OPINION — Shortly after South Sudan gained her independence from Sudan on July 9, 2011, the people of South Sudan were discontented and dissatisfied with the directions and how the Country is managed politically by SPLM, the ruling party. And There is urgency or need for new political dispensation in the Country.
However, the populace discontentment, coupled with, lost of trust and confident from the SPLM leadership on how they are managing the Country resource and bad governances; Was perceived by the disgruntled politicians within SPLM as window of opportunity to take or snatched a power from president ( Salva Kiir Mayardit).
On December 6, 2013, the said politicians issued press statements and called for reformed and agitated for the new leadership within SPLM ruling party, suggesting the removal of president Slava Kiir Mayardit from the ruling party as flag bearer and as president of the Country. Among those politicians, one was the president Kiir, his Vice President( Dr. Reik Machar), and one was the party Secretary General ( Pagan Amum). And More party members and leaders were present at the time of the press conference.
This press conference shocked the Country and the world. The concerning issue was not the nature of the conference itself, but how those politicians chose to violate the procedures and the party’s governing policy by not dealing with party issues within the party before talking to the people of South Sudan.
As a consequence of this press conference, the president of South Sudan, Salva Kirr Mayardit called the SPLM National party conference on 14-16 of December, 2013 as the matter of emergency. However, the conference did not end well due to the lack of trust among the SPLM cadres and leaders and the Country descended into Civil unrest. South Sudan ( SPLA) Army divided themselves based on the Ethnic lines and fire fighting ensuing among themselves. As a result of the war, many Civilians were killed in Juba. 10 of those politicians who attended the press conference were arrested and were later dubbed as former political detainees…
With twists and turns, the war took the ethnic line. Nuer Ethnic claimed that governments led by the Dinka Ethnic have killed their loved ones and the Dinka civil population is the ultimate target. Many cities in the greater upper Nile inhabited by the Dinka Ethnic were attacked by rag tag militants ( armed civilians).
The SPLM In Opposition was formed in 2014, in Nasir Town, near the Ethiopia border with South Sudan. And led by Dr. Reik Machar, the Vice President of South Sudan turned rebel leader. The SPLM In Opposition was joined by many with different hats; some were in for the revenge of their loved one killed by the Government of South Sudan. Some were in for new leadership opportunities. Some were in with reforms agenda and new political dispensation in South Sudan and the war continued.
As war dragged on, the Intergovernmental Authority for Development( IGAD) East Africa regional organization called for cease fire and peace between the government of South Sudan and rebels. In 2015, a peace agreement was signed between the South Sudan Government led by president Salva Kiir and the Rebels led by Dr. Reik Machar.
In 2016, the first Rebel Delegations arrived in the South Sudan capital city, Juba with a presidential protection force.
Before the rebel delegations arrived in Juba, there was a split in SPLM IO base in pagak headquarters between Dr. Reik Machar and three strong generals. Out of three generals, two of them died in mysterious circumstances and one signed a peace with the Government of South Sudan to save himself from mysterious death situations.
As I mentioned above that, SPLM IO was joined by many with differences hats and aspirations, in July 8, 2016, there was an SPLM IO orchestrated coup within and as results, it brought the Government forces and rebel force to fierce fight that left many dead In presidential palace in Juba. And leader of the Rebel Dr. Reik Machar left Juba with Some of his force to Congo on foot for 45 days. And General Taban Deng was appointed as Vice President to president Salva KIIR in SPLM IO position since he was a member of SPLM IO and a leading figure in the Opposition.
In 2018, Dr. Reik Machar went to Khartoum from Congo and he renegotiated the peace agreement with president KIIR to be reinstated back to his Vice President position that was given to Generals, Taban Deng Gai.
However, the African Union looked at Dr.Riek Machar’s demand to be reinstated to his position as a recipe for another war of position within the SPLM IO. Instead created the five Vice President positions to accommodate Dr. Reik Machar as Vice President and rest of the other opposition groups, since war turned out to be the war of positions and not reformed as was claimed at inception of the war.
In 2020, Dr. Reik Machar went to South Sudan capital Juba and was reinstated back as first Vice President to President Salva KIIR and other four Vice Presidents were appointed. And the government representation was divided based on the party’s line.
Nonetheless, the issues within the SPLM In Opposition did not stop there. When Dr. Reik Machar arrived in Juba and was time to appoint his representative, he only decided to appoint his close confidantes and relatives into the SPLM In Opposition allocate seats. And left out the majority of his In Opposition base in dilemma. This issue created a big rift within the SPLM IO. Currently , there are factions fighting within the SPLMIO of Dr. Reik Machar and General Simon Gatwhich Dual, the chief of staff of SPLM In opposition army wing.
This infighting within the SPLM In Opposition have created so much hostilities among the members and have divided themselves on sectionals lines and could mean the end of the SPLM In opposition.
Now, SPLM IO is crippled by the factions infighting and it is likely the winner will take it all.
Mijok Dongwei Akier is the Author of “what Dr. Reik Machar is up to in South Sudan”. He can be reached through email at MajokDongwei@gmail.com.
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