SPLM: A Party Like Grandma’s Good China


Written by Joseph Eluzai

January 15, 2014(…) — SPLM is a lot of things. We don’t need to edit ourselves anymore. The ruling party of South Sudan almost looks like it is still breathing. There is a mangled carcass nearby.

In the aftermath of 15th December 2013, a pick of lot of people see the party as spoiled enough to cause this country sleepless nights of horror and uncertainty. The charred fragments of party split around the December 2013 infamy have at best upset the common wisdom on political maturity and national responsibility.

SPLM has at best scared the pants off true friends of South Sudan and has at worst got the people of this great nation to worry about South Sudan’s future. The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement has fallen flat and failed this country and its people like a generation kept on half pay.

This is a close graze by political fatalism, something SPLM’s fistful of tough guys would not believe in before December 15, 2013. The party did not only ignore all signposts pointing to the eventual collision, but it had naively looked past the slow burn in its ranks and files. The Oyee Cult got it wrong.

It spat out a stretch of political crap and thought that would do the trick. How naïve and stunning this was to be! Seen only from the neck up, SPLM stuck her tongue out for an early place on the list of political obituary; furnishing another chilly example of Africa’s political glamorized fossilism-to borrow Wole Soyinka’s line profusely.

In fact, it looked like the bad genes came from 2013, not 1983. All the same, the world’s shock turned to horror as the beloved party finished her look off with a clutch when Bilpam rumbled like a thunder on December 15, 2013.

No one in the mammoth ruling party had rain-checked the date. The first stop on the road to party divorce happened then. It got the whole country covered in death and destruction.

Just two years old and full of political graces after Independence, SPLM got drunk off one drink, power struggle.  A spur went to misadventure; a mindless and shameless swerve onto the sidewalk of personal ambition and tribal hegemony.

It spoke to a deep chill in South Sudan’s social fabric and national unity. The surrogate SPLA served as backup ensemble and made sure it was not too late to the fight. South Sudanese were doing the fighting and the dying as well. The nation shuddered to a standstill.

Before the grim date of December 15, it was a matter of conjecture that some would be branded as dissidents and others would have to parade their own credentials as the pious torch-bearers of the SPLM. Hate and panic fears gripped the party quarters.  SPLM leadership was in tatters with too many egos butting heads on one thing, power. Last man standing was the proper way to end it. And when they fought, they turned each other and South Sudan into a sea of glass.

The average South Sudanese knows this atmosphere hardly squares with the nature of a ruling party. SPLM is yet to account for the stir it has occasioned. That stir tumbled about our ears on December 15.

Proven in the fires of a 21-year liberation war, SPLM had all this before its eyes. The party should have stayed ahead of the curve. But being a ruling party with an army of its own, SPLM became a bully. Eventually, it overplayed its hands and lost its political virginity. Its old urges are not yet dead, time has shown. As a result of SPLM’s lack of foresight and realism, this country is being run by brinkmanship at best and without statesmanship at worst.

We have lost many people on the wayside. We can trail off a list of names. These are fellow South Sudanese, not nameless statistics! We have all got the fright of our life. South Sudan is just one gun short of an all-out civil war. The failure is one in which the SPLM has failed to keep the mean between the two extremes of being rigid and unrelenting in ushering in change and being liberal and outspoken in calling for democratic transformation with a sense of urgency.

This is the making of the Oyee Cult. Today, the SPLM is dumber than a fence post.  South Sudan’s fond, ruling party is standing with shackled hands and feet. The current national crisis has given the man in the street an opportunity to peer through the veil and see SPLM’s antics, tribalism disguised as nationalism. With SPLM, we are all going to hell in a hand basket!

Strip the leaves off this dry, dead tree. This is no longer a party that the universe will drop money into your lap the moment you sign up to its manifesto or what passes for that. Now, the opportunists making a pilgrimage to SPLM will only be thrown a bone with meat at best.

Sniff along the dotted lines of SPLM’s irresponsible handling of this infant country and you will come across traces of institutionalized hegemony and individualized acrimony. The acrid smell of tribalism and fatalism can only be smelled nose to the ground.

The fallout is sweet and bitter. SPLM now looks like one after being run over by an army truck, mouth dry like a bone. The Oyee Cult would rather go out with one last lie! Nationalism is SPLM; SPLM is nationalism. The little popes of our freedom and dignity have lost their sense of direction. No wonder, some have borrowed Museveni’s playbook. Others are back marrying up with Konyi’s gospel.There are now more peckers in the wood pile!

Let the chips fall where they may. Grandma’s good china falls squarely in the middle. As South Sudan goes through all the loops and hoops of nation building which is never coming off the ground, our people need to cobble together. SPLM is not their rallying point. It cannot be unless it thinks with the head attached to its shoulders.

This callous party will try to wriggle back into view again. The moment it is back, SPLM will just sit on its hands. It has done little else, in fact. All its bragging about South Sudan’s liberation has gone up like a Roman candle. In this country’s future, SPLM will be packed to the brim with footnotes. History is so unforgiving for those who love the crackle of illusion.

Saying this a month ago would have probably got you into trouble. You might have been lined up and shot. Speaking against the Post-Independence SPLM then could have had you forced into a historical straightjacket that says SPLM trumps everything, our history, culture and future. After all, our national flag is now snapping in the wind!

We have never seen trash like this. Clowning around does not make for a political party. We have had only good grief and plenty of bullets, nothing else. South Sudanese should do well to keep SPLM out of their faces for a while unless we want to see another enormous slit in our social fabric and political dispensation. As a nation, we need to think long and hard about this. Electing a political party to mess around is like being cursed with fantasy and idiocy. After 15th December 2013, SPLM is a liability, not an asset to this country and its people. It does not have all that fur to hide under again.

Let us pick up and start over. Come 2015, SPLM should live out its political retirement and not be allowed to confuse love of country with money and power. The people of South Sudan should not be like the cat fish which always loves rotting fish!

Love is many things, you know. But heading into the clouds with South Sudan’s future is not an exclusive domain of the SPLM.  The ruling party has no other legs on which to stand. There are other political parties who can be a good hand in the fight against poverty, ethnicity, misrule and corruption. Even independent candidates should cast their nets wide. It is time they jostled for space.

For the joy-riders of the SPLM establishment, their party is indispensable. The question, though, is at what point is the SPLM no longer expendable? The party, I know, is counting on its shrewdness in finding a bargain. It claims that it has paid a pretty penny for this country. I only wish that SPLM finally wore the pants!

If a ruling party could split up over leadership and change within its circles, of what use would it be to South Sudan other than holding the country hostage? The SPLM was as giddy as a teen with a new driver’s license on 9th July 2011. On 15th December 2013, the party felt like a teen with a new speeding ticket!

I hope somebody understands that Iam not saying a word too many. We have to see through the bull excrement every which way to Sunday. It does not help to stand there with legs looking like you are a quarterback. SPLM Oyee!

A tour of boots on the ground does not bring peace, justice and reconciliation. Peace itself is an absolute necessity to the people of South Sudan, not just some general desirability from a foggy partisan angle.

A senseless war is a crime whether you are paid little, late or not at all. There is no call for sections of SPLM membership & leadership to bristle at what they see as a backhand smack on the nose. Where is your maturity? What has come over you and your sense of national duty?

You have caused citizens of this country to double bolt their doors at night and read by candle light. Dirty water and rising crimes litter the civil terrain across this country. Insecurity is a given. Justice is best denied or delayed. Freedom to express, move and associate has shuddered to a halt. Can SPLM clean up this bit of trash from force of habit?

In the vast procession of the SPLM reverie, where all are guilty, no one is guilty. The nation is asked to stare out at mishaps blurring by. This will not go on as things are. We are past the days of SPLM itself having no clue on what it is the party even believes. The ongoing national crisis has ruined the illusion for SPLM. Your humor is epic, SPLM!

We have all felt the sharp end of this blunder. South Sudan is no way in debt up to its eyeballs for a party that is a hungry octopus. As a nation, we need to ooze out ahead of time and leave SPLM behind in the middle of its crowded hallway.

We will come across others who are a force on the side of peace and serenity. There is no magic bullet in misrule. When this SPLM runs low on people, they will come back to their senses. The holiday season will soon be over. The embrace is fast cooling.  It will take the glow off grandma’s good china. Or better still; take a crack at the china if SPLM does not hide its dark underbelly in a heap of dung. It is time South Sudan turned to the spray of stars for new leaders. That is all, folks!

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