Contributor's Opinion

Opinion: What legacy will SPLM be remembered for? 

By Gatkuoth Kutei Chany

South Sudan President, Salva Kiir Mayardiit speaking during a SPLM function in Lobonok (File/Supplied/Nyamilepedia)

June 11, 2020 (Nyamilepedia) – The fact that SPLM has two houses, the ‘owners and servants’ is likely scenario indisputable to deny given the situation to which the government is formed in South Sudan. Those who own the SPLM “take it all” and those who are servants continue to wash dishes and gets home with peanut;  taking the country backward. Gone are days when SPLM was a real moment where its members felt the need to establish a secular democratic Sudan where equality became fundamental value to which it was formed minus the ideology of ownership.

The real question remains if SPLM will still holds up to its end of bargaining and live up to the expectations of the people of South Sudan. Once would agree with Dr. Riek Machar’s assessment that SPLM has lose its directions and for that it’s needed to be reform. South Sudan became an independent state on 9 July 2011, following 98.83% votes in favor for independence in a January 2011 referendum. Under SPLM, South Sudan has suffered ethnic violence and endured a civil war characterized by rampant human rights abuses, including various ethnic massacres, corruptions, tribalism, nepotism and killings of journalists up to date.

Sometimes we made history and sometimes history made us— and for that matter  the  people of South Sudan are wondering what legacy would SPLM leave behind apart from widespread corruptions and tribalism that plunged this country to civil war. The betrayal of course of the liberation struggle to which millions sacrifice their limbs so that the others may live will haunt the SPLM cadre for centuries to come. The history will never forgive SPLM. It is sometimes hardly to believe that the SPLM whose its members fought so immensely to established modern democratic State would turn overnight to be a monster of oppression to people its help liberated.

Ironically,  the rebirth of SPLM right after the independence in July 9,  2011, seen cadre changing colors and use the party as a bait to advance the political discourse in order to continue siphoning the resources of South Sudan to enrich themselves under the pretext of being in the bushes for  the last 21 years. It is therefore crystal clear that the SPLM is not for development but perhaps it is primarily for group of looters justifies by notion which they categorically stated “rewards for 21 years struggle”.

Those who opposed SPLM are indicted as warmongers and branded rebels with threats of extermination should they continues advocating for the democratization of the party. The SPLM as a ruling party in the Republic of South Sudan has so many enemies then friends perhaps led them to develop inferiority complex fearing to open up its doors for young people to take up the lead. It’s fair to say the SPLM will never subscribe to change as long as the oligarchy still in the control of the organization.  Many people though that after the Independence in 2011, the legacy Dr. John Garang had back in the days to achieved the country strategic development goal ( SDG) of taking town to village would have been realize if the party real wants people of South Sudan to taste the fruits of their liberation struggle.

That course was betrayed immediately right after the untimely death of Dr. John Garang, the founding father of the Republic of South Sudan in helicopter crashed in July 2005.  The extension of that betrayal didn’t end up there as in December 2013; there emerged political wrangling within the party over who should be the ideal flag bear come next elections between two gentlemen, Riek Machar and Salva Kiir who claims the rights to own SPLM.  The political wrangling within the SPLM causes major setbacks in realization of mission the party have to accomplish and with that plunged the country to civil war pitting the two largest tribes in South Sudan.

Admittedly, the SPLM become a center of tribalism, nepotism and corruption to which only those associated with ruling elites are the ones who benefiting from employment opportunities, recruitment to various organized forces created a big gap between the poor and the rich in a country of 12 million people.  That has seen the elites taken control of most strategic institutions in the country ranging from oil, National security and banking sectors to continue tightening their grip of power primarily to block transformations and use resources to influence the outcomes as well as to intimidating the conservative voices. To continue ruling at one’s ease, the elites established a killing machines known as an “UNKNOWN GUNMEN”(State Sponsored Death Squad) with strategic mission of eliminating decent voices and to inspire degree of fears among those who happens to push for transformation agenda in South Sudan.  The UNKNOWN Gunmen and National Security Service  have a license to kill and arrests at will with no question since they operates in shadow behind the iron curtain protected by the State resources to cover their tracks.

These notorious unknown gunmen are simply replica of what many known as National Security Service to ensure that they operate in secrecy so as there is no evident links to the ruling elites in the country. Under this Unknown Gunmen and their accomplice NSS many civil activists and government critics have disappeared with no traced and some are now rioting in cells at National Security Service Building known as Blue House in Juba. The disagreeable prospect of SPLM ruling elites has led South Sudan drowning in debts for a Country known to have zero debts since the independence in July 9, 2011.

In 2018 South Sudan  public debt was estimated to have a  debt ceiling of  approximately stands at 42.22% ( the debts ceiling might surpassed the stated amount due to recent continue borrowing). So this indicates  clearly that the SPLM has fails to deliver the most needed social services such as building schools,  hospitals,  roads and others state art of technology  instead its priorities borrowing which placed the country at risk of a stagnant economy. The SPLM is deviate from the actual core of its mandate and mission pledge to serve the people of South Sudan honorably, instead it has shifted its loyalty to groom tribalism by destroying social fabric.

The writer is a student of commerce at Kenyatta University and Chairman of South Sudanese Students Association at Kenyatta University (SSSAKU). He can be reach via gatkuothkuteichany@gmail.com

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