In Defense of the SPLM-IO

By Duop Chak Wuol

Lt. Gen. John Jok Gai walking with Lt. Gen. Simon Gatwech Dual after their arrival in Juba in 2016. Gen. Jok resumed operations in July 2016 and continued to lead SPLA-IO in Central Equatoria(Photo: file)

Lt. Gen. John Jok Gai walking with Lt. Gen. Simon Gatwech Dual after their arrival in Juba in 2016. Gen. Jok resumed operations in July 2016 and continued to lead SPLA-IO in Central Equatoria(Photo: file)

Aug 5, 2017(Nyamilepedia) —— The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-In Opposition (SPLM-IO) is indisputably the only political entity with a vision to transform South Sudan into a democratic society. The SPLM-IO is a party capable of liberating the people of South Sudan from a mafia-like policy that relies heavily on tribal citizenship and division between people.

I would like to first admit that I personally dislike the name of the SPLM merely because it is associated with a brutal past and no longer represents South Sudan, but my aversion to it is irrelevant since this article is not about Sudan’s history. However, it would be advisable for the SPLM-IO to consider changing its name for the same reason.

Coming back to the topic, the SPLM-IO was formed soon after war broke out in Juba in December 2013. The main reason for its creation was to challenge Salva Kiir’s increasingly tyrannical leadership, which was on full display throughout the country before and after the dismissal of Dr. Riek Machar and other senior SPLM leaders.

I do not believe in the existence of hell, but if such a thing did in fact exist, then the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) under Salva Kiir deserves to go to hell. This historical and important political institution deserves to be sent to hell for the fact that the party has lost its vision for the country and committed serious crimes that offset its relevance. Under Kiir, the party replaced its founding principles with a policy championed by ethnic nationalists of the Jieng Council of Elders (JCE). The JCE is a destructive, divisive, and deceitful entity run by tribal hooligans. Kiir is clearly a nighttime member of such a tribal group.

Fascinated by Yoweri Museveni’s iron-fisted leadership style, Kiir armed himself with the constitutional powers to dismiss and appoint officials at any time after cunningly fooling the nation by changing the constitution to fit his illusion of being South Sudan’s strong man. He surrounded himself with known tribalists who had a history of championing ethnic supremacy and effectively became a ruthless dictator with thousands of unknown ethnic gunmen at his beck and call.

It is worth mentioning that the recent Ugandan-led SPLM reunification scheme is nothing more than a mere calculating strategy to keep Salva Kiir in power and systematically eliminate his potential adversaries for good. This comes as no surprise since the SPLM is known for communist fanaticism.

The SPLM-IO, under the leadership of Dr. Riek Machar and Henry Odwar, has become the essence of real democracy: it introduced federalism, decentralized the system of governance, hosts open elections where people choose their leaders, allows people to run for any office without fear of being sidelined, and has zero tolerance for anyone who prefers the SPLM’s policy of championing unknown gunmen. So those who have been flinging malicious accusations against the SPLM-IO are probably the uninformed ones who chose to stick to the bush-mentality of the SPLM. The people who are behind these erroneous allegations should know that the armed opposition under the leadership of Machar represents the true meaning of democracy. The ultimate mission of the SPLM-IO is to transform South Sudan into a democratic nation where people can practice impartial, inclusive, and democratic political ideas. The ethnic-based citizenship policy of Kiir’s SPLM only allows sycophants to be members and has no room within the SPLM-IO.

This is why the SPLM-IO is the only hope for the people of South Sudan. Nascent democracy is what the armed opposition stands for, not the ethnic-based and preach-to-me mentality that is being imposed on the people of South Sudan by the SPLM. The SPLM-IO would never support a policy where elected officials are removed and appointed through decrees.

I agree that the SPLM is irrefutably the bedrock political entity of South Sudan and will continue to be so. However, its ideologies have been misused under Kiir’s leadership. Kiir proves himself to be a person whose mind has no room for criticism. He likes to talk about the importance of togetherness, but his public declarations are not aligned with his leadership mentality. He clearly fits the true definition of a ruthless tyrant.

Under Kiir, the historical SPLM has transformed itself into an oppressive political bloc that centralizes power, uses phony elections to put Kiir’s loyalists in power, intimidates other political parties or candidates, kills its critics, and removes elected officials from the local to national level. The SPLM under Salva Kiir has merely become too tyrannical to be supported. Kiir simply made the SPLM his private tyrannical institution where he cunningly silences anyone with democratic ideas. I think our late leader Dr. John Garang de Mabior would not be pleased if he were to rise again and witness Kiir’s seemingly out-of-control acts of tyranny.

Politics is a good art with its own blunders and absurdities — yet it is an arena where politicians are assumed to serve for the greater good of the society. But the SPLM under Kiir has simply transformed itself into a mafia-like organization in a political outfit. This is a party that replaces its doctrine with an ethnic-based policy and kills with impunity; a political organization that believes those who are critical of the way it conducts national affairs deserve to die.

The people of South Sudan have had enough of the SPLM’s destructive policy and no longer have the desire to take part in it. The policy of killing critics, journalists, critical writers, and ordinary citizens is now the official doctrine of the SPLM. The SPLM no longer fits the character of a sound political party; it has been hijacked by destructive, bloody, and ethnic-driven old men who only know how to turn a nation into a tribal village and engineer a policy that deeply divides tribes. The SPLM clearly deserves to be sent to hell and silently meet its demise — enough is enough.

Duop Chak Wuol is the Editor-in-Chief of the South Sudan News Agency. He can be reached at duop282@gmail.com. The views expressed in this article are his and should not be attributed to the South Sudan News Agency.

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