November 22, 2013 (JUBA) - South Sudan’s ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) has confirmed the dissolution of all its structures, correcting previous reports that gave different interpretations on the matter.
- South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir gives a press statement , in Juba February 2, 2012 (Issac Billy/UNMISS)
In statement issued on 18 November, the party said earlier reports that President Salva Kiir used his constitutional powers to dissolve all party structures were “factual”.
Kiir, also chairperson of the south-ruling party, gave these directives during the official opening of the SPLM leadership house in the capital, Juba on 15 November.
The statement, which bears the name of Suzanne Jambo, the SPLM secretary for external relations, said Kiir was exercising his constitutional powers under “chapter X (25) sections (d), (e), (f) and (g) respectively”.
It further said all party structures were dissolved with the exception of the SPLM general secretariat, which will remain in place at both national and state levels.
The statement obtained by Sudan Tribune quoted the 2008 constitution chapter V, including the National Liberation Council, (NLC), the National Convention (NC) and Political Bureau (PB) as the sources of power Kiir used to dissolve the party structures.
Kiir, according to Jambo, based his dissolution decision on the expiry date of office tenures. Constitutionally, for instance, the office tenure of the PB was five years from May 2008.
The official further quoted the chairperson of her party as citing poor performance by the structures, specifically lack of follow-ups on actions, implementation, activities, and performance evaluation of party political appointees to government and Party resolutions and policies.
Also cited, among other reasons, was the repeated failure to hold party meetings as required in its constituencies.
“The structures have not followed the SPLM constitution [the] to meet per criteria. Since 2008, the NLC met in March 2012 and since then no follow-up to their resolutions [has taken place]", Jambo said in the statement.
The chairman persistently - and witnessed so in past meetings - had called for NC and NLC meetings to be held in vain, she added.
She said Kiir had cited numerous occasions when confidential party issues and decisions were leaked to the public without authorisation, explaining that the norms of any ethical institution is to safeguard confidential matters.
Jambo explained that the general secretariat has been delegated to continue the party’s work at all levels, adding that Kiir plans to form a caretaker committee to carry-out specific assignments soon.
“The party chairman has constitutional powers to continue to lead the party till he is clear the party is fully organised and harmoniously re-structured in accordance to Chapter X", said the party’s external relations secretary.
The chairman as the head of all SPLM structures has constitutional powers to appoint specialised standing or ad-hoc committees per chapter VII (II) (12), she added.
PARTY OFFICIALS DIFFER
Last week, Sudan Tribune’s report that president Kiir had dissolved the party’s highest executive organs attracted fury from the country’s information minister, Michael Makuei who insisted that the SPLM chairman was simply "misunderstood".
"The chairman of the SPLM stated that yes last May we were supposed to have our convention. And since we have not done our convention up to now, so all the institutions of the party which should have been elected by now are operational outside their official period. So, he said ultimately we will dissolve these institutions", the minister said.
"And we will only continue to operate with the secretariat general until that time when we set up a body; a secretariat that will actually begin the preparation for the third national convention", he added.
The president, Makuei stressed, never said he had the dissolved the party’s institutions, a statement which largely contradicts Jambo’s assertion.
"So, it is premature for us to conclude that he has dissolved them. But he will dissolve them not just like that but by an order which he will issue as the chairman of the party", explained the minister.
He, however, made it clear that the action to dissolve the party structures or institutions was imminent, but that the SPLM chairman had not yet effected it, pending re-organisational activities.
Observers wondered why it was the government’s spokesperson, and not that of the party who reacted to the statement attributed to the SPLM chairman, yet the latter did not speak in his capacity as president of the country.
Meanwhile, Kiir’s statement on dissolution of the SPLM structures attracted criticisms from his senior colleagues, including the ex-vice president, Riek Machar, who described the president’s action as a “violation” of the party constitution.
Machar, also the party’s deputy chairperson, said Kiir had no constitutional power to dissolve the party structures, adding these structures should continue operating until the NLC meeting, initially scheduled for 23 November, is held.