Home | News    Friday 23 January 2015

South Sudan’s rival SPLM factions vow to work for reforms


January 22, 2015 (JUBA) – The three factions of South Sudan’s governing Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) have signed an agreement seeking to reunify the rank and file of its leadership and membership, pledging to work together for reforms and national unity.

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South Sudanese president Salva Kiir (L) shakes hands with rebel leader and former vice-president Riek Machar after signing an agreement on the reunifiation of the SPLM in Arusha, Tanzania on 21 January 2015 (AP)

The deal, which was signed in the Tanzanian town of Arusha on Wednesday by president Salva Kiir, rebel leader Riek Machar, representatives of former SPLM detainees and former cabinet minister Deng Alor in the presence of Tanzanian president Jakaya Kikwete has addressed the root causes of the intra-party conflict, which plunged the country into crisis on 15 December 2013.

The accord, dubbed the Agreement on the Reunification of the SPLM, serves as a roadmap towards ending the violent conflict that has killed tens of thousands of people and uprooted millions others from their homes when political debates on reforms within the ruling party turned violent.

The conflict rapidly extended to the army, resulting into an abrupt split and defections within security forces.


The new agreement witnessed by regional leaders has however addressed the core political, organisational and leadership issues that led to the disagreements in the first place.

The accord has acknowledged that the SPLM had a loss vision and direction and further failed to “institutionalise and democratise the exercise of power in the party” with the agreement calling for an urgent need to rectify the situation.

The deal also stipulated to restructure the party organs and its leadership as well as review the basic documents which were passed on 14 December 2013 by president Kiir’s faction amid a walkout by Machar’s led group that day.

It also calls on the party’s top leader to immediately revoke the dismissal of some party leaders and members following the eruption of the crisis in December 2013, hence reinstating them into the ruling party.

The deal further calls on the warring factions to respect and implement the cessation of hostilities agreement they signed since 23 January 2014 and to expedite the Addis Ababa talks to end the war by a political agreement.

A ceasefire signed in January has however never been effective, despite the principal leaders coming together and signing documents committing them to fully honour and implement various accords, some of which were signed under international and regional pressure and fear of threat for sanctions and isolations.

The unity deal was mediated by the Tanzania’s ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM), under Kikwete’s chairmanship and has also received political support from other regional leaders.

“Congratulations to the SPLM leadership for reaching an agreement to reunify their party for the good of South Sudan,” Tanzania’s foreign minister, Bernard Membe, said via Twitter.


The government and opposition factions of the historical SPLM welcomed the deal and vowed to work sincerely for its implementation in order to make peace a concrete reality and to rebuild the new nation.

“I think there is a reason to smile and celebrate the coming together of the SPLM leadership to sign a framework agreement. This is a very important step towards the unity of our people and resolving conflict,” said Daniel Awet Akot, a leading member of the SPLM and leader of the government delegation in Arusha.

“It will serve as the roadmap to resolving all the issues which brought this senseless war and suffering to our people. All our people need peace and they must be happy because this is a chance to end this war,” he added.

“It will be a chance to end the suffering of our people and this is why it is a step forward in the right direction, for our people are dying, said Daniel Awet Akot,” he added.

Akot urged South Sudanese and the regional leaders to work together with the factions to help bring lasting peace to the country through encouraging internal dialogue and reconciliation.

“Many people have always expressed pessimism. Some colleagues have even said it to me [it] would not work but I told them, it will work because SPLM leadership has never failed to reconcile. Now it has worked. The leadership took bold decision and decided to work together in order to remove the country from being torn apart,” Akot told Sudan Tribune on Thursday.


Lam Akol, the leader of the opposition Sudan People’s Liberation Movement for Democratic Change (SPLM-DC), said much remains to be done, although the deal represents a good step towards unity of the leadership

“The agreement is definitely a giant step forward towards peace, reconciliation and unity of the SPLM. But we are not there yet. Personally, and as leader of the (parliamentary) opposition, I congratulate the SPLM factions for taking this giant step forward towards unity,” said Akol.

“They are well advised to be selfless, as we were during the struggle, and complete the remaining lap. Then and only then shall we celebrate an achievement after the misery and disaster caused by the same,” he noted shortly after the release of the signed document.


Parliamentary speaker Magok Rundial said the agreement demonstrates the ability of the SPLM leadership to resolve the differences through peaceful dialogue as best option from violence.

“On behalf of the leadership of the national legislative assembly and on my own behalf, I would like to extend my profound gratitude and congratulatory message to the SPLM chairman, comrade Salva Kiir Mayardit, for demonstrating leadership and courage to pursue peace to end this senseless war through dialogue,” he told reporters on Thursday.

“The signing of this agreement also demonstrates the ability of the SPLM leadership to resolve differences through peaceful dialogue,” he added.

Machar’s spokesperson, James Gatdet Dak, said the leadership of the SPLM-IO was committed to the agreement, explaining the deal had addressed many of the root causes of the conflict within the ruling party and would further direct the negotiations in Addis Ababa.

“Our leadership welcomes the fact that the intraparty agreement has addressed many of the political, organisational and leadership issues that created this unnecessary political crisis and imposed civil war,” Dak told Sudan Tribune on Thursday.

He said that by recognising the loss of vision the deal provides for comprehensive reforms in the party in order to rectify this situation

“So these are some of the core issues our reformist leaders were calling for before this unnecessary violent crisis from 15 December 2013. They were unfortunately resisted by others. We are now happy that these have been understood and accepted as unavoidable realities,” he said.


Dak further added that the agreement also called for suspension of convening of SPLM national convention and congresses, which he said were always necessary prerequisites prior to elections in government.

“The parties have also agreed to suspend unilateral preparations to convene the party’s national convention and its congresses until reunification is achieved and the war is ended. This also implies that the elections being talked about by the government should be suspended until the ruling party reorganises itself,” he said.

In line with the signed deal the basic documents, including the party constitution which were passed on 14 December 2013 by a faction led by Kiir, will be reviewed. An extraordinary convention will be called to pass them once the reunification is achieved and war ended.

The signatories agreed to form a committee for the implementation of the agreement, as well as to structure the leadership of the party.

The rebel spokesperson dismissed allegations that the agreement had endorsed president Kiir as the chairman, saying this will be tackled in the leadership structure and self-evaluation.

The party deal also denies access to public positions of those who will be found directly involved in committing crimes against humanity and further called for reparation and compensation of the victims from the crisis.

The intra-party agreement was however not a substitute for the ongoing peace talks in Addis Ababa, but rather to complement and expedite the peace process which, he said, was more complex as it encompassed various reforms including security, governance and economic reforms.

Meanwhile, signatories to the document pledged their respective commitments to the deal and urged the secretary-general of Tanzania’ ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi to move to Juba for implementation of some of the immediate provisions in accordance with the implementation matrix.


TEXT: Agreement on the reunification of the SPLM

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  • 23 January 2015 07:42, by dinkdong

    Will it last?

    repondre message

  • 23 January 2015 07:47, by Big Boy

    Well done the three factions,and congratulations! So many skillful players in Arusha govmt.I would say they would overtake the Ethip in terms of discussion and team work East Afr, was individual skill and brilliance but Arusha Govmt completely destroys the food-lover opponents with the new reform and Nat’l unity. When they felt that the war are not the resulation to change regime top of the games.

    repondre message

    • 23 January 2015 09:30, by Mr Point

      After the fake coup,
      the murders of civilians,
      the senseless war, tribalist massacres,
      much of the population displaced to camps.
      the onset of famine,
      the economy destroyed
      ... finally Kiir has led us back to Square One!

      Did you need any more evidence that he is a worse leader since Independence even than Bashir?

      repondre message

  • 23 January 2015 08:09, by Marco Bul


    War erupted becz someone or group refused reforms.
    Now that someone or group has accept to work for reforms!!
    I am speechless

    repondre message

    • 23 January 2015 08:22, by Mayom County Boy

      congratulation for this significances agreement that was been signed in Tanzanian ,between both two parties , government and rebel ,plus G10.we need peace to come , with out peace south sudan will not be a country

      repondre message

  • 23 January 2015 09:18, by Angelo Achuil

    Very good step. The next question is whether this would leads to true, meaningful, and permanent constitutional reforms (nationwide) and healing of S. Sudan or just another temporary deal within one political party called SPLM. Let’s hope for the best.

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  • 23 January 2015 14:09, by Emporio

    The cause of problem was prejudice against prejudice to Divide and conquer! We must not let the happen here in south sudan Unification is not our present goal. That is a future program.we must stop war against innocent civilians and live in peace go a head mr president

    repondre message

  • 23 January 2015 14:18, by Hardlinner

    They should introduce primaries for picking candidates that will contest in the election. Hand picking need to cease. Whoever that reckoned to win in primary election should do so without hindering. Just follow american election processes. That is the best way to end leadership problems in south sudan.

    repondre message

  • 23 January 2015 15:06, by wang

    Rewarding a killer will never be a solution…..Kiir must leave the S. Sudan by force for sake of peace to returns….

    repondre message

  • 24 January 2015 01:12, by Nyesi Ta

    Mr. useless president, the man you are greeting is the very man you almost killed without justification, after which you went onto rampant killing of his tribesmen unjustifiably. Shame on you.

    repondre message

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