A number of frustrated leaders of the SPLM have publicly spoken out about a range of challenges that has gradually engulfed the party in crisis; immobilized its functions in government; and (if not resolved swiftly) could plunged the new nation into an abyssal state of disarray and chaos.
Speaking at a press conference in Juba held in the newly opened SPLM House, the members called on Chairman of the SPLM to convene a meeting of the Political Burea, the highest SPLM executive organ to discuss and set the agenda for the National Liberation Council set to meet in the second week of December 2013.
This public stand against Kiir’s serial abuse of the SPLM, the government and the army is the first of its kind South Sudan gained independence in 2011. For Chairman Kiir, who until today has been running the show like a bull in a China shop, the press conference offers a lifeline to set things straight.
For the rest of us, here are a few things to think about.
Kiir vs the SPLM
Today’s press conference was attended by many of the highest ranking SPLM officials:- Riek Machar (Deputy Chairman), Pagan Amum (Secretary General), Madam Rebecca Garang (PB Member and widow to the latevisionary Dr. Garang), Taban Deng (PB Member and former governor of Unity State), Luka Biong , Dr. Luka Monoja and many more.
The simple fact that so many high ranking members have to speak out in a press conference listing weaknesses, constitutional violations by the leader clearly shows the level of the crisis and lack of internal communication. It also shows that the Chairman has drifted astray to one side, and the SPLM is offering him a chance to do something right – just for once.
SPLM, in crisis, but still united
A few days ago, Chairman Kiir inaugurated the opening of a new SPLM office dubbed ‘SPLM House’ in Juba. It was in that house that Kiir made statements hinting on his intentions to dissolve and dismantle all SPLM structures leaving only his office (The Office of the Chairman) and a few selected people in the SPLM Secretariat to continue rebuild the SPLM from the grassroots.
The press conference by the disgruntled senior SPLM members was also made in the same house – SPLM House! Do you see a point here? SG Pagan might have been shut out of his office since the Chairman last did what he did, but these members of the PB came to the SPLM House to make their point. Amum, who had been ‘banned’ from talking into a microphone, spoke during the press conference. Just a few yards away, an office with tinted glass windows – the office of the Chairman – was locked as he was not home at the time.
SPLM not the ruling party…
The Press Conference pointed out a few more obvious points. The mere fact that the were mentioned in the press release, by PB members makes it interesting. Here are a few quotes:
General Salva Kiir has surrendered the SPLM power to opportunists and foreign agents. These actions undermine the hard won independence and sovereignty of the Republic of South Sudan…
“…membership of the SPLM and one’s participation in the revolutionary struggle became irrelevant” ..as Kiir choose surround himself with ethnic and tribal opportunists, thus drifted away from the SPLM advisors.
Kiir’s worst nightmare becoming a reality…
If anyone wondered why Kiir was so
Igga eager to dismantle the PB and NLC, this is why – everyone Kiir un-rightfully elbowed with the new power toy called ‘Presidential DeKiiri Decree’ is either in the NLC of the National Convention. During a recent seminar that brought some of these disgruntled members together with a visiting ANC (South Africa) delegation to share experiences, the guest were shocked to hear there was no mechanism to channel or talk about issues. More surprised were people close to Kiir who had not anticipated how many people were longing for a platform to not only talk, but (if given the chance) vote in or out the system that is has so much and so little of everything and nothing…
As such, Kiir had a choice – or at least he thought he had or was told he had – to dismantle the structures and only leave his office to hand-pick the members for the new SPLM. How else could he stand in-front of these people who he has side-lined for so long? If he does, could he stomach whatever comes out of there?
He was not too sure, that was why he did not write/issue an office memo to all units dissolving them. He was not sure he had the powers, that was why he said they “dissolved” themselves. Following that logic, he suggested that he was all clear to reign supreme as the legitimacy of the organs had expired…
Should I continue?…