SPLM defends Peter Lam against ‘wild’ remarks

By Ephraim Modi Duku Sokiri

The ruling party, SPLM has defended the party’s Secretary-General, Peter Lam Both’s comment alleging that the First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar has declared war against one specific community.

In a video Lam said Machar rebelled for the first-time during Dr. John Garang, he stayed eight years, and was not replaced. Again, in 2013, he went to the bush, and SPLM was waiting but when told to come back he refused.

“Riek Machar declared war against …. Community, any …. that declare war against …. community all … community will follow him. That is what you need to know. Even me, Lam if I declare the war today, all …. will abandon the …. And follow me,” Lam added.  

Mr. Bol Makueng, the SPLM Secretary for External Relations, said some elements used part of the video clip to ‘concoct’ hatred and cause violence among communities.

Makueng echoed that Lam’s statement was not intended to enflame hatred or instigated division, affirming that SPLM has been a uniting factor during rebellion struggle and as such cannot bring about disunion.

According to him, Mr. Lam was advising people to avoid ethnicity like the way some political parties designed their political organization based on tribal setup.

He argued Lam used Dr. Riek Machar in 2013 and 2016 conflict as an example of a historical facts.

From his part, the SPLM Secretary for Political Affairs and Mobilization, Kuol Atem reputed the claim that Lam made the statement in Warrap State, adding the latter made his remark in Juba.

“…he delivered his speech during reception here (at the SPLM secretariat),” Atem said.

But the main opposition party, SPLM-IO is piling pressure on the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) to take tough measures against the party’s Secretary-General, Peter Lam Both for uttering alleged ‘hate speech’ Oyet said.

Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO) condemned claims by Lam alleging that First Vice President Riek Machar has declared war against specific community.

“It is our belief that such utterances are never slips of the tongue but a calculated statement,” said Oyet Nathaniel, SPLM-IO deputy chairman.

“We note with grave concern and hold perpetrators of such statements responsible for violence against communities, tearing down the unity of South Sudan, and frustrating efforts to reconcile our citizens,” he added.

He called upon parties to peace, stakeholders and guarantors to take note of such violations of the Peace Agreement and hold culprits accountable.

“I am equally calling upon the parties to the agreement, other stakeholders, and guarantors to take note of such violations of the peace agreement, particularly the permanent ceasefire and cessation of hostilities, and hold Lam to account” Oyet said.

Mr. Oyet, who is also the first deputy speaker at national parliament accused SPLM bigwigs including Lam for using divisive language and rule policy objective to target specific community.

“As a result, over 500,000 lives were lost and over 3 million were displaced in and outside South Sudan,” he said.

On the other hand, the South Sudan United Front Progressive said Lam utterances can propagate seeds of hatred.

“His comments were not only offensive and disrespectful, but they also had the potential to incite hate, sow discord, and spread disharmony within our country, which is already besieged by unrelenting conflict,” said Sunday de John, SSUFP chairman.

SSUFP urged leaders to use the political stage to preach unity and reconciliation among citizens while calling on SPLM to take stern action against Both.

“Hate speech and divisive rhetoric only exacerbate our societies’ divisions and undermine our joint efforts to create a peaceful and flourishing future for all South Sudanese.” Sunday said.

“I urge the SPLM leadership to take swift and decisive action to handle this problem and ensure that such hateful and divisive conduct is not tolerated within their party or in our communities,” he added.

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