South Sudan

Machar Opens Heart On Building Democratic State


viagra 100mg geneva; font-size: small; line-height: 200%;”>He recently opened up in a video recorded on the subject of Sudan People’s Liberation Movement’s future and what exactly South Sudan needs as a nation to move forward.

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Last year, in august, SPLM secretariat asked the party leaders to thank the people for supporting SPLM and the implementation of the comprehensive peace agreement for six and a half years.

“I went to one of the states and visited 10 counties but according to the reports I got, people were saying that SPLM had lost vision and focus,” states Machar.

He says the reports were to be discussed with the chairman of the party (President Salva Kiir) but “he was hostile and didn’t give room for a political dialogue”.

“The constitution has some contentious issues and provides that the deputies of the chairman would be nominated by him and it is only the chairman that has to be elected,” he continues.

He says the undemocratic constitution is what is killing SPLM because the party doesn’t allow bringing in new cadres or young people.

“A democratic process can’t depend on one person. That is why we decided not to be party to such an undemocratic constitution.”

He says in that way, democracy wouldn’t be practised in the country and the repercussions would affect each and everyone in the state.

Building a democratic state

Machar believes that building a democratic state of South Sudan will not be possible when it is being championed by a party which is itself not democratic.

“Because we love the party, we love SPLM, we want the SPLM to spearhead democracy and for it to spearhead democracy, it must democratise,” he observes.

“So we said we should pull out since the chairman is dictating everything.”

Meanwhile, the party’s secretary-general, Pagan Amum, was dismissed from his position without investigating him or the investigators became the judges and judged him in his absentia.

Machar also cites the system of voting as the other reason for withdrawing from SPLM.

“Internationally, it is known that if you want to discuss secret matters, you use a secret ballot as a mode of voting. The chairman insists that it must be by a show of hands. Show of hands intimidates. Show of hands distorts issues,” Machar reasons.

He argues that there is no reason why they would subject the party to intimidation.

“The excuse being given is that our members are predominantly illiterate but our people have already voted in two elections,” he pursues.

Machar himself voted 12 times; for the President in Khartoum, the President of South Sudan, for the Governor and MPs bringing it to a total of 12 times.

He agrees that there were a few complaints but states that the complaints were not because the people didn’t know how to vote.

“It was because some officials rigged the elections. So, our population is conscious and our members are more conscious,” he clarifies.

To Machar, the secret ballot can be used if the party is to democratise and prevent the chairman from intimidating the members with his show of hands style.

“I want a democratic constitution for the party so that the SPLM can respect other political parties and we become a democratic state,” he points out.

He suggests that the matter needs to be discussed with grassroots members and in a national convention to reach the desired goal.

Highlights on SPLM and the internal wrangles

The SPLM was originally the political wing of the SPLA, an insurgency that waged war for 22 years against the Khartoum government of Sudan, before joining the national government in a 2005 peace deal that also made SPLM the ruling party in Southern Sudan.

The SPLA uprising began in 1983 when the late John Garang, then the head of the army’s Staff College in Omdurman, joined guerrillas and the 105 battalion in mutinying and fleeing to Ethiopia.

The 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) established the SPLA as Sudanese army in southern Sudan while the Sudan Armed Force (SAF) was considered the army of northern Sudan.

The SPLM has ruled South Sudan since the CPA and won elections in 2010, securing its position as the dominant political force ahead of the country’s vote for independence in 2011.

South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir Mayardit in July 2013 issued a presidential decree firing his Vice President Riek Machar and dissolving the entire cabinet.

He then issued an order calling for investigation of the party’s Secretary-General, Pagan Amum accusing him of inciting violence and criticising his actions.

A committee chaired by the speaker of the parliament and SPLM deputy chairman, James Wani Igga, was given the responsibility of probing Amum.

Kiir fired the governor of Unity state Taban Deng, accusing him of seconding Machar’s candidature come 2015 elections.

He then suspended cabinet affairs minister Deng Alor and finance minister Kosti Manibe over corruption allegations.

Those are some of the events said to be responsible for the current crisis.

These wrangles and tensions climaxed into an alleged foiled coup three weeks back sparking off mass tribal clashes that have killed thousands of lives and sent others into refugee camps.

IGAD intervention

The African Union (AU) responded by sending a team of foreign affairs ministers from selected countries to mediate for talks but their plan hit a dead end.

The President of Kenya and the Ethiopian Premier personally visited President Kiir, a visit that gave birth to the IGAD Heads of States summit.

Members of IGAD Heads of State who sat in Nairobi Kenya last Friday issued a four-day ultimatum directing President Kiir and his former deputy to sit on a round table and engage in peace talks.

President Kiir committed to the ceasefire as IGAD continued to encourage Machar to do the same and prevent further effusion of blood.

The four days will elapse tomorrow on Tuesday December 31, 2013.

However, it was also noted that the question of detained cabinet ministers should be discussed if it is the only way of facilitating the peace talks.

One of the ministers, Prof Adwok Nyaba, former minister for education and technology was released but the others are still in custody.

It is still unclear whether these parties will respect and meet the requirements the four-day ultimatum issued by IGAD Heads of State in its 19-point decision.


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