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May 16th is not SPLM day –Oyet argues

By Ephraim Modi Duku Sokiri

Deputy Chairman of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM- IO) said that 16th May is not an SPLM day but a day for all South Sudanese.

SPLA Day is a public holiday in the Republic of South Sudan celebrated annually, on 16th May to commemorate the formation of the then rebel group, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) which gave birth to the political wing, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM).

On 16th May 1983, a group of revolutionaries from Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) opened fire in a barrack near Bor and formed the staple of SPLA, commanded by Dr. John Garang De Mabior.

The First Deputy Speaker of the Transitional National Legislative Assembly (NTLA), Rt. Hon. Nathaniel Oyet Pierino in an exclusive interview said that the SPLA Day in its 40th anniversary, being marked across the country is a mutual concord to all the people of South Sudan that the SPLM shouldn’t claim ownership.

“The 16th of May 1983 is a common heritage to all South Sudanese. The rebellion was not by the SPLM, the rebellion was by the South Sudanese who rebelled, then formed the SPLM in the bush. This day cannot be claimed by SPLM as their day, is not their day, and is a South Sudanese day,” he hinted.

“So SPLM-IG cannot claim that this is their day because the rebellion was by South Sudanese on the 16th of May where there was mutiny by the military elements in Jonglei state, it was not SPLM that mutinied.”

Oyet who is second in command to Dr. Machar at the helm of affairs of the SPLM-IO party added that every South Sudanese have the right to celebrate because it was the day that the South Sudanese said enough is enough of the oppression, marginalization, dictatorship, and pulled the arms against the Khartoum reign.

“It was South Sudanese officials and men who mutinied and later on joined by their brothers and sisters to perpetuate one of the longest African civil wars which resulted into the independence of the country.”

Oyet reiterated that disparity along the way squandered the SPLM into factions as they were fighting against the elements that they were facing from the Sudan regime.

“The disagreement that came along the way where others, wanted unity and others wanted separation, others wanted tribalism, others brought in corruption that divides us in the SPLM,” he echoed.

“SPLM now, they are divided, you have a conservative ideology under SPLM-IG and you have liberal democratic ideology under Dr. Riek Machar SPLM-IO, and these are the two ideologies that are now in the SPLM. And these ideologies are under different factions of the SPLM,” he lamented.

SPLM-IO deputy chairman alluded to the creeds of the different factions of the SPLM that centered other parties above and accused the SPLM- IG of building relationship with a foreign communist party of China.

“A conservative one, dictatorship, no freedom of press, no political space and civil liberty, they have moved to a foreign policy, they have moved to the communist party of China, they are now getting credits from there, and there is the ideology of the SPLM in one hand,” he said.

Hon. Oyet further designated his party to be generous that signifies the interest of the people of South Sudan.

“On the other hand, you have the liberal democratic ideology that advocates for freedom of speech, association, political pluralism, a democratic society, a multiparty democracy, good governance, civil liberty, prosperity for all, economic empowerment t, poverty eradication, all these are the sets of ideological principles underpinning the SPLM factions under the SPLM-IO,” he added.

“The main factions that still cover the ideology however their differences maybe are the SPLM IG and IO, with one being conservative, restrictive and another on one hand allows free speeches within the party,” he stressed.


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