Chairman: Salva Kiir Mayardit
Deputy Chairman: Riek Machar Teny
Secretary General: Pagan Amum Okiech
Deputy Secretary General: Anne Itto
The SPLM was originally the political wing of the SPLA, an insurgency that waged war for 22 years against the Khartoum-based 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 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 CPA established the SPLA as Sudanese army is southern Sudan while the Sudan Armed Force is considered as northern Sudan army. Both are forming the Sudanese army. The Joint Integrated Units formed in accordance to the peace deal are supposed to the nucleus of the future united army id the southern Sudan opts to remain part of a united state.
This background on the SPLM/SPLA is taken from The Sudanese press after separation – Contested identities of journalism. MICT 2012, Page 34.
The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) and its then military wing, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), were formed in 1983 when Colonel Dr. John Garang de Mabior was sent to quell a mutiny of Southern troops in the Southern town of Bor but instead set himself at the head of the insurgency. During the first civil war, Garang had joined the Southern rebel movement of Anya-Nya-I and was absorbed into the regular army after the Addis Ababa peace agreement of 1972.
The 1983 rebellion not only was sparked by President Numeiri’s policy of eroding the Addis accord and of Islamizing the country but was also a result of internal power struggles by Southern politicians. In the beginning, the SPLM defined itself as a national movement with a Marxist orientation that was not confined to the South. It declared as its principal objective: “The New Sudan,” a united and secular state that provides social, economic and political justice for the marginalized peoples of the peripheries. Hence, the SPLM also attracted support from Northern Sudan, particularly the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile.
After Numeiri’s overthrow in 1985, the SPLM entered into negotiations with the main Northern parties. However, all peace initiatives failed because of political wrangling in Khartoum. By the time the 1989 “National Salvation Revolution” took over power in Khartoum, the SPLA controlled the largest part of Southern Sudan. In 1990, the SPLM joined the opposition umbrella NDA. In 1991, however, the SPLA lost the military initiative due to both an internal split and regime change in Ethiopia, which had been its main supporter. Peace talks with the new government failed, but in 1995, the SPLA went on the military offensive again, while its NDA- allies opened another front in Eastern Sudan.
In 2002, the SPLM and the Khartoum government signed the first Machakos protocol, which paved the way for the 2005 CPA. However, briefly after his inauguration as first vice president of the Republic and as president of the semi-autonomous South, SPLM/A-leader Dr. Garang died in a helicopter crash. He was succeeded by his military chief of staff, Salva Kiir Mayardit, a co-founder of the SPLA/M. Subsequently, the secessionists within the party gained the upper hand, and the SPLM parted from Garang’s concept of a united “New Sudan”.
When South Sudan became an independent republic on July 9, 2011, the ruling SPLM formally severed ties with its Northern Sector, but it is widely assumed that military support for its struggle continues unofficially.
Al Jazeera English | SPLM leader speaks to Al Jazeera | 20 Oct 2007
The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) has pulled out of the government in Khartoum, endangering a peace deal bewteen South and North Sudan signed in 2005.
Al Jazeera English | 2005 Sudan peace deal in jeopardy | 11 Oct. 2007
A new politicial divide could be opening up in Sudan, after the main opposition party from the south announced it’s suspending work participation in the government. The Sudan people’s Liberation Movement says its ministers and officials won’t be turning up for work with what’s supposed to be a national unity government. They say their political partners from the north have failed to meet a long list of demands, agreed to in a 2006 peace deal. That deal ended 20 years of fighting between southern rebels and the government in Khartoum.
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