mading Deng put it correctly that “What divides us is unsaid thing”. For the common good of the SPLM/SPLA_IO it is very crucial for us to address our issues until we reach consensus because when you fail to address little problem you are sending an invitation to another problem and this can gradually return us back to square one and the SPLM_IO political bureau has capacity to resolve such conflicts. 

The SPLM_IO political bureau should also direct members who became Ministers to employ some Cadres in the Ministries during this transitional period as a means of avoiding the internal differences which most of them caused by the biggest gap between the top leadership and its members.

They should also support the chapters, coordination offices of the SPLM_IO inside and outside the country in order to maintain the effective and unwavering support of the masses. Since the R_TGoNU was formed there are many people who changed their political affiliations to other parties and this happened because the leadership of the SPLM-IO has no follow-up and strong contact with bodies which are representing it in the diaspora and abroad. 

Dr. John Garang once said without strong political work the Khartoum regime will call us robbers and thieves. The SPLM/SPLA_IO leadership needs to redefine its policies and work hard again by disseminating out the message of the party effectively as South Sudanese need a party with clear vision that reflect the will and sustainable future. 

(4.) Prioritizing public interest.

The SPLM/SPLA_IO members should see themselves as comrades with a common objective to achieve and should always put their public interest before their personal interests. The leadership of the SPLM/SPLA_IO has been going through internal conflicts which have caused paranoia, number of disagreements and eventually caused many defections, this time around we need to understand each other, forgive ourselves, and listen to our concerns because each and every one of us has his part and role to play in the SPLM/SPLA_IO and country in general.

We can disagree to agree because after all we are chasing the same goal and as comrades the most important value which we should have is to support and work together in solidarity and for us to achieve this we need to swallow our grudges and minor differences which we have so that we arrive into the change we want.

Last not least, I would like to appeal to the top leadership to prioritize these points, they might not be all right but there are some crucial points that can end most of our problems.


Gattiek Wichar is Graduate of Ain Shams University in Egypt with bachelor degree of law,  Spokesperson of the SPLM_IO Chapter in Egypt. Can be reached via email  gattiekwichar@gmail.com

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