By Joe Odaby
Juba, South Sudan — December 12, 2013 … The Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement (SPLM) top leadership has asserted that there is no crisis in the party and dismissed the party rebels as “disgruntled elements”.
A group of SPLM party members led by former South Sudan Vice President Riek Machar and ex-Secretary General Pagan Amum accused in a press conference held in Juba, South Sudan last Friday the leadership of the ruling party of deviating from the party’s initial vision, and of corruption.
In response the party issued a press statement labeling the group “some disgruntled elements” whose intention is to “discredit and distort facts”.
Former Vice President Riek Machar was fired by President Kiir in July 2013as part of an effort to trim the Government and make it more efficient. However, the influential think-tank The Fashoda Institute and other South Sudanese analysts opined that Machar was fired for his alleged back door dealings with the Islamist government of Sudan, South Sudan’s northern neighbor and bitter enemy.
The Khartoum government led by General al-Bashir, indicted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes and genocide, has allegedly promised Riek Machar to support his effort to unseat President Kiir and bring Juba back into Sudan’s fold.
In a press statement read out by the Vice President of the Republic and Deputy SPLM Chairperson H.E James Wani Igga, the SPLM Political Bureau accused the group of using cheap propaganda of intended to divide the people of South Sudan.
“These people are a disgruntled group united by one common cause of having lost power or influence either in the party or in the government. This comes out clearly in their words, whether spoken or written”, the press statement issued by a committee of the party’s Political Bureau and National Liberation Council stated.
“To us in the SPLM, we are more mindful of the vision and the core values of the liberation movement so much that we don’t see our struggle in the narrow lenses of those who referred to other people as “anti-Garang” elements. We all cherish our dear iconic leader Dr. John Garang de Mabior who brought freedom for the people of South Sudan”, the statement read in part.
Meanwhile, the SPLM has called for the 3rd National Liberation Council (NLC) to pass the party’s basic documents consisting of the constitution, code of conduct and the party manifesto.
“If these comrades are genuine, they should raise their “so-called crisis or deviations” in the NLC or subsequently in the Political Bureau meeting,” Mr. Igga stressed.
The party leadership has cautioned the splinter group not to incite the army against the democratically elected President Kiir and not to threaten creating instability, ‘chaos and disorder’ and falling into an ‘abyss’. Vice President Igga said the ‘gate as compared to the narrow door’ is open for dialogue within the party.