OpEd, Politics

Who is an SPLM member?

By Joseph Ring Lang

The origin

As the year 2022 comes to an end, one debate kept on haunting me. It was a debate that occurred between the SPLMS (SPLM-IG in the Government), SPLM-IO (in Opposition), and SPLM-FDs (Former detainees). It thus transpires that SPLM-IG made changes in the leadership structure by dismissing Riek Machar Teny as the Vice President of SPLM and Pagan Amum as the Secretary General of the SPLM.  The vacant positions since 2013 were then filled by James Wani Igga replacing Riek Machar and Nunu Kumba replacing Pagan Amum as the new Secretary General.

Riek Machar and Pagan Amum reacted by calling the decision of their dismissal as illegal.

In that regard, Riek Machar broke away in 2013, after failing to achieve a violent change of the Government. He then formed a new Political Party called SPLM-IO (in opposition) in the bush under a new political structure which resulted in a new political leadership under Riek Machar Teny with a military wing. SPLM former detainees became sympathetic with Riek Machar and subsequently went into exile from South Sudan.

Returning to the point

The refusal of Riek Machar and Pagan Amum to accept the new changes made by SPLM-IG raises the question of who is an SPLM member. Under normal circumstances an SPLM member should be any person who believes in SPLM ideology – yet it appears that was not the case.

Before attempting to answer that question, let’s revisit the acronym SPLM: S stands for Sudan; P stands for People; L stands for Liberation; M stands for Movement. In other words, the acronym suggests that the Sudanese People are moving toward Liberation. But Liberation ended 17+ years ago. The former liberation fighters are now statesmen that are ruling us, and they are not liberating us anymore. They are now our statesmen and statesmen concentrate on solving burning issues like in our case, extreme underdevelopment in which all our household needs are satisfied through the trade by exchanging Oil with all our household needs.

In conclusion

The real people, who are true members of the SPLM, in my personal opinion, are those that used to be called SPLM North to differentiate them from SPLM who are now the statesmen of South Sudan. In that respect, they had their separate Naivasha Protocol Agreement. The Abyei group could also fall under the acronym SPLM because they had their different Naivasha Protocol and are not legally part of South Sudan because Sudan has not allowed them to vote so as to choose where they should belong. But, if all the SPLMs prefer to call themselves Liberators and not statesmen, I have no problem there – it becomes their problem alone.

All in all, if they were to seek external advice, I will definitely recommend to them to follow the footsteps of the SPLA which has now changed to SSPDF (South Sudan People Defense Forces). Therefore, it is high time for all the SPLMs to adjust their mindset, flight bearing to the correct path. The sooner they do that; the better will life improve for all the South Sudanese?

The author can be reached via Emails: josephlang2020@gmail.com,langjr2002@yahoo.com


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