SPLM-IO hints at splitting from ruling party

Marchar Kiir

A faction of the South Sudan’s ruling Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement (SPLM) party has hinted on a split if the reunification talks do not succeed.

SPLM is divided into the party in government for led President Salva Kiir, the armed opposition (SPLM-IO) headed by first vice president, Riek Machar and the former political detainees led by Sel Pagan Amum, a former secretary general of the governing party

In May last year, mediation efforts from South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) party and Tanzania’s ruling Chama Cha Mapunduzi (CCM) saw representatives from the three SPLM factions sign a reunification agreement in Arusha, Tanzania.

The agreement, among others, provides that all the SPLM members who were dismissed have to be reinstated to their previous positions, voting be secret as opposed to show of hands and that the 5% delegates allocated to the president be scrapped off.

The ANC’s vice chairman and deputy president of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa and CCM’s secretary general, Abudaraman Kinana, visited Juba early this week to push for implementation, albeit the SPLM factions claim very little progress was made.

“As far as we concerned, there is no commitment from President Salva Kiir to implement the Arusha agreement and that is why there is a delay. So Kiir is to blame [for the delay to reunite SPLM], not [SPLM IO chairman and first Vice President] Riek Machar,” said William Ezekiel, spokesman for SPLM IO in Juba on Tuesday after the meeting.

“We are considering registering our own party if there is no progress,” he added.

Dhieu Mathok, the secretary general for the SPLM IO accused some sections in government of what he described as “deliberate” impeding of the Arusha agreement.

“Comrade Salva Kiir is selective in implementing provision of the agreement, not in totality as agreed,” he told a Juba-based newspaper in an interview published Wednesday.

He cited restructuring of SPLM Political Bureau and National Liberation Council – the executive and legislative arms of the party respective.

SPLM information secretary, Bol Makueng, allied to President Kiir, denied his faction responsibility for the delay to effect the reunification agreement.

“There is not agreement on politic bureau and national liberation council by the parties,” he said when asked for comment.

“They [SPLM IO] don’t attend [SPLM] secretariat meeting but they are part and parcel of the SPLM,” he added.

President Kiir reinstated Pagam Amum as Secretary General last July and issued orders reversing his decision to dismiss other members who fled the country and fought in government for 21 months. Amum has declined to return to the country since signing the peace agreement in August and a new secretly general has been appointed by President Kiir. The SPLM party registered in January after passing basic documents but the extraordinary convention was boycotted by the SPLM-IO and the former detainees.

The ANC and CCM officials left Juba Tuesday, promising to return, but the contradictory remarks from the SPLM factions indicate a near to peaceful split, according to analysts.


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