November 15, 2013 (JUBA) – In a move that surprised many among the senior leaders of the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) party, South Sudan’s president and SPLM chairman, Salva Kiir Mayardit, on Friday revealed he had dissolved all the structures of the party and declared him would appoint an interim body to prepare for a national convention.
- South Sudan president Salva Kiir waits for the arrival of his Kenyan counterpart Uhuru Kenyatta, in Juba on 23 May 2013 (Photo: Reuters)
These structures include the highest executive organ, the Political Bureau (PB) and the National Liberation Council (NLC).
Kiir, who communicated the verbal decision while opening a new office for the party leadership, said his action was prompted by the fact that the party national convention, which was supposed to elect new leaderships since May this year had delayed; thus elapsing the lifespan of the existing structures.
He said only the office of the chairman and the secretariat will function until he reappoints a new secretariat, adding that he will instead form a special committee that will organise for formation of congresses in the various states.
Present during the occasion included the country’s new vice president and SPLM second deputy chairman, James Wani Igga and three other members of the political bureau including the acting secretary general, Ann Itto, Daniel Awet Akot and Kuol Manyang Juuk.
However, Kiir reportedly denied having dissolved the structures of the party after the publication of his statements, despite the fact that his speech was recorded by a number of media houses as well as confirmed by a number of eyewitnesses present at the occasion.
LISTEN TO KIIR’S ANNOUNCEMENT
It is not yet clear whether or not the party chairman will put in writing his verbal order to dissolve the structures.
Senior members of the political bureau were not invited to the occasion included the SPLM’s first deputy chairman, Riek Machar Teny, Secretary General Pagan Amum Okiech and Rebecca Nyandeng de Mabior, among others.
The move prompted reactions from party leaders including the former vice-president, Machar, who condemned the action, saying the party chairman had violated the constitution and party regulations.
He described the move as a conspiracy, saying Kiir "should resign from the party chairmanship if he disliked the SPLM, instead of dismantling it".
The former vice president in a statement extended to the Sudan Tribune argued that there was no provision in the current party constitution which gives the chairman the power to dissolve the structures.
He further said that in the absence of the national convention, the national liberation council should continue to operate until a convention is held.
The national convention was supposed to be held in May this year, five years after the May 2008 convention. However, a delay to conduct a series of PB and NLC meetings to pass the party’s basic documents was to blame.
The party was required to pass the basic documents such as the constitution, manifesto, code of conduct and rules and regulations before it could hold the convention.
Pagan Amum had however reportedly submitted eight requests to Kiir to call for such meetings but there was no green light given.
The latest 22 October schedule per request of the acting SG, Ann Itto, also failed.
Last week the national secretariat announced that the NLC meeting would take place on 23 November next week. However, the latest decision by the chairman puts the scheduled meeting in limbo since the NLC structure is no longer recognised