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Senior SPLM colleagues give Kiir ultimatum over party crisis

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SPLM senior leaders holding a press conference to discuss the actions of party chairman and South Sudanese president Salva Kiir, on 6 December 2013 in Juba (ST)

December 6, 2013 (JUBA) – Senior leaders of the South Sudan’s ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) have given the country’s president and party chairman, Salva Kiir Mayardit, an ultimatum to put things right or else they will resort to the party constitution and act accordingly.

The former vice-president and current first deputy chairman of the SPLM Riek Machar, backed by several senior party leaders, called on Kiir to convene a meeting of the party’s highest executive organ, the Political Bureau (PB) that will set an agenda for the planned convening of the National Liberation Council (NLC).

NLC meeting was scheduled for 9 December bypassing the PB meeting, but the leaders said the former should take place before the latter.

In a press conference organised on Friday in Juba in the compound of the new SPLM leadership house recently inaugurated by Kiir, the leaders accused Kiir of misguided leadership style which they said has paralyzed both the party and government.

The leaders accused their chairman’s leadership style saying it was characterised by corruption and deviation from the party’s vision as well as encouraging regionalism and ethnicity.

They further accused Kiir of forming his own army in the name of presidential guards and intending to form a separate political party that would be linked to the National Congress Party (NCP) in Khartoum.

Machar said the party found itself in the war of vision and personality.

A number of the leaders spoke during the press conference which was packed with representatives of local and international media houses and hundreds from the public who witnessed the event despite earlier announcement that the public was not invited.

Machar read the press statement to the media, articulating the charges labelled against Kiir’s leadership, calling for PB meeting to address the internal crisis in the party.

Madam Robecca Nyandeng, the widow of the late founder of the SPLM, John Garang de Mabior, said the country was going in the wrong direction and needed the leaders to speak out and correct the situation.

Meanwhile the suspended secretary general Pagan Amum revealed that the Friday press conference was the beginning of a series of party activities, announcing that a public rally would be held on Saturday, 14 December.

The former minister of Cabinet Affairs, Deng Alor Kuol, decried the current leadership of president Salva Kiir, saying he is surrounded by people who are disconnected even from the outside world and prone to manipulation by Khartoum.

Also the former gubernatorial candidate in Central Equatoria state’s 2010 elections, Alfred Lado Gore, pointed out that SPLM had no ideology to follow and that resulted to some of the confusions currently witnessed.

Machar before reading the press statement also called on the government to declare three-day mourning for the death of the former South African president, Nelson Mandela, and to lower the national flag at half mask.

Below is the full text of the press statement
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PRESS STATEMENT

Revolutionary comrades, members of the SPLM

Our esteemed people of South Sudan

Distinguished Members of the Press

We, the members of the SPLM Political Bureau, National Liberation Council and SPLM leaders have called this press conference to enlighten our people on the internal crisis that has engulfed the SPLM leadership and paralyzed its functions in the government and in our society. The crisis started immediately after the tragic death of the SPLM historical and eternal leader Dr. John Garang de Mabior and manifested itself in the following:-

• The anti-Garang elements inside and outside the SPLM encircled comrade Salva Kiir Mayardit’s leadership of the SPLM and the Government of Southern Sudan [2005-2007]. This phenomenon compromised SPLM positions vis-a-vis the NCP in the CPA implementation, and in many incidences General Salva Kiir retreated from positions negotiated earlier by Dr. John Garang. These elements using their relationship with General Salva Kiir targeted and ostracized certain SPLM leaders and cadres they nicknamed ‘Garang orphans/boys’ creating schisms and precipitating open quarrels within the SPLM ranks;

• The shift in decision making process from SPLM national organs to regional and ethnic lobbies around the SPLM chairman when it came to appointments to positions in government; that membership of the SPLM and one’s participation in the revolutionary struggle became irrelevant. The SPLM is NOT a ruling party. In practice decisions are essentially made by one person, and in most cases directed by regional and ethnic lobbies and close business associates surrounding the SPLM Chairman;

• The efforts to transform the SPLM from a liberation movement into a mass based political party have totally been frustrated by the Chairman. General Salva ignored the grassroots views and demands garnered between July and August 2012 for the SPLM re-organization. The Political Bureau, the only organ that met nonetheless it had been difficult to translate its resolutions into plans of action in the Executive or legislations in the National Assembly, because of lack of collective leadership and the paralysis of the General Secretariat;

• There is no formal communication between the party organs at the national level and those in the States, County, Payam and Boma levels. The Government drives the SPLM rather than the other way round. The SPLM Chairman now uses his executive powers as President of the Republic, relying on his Presidential ADVISOR, to manage the SPLM and the country;

The crisis reached boiling point in March 2013 when General Salva Kiir cancelled the meeting of the National Liberation Council; issued a Presidential Decree withdrawing the delegated powers from his Vice President and First Deputy Chairman. Other decrees followed including the dismissal on false grounds of the Governors of Lakes and Unity States; the dismissal and appointment of a new Cabinet and the suspension of the SPLM Secretary General. We want to assure our people that these were personal decisions by General Salva Kiir since neither the PB nor the National Liberation Council (NLC) deliberated on these decisions, which have far-reaching implications for the SPLM and the Country.

The SPLM Chairman has completely immobilized the party, abandoned collective leadership and jettisoned all democratic pretensions to decision making. The SPLM is no longer the ruling party. The leader of South Sudan Democratic Forum heads the SPLM Government Cabinet and recent infiltrators/converts from the NCP now lead the National Legislative Assembly and the Council of States respectively. The Chairman did not care to appoint second or third tier SPLM leaders and cadres to occupy these positions if he had trouble with the first tier leaders. In the Army, General Salva Kiir Mayardit has demobilized the seasoned SPLA commanders and made them redundant. This action amounts to erasing the historical legacy of the SPLM suggesting that comrade Salva Kiir is on trek to form his personal army, in the guise of Presidential Guards. General Salva Kiir intends to form his own political party linked to the NCP and has nothing to do with the historic struggle of our people.

As a result, the Chairman unconstitutionally dissolved key SPLM organs namely the Political Bureau and the National Liberation Council and the National and States Secretariat on account that their mandates had expired in May 2013. He has already instructed the State Governors, (instead of the State SPLM Secretariats), to appoint their preferred delegates to the SPLM 3rd National Convention scheduled for February 2014. The intention is to sideline and prevent SPLM historical leaders and cadres categorized as ‘potential competitors’ from participation in the Convention. This is very dangerous move and is likely to plunge the party and the country into the abyss.

We want to bring to the attention of the masses of our people that General Salva Kiir has surrendered the SPLM power to opportunists and foreign agents. These actions undermine the hard won independence and sovereignty of the Republic of South Sudan.

The Government of South Sudan is misleading the public that it is servicing the 4.5 billion USD debt. It is not known where these monies were loaned from and on what they were spent as the country has been under austerity regime since April 2012. This is definitely a question of corruption that must be addressed together with the dura saga, the shoddy road contracts and the issue of 75 letters of defamation of SPLM historical leaders and cadres.

The deep-seated divisions within the SPLM leadership, exacerbated by dictatorial tendencies of the SPLM Chairman, and the dysfunctional SPLM structures from national to local levels are likely to create instability in the party and in the country. For these reasons, and out of our sincere concern about future of our people, we the SPLM members of the Political Bureau and the Leadership of the party are obliged to inform the public about the true state of affairs in the SPLM and how General Salva Kiir is driving our beloved Republic of South Sudan into chaos and disorder.

In order to resolve this crisis, we call on the SPLM Chairman to convene the Political Bureau to set the agenda for the National Liberation Council so as to correct the deviation from the SPLM vision and direction. And address the present challenges within the SPLM with the view of revitalizing and restoring the SPLM to the driving seat. The SPLM should hold steering wheel of the two historical processes of nation building and state building.

Long live the struggle of our people

Glory and honour to our martyrs

Long live South Sudan

Long live SPLM

Viva SPLM viva

Juba

December 6, 2013