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Sudan Tribune

Plural news and views on Sudan

Sudan’s SPLM chairman should stop changing colours

By Tut Gatwech

February 16, 2008 — The SPLM chairman, Salva Kiir Mayardit, should stop acting like a chameleon by changing his colours depending on where he finds himself or in the presence of whom. I am always shocked by his repeated and seemingly well unthought-of statements over the media as the CPA implementation and his Party’s objectives are concerned.

Not long time ago that, while in the presence of NCP’s Omer el-Beshir in Khartoum, Kiir told the world that the SPLM had no any remaining differences with the NCP over the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). Reading this over many media outlets, I felt relieved thinking that all the outstanding issues, which almost took the country back to war, were resolved. But that was not the case! The statement was in favour of the NCP which wanted to mislead the world and lull the international community to sleep that every thing was very okay in the CPA implementation.

About a day later, I read a contradicting statement by his Deputy, Dr. Riek Machar, who was explaining to the press, as he came back from Khartoum, I guess, the outcome of a meeting of the Joint Political and Executive Committee he co-chaired with Sudan’s Vice President, Ali Osman Mohamed Taha, over the debate on the outstanding issues in the CPA implementation. He enumerated many critical issues which were not resolved. What a shock! I was surprised asking myself whether or not Machar heard his boss the other day denying any existence of differences between the two parties to the CPA. It was later on confirmed that there still exist differences over many issues.

Just last week, I read another statement from Salva Kiir assuring the world that he was satisfied with the implementation of the CPA. He was then shut up and proved wrong just a few hours later by news of fighting between the SPLA and SAF over the issue of redeployments of forces, which is one of the unresolved critical issues.

Up to date, the issues which remain unresolved include, but not limited to, the redeployments of SAF and SPLA troops to North/South of 1956 borders respectively, demarcation of the border itself, transparency in oil management and share and Abyei protocol. Are these not differences between the SPLM and NCP and, of course, indicators of dissatisfaction in the CPA implementation?

Again, while in Cairo, Egypt, the SPLM chairman publicly stated that the SPLM is a ‘Unionist Party’ and should therefore work for unity of the Sudan. Did he mean what he said over the media or did he simply decide to act like a chameleon while in the presence of Egyptian authority who might not want to hear the word ‘separation’?

To me, such statements would damage the credibility of the SPLM and its leadership in the eyes of the people of Southern Sudan. Mr. Kiir should have left the so-called unity to the National Congress Party (NCP) to try to attract it while playing a low profile. Avoiding the truth, in order to gain short-term favors while incurring long-term damages to your Party and the people you represent, is unpatriotic.

Comrade Kiir has already achieved a tremendous job by uniting the people of Southern Sudan; an achievement not previously done by any SPLM leader since 1983. He should therefore not let his people down by directing his party to work for unity which would undermine the aspirations of the people of Southern Sudan!

*The author is a former SPLA Child-Soldier and can be reached at: [email protected]*