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Sudan Tribune

Plural news and views on Sudan

Kiir, Arman campaign in Bahr El Ghazal

By Manyang Mayom

March 25, 2010 (RUMBEK) – The leadership of the SPLM campaigned in the states of Western and Northern Bahr El Ghazal, wrapping up a tour by storming Aweil town yesterday.

Yasir Arman speaks in Mapel
Yasir Arman speaks in Mapel
SPLM Chairman Salva Kiir Mayardit and members of SPLM leadership were scheduled to visit all five counties of Northern Bahr El Ghazal State. They held campaign rallies at Malek Alell, Aweil South County, and today in Aweil East and Aweil North.

Salva Kiir is expected to arrive to Rumbek on Friday in the evening at 5 p.m., a source told Sudan Tribune.

The turn-out in Aweil town was huge — such had not been seen since the signing of the Sudan Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). Among those present were GOSS President Salva Kiir Mayardit, his vice president Riek Machar Teny, Pagan Amum Ukec, presidential candidate Yasir Said Arman, Nhial Deng Nhial, Deng Alor Kuol, and Dr. Samson Kawaji.

“The leadership first and foremost called for the unity of the SPLM, reminding members and supporters that the liberation journey was not completed,” said SPLM official Garang Kuot.

President Kiir addressed the contentious issue of those SPLM members who chose to contest as independents after not being chosen in SPLM primaries. He acknowledged that some of those who were bitter and decided to run as independent candidates were his long-time comrades who fought side by side with him during the long war. So he called on them to reconsider their running as independent candidates in order to maintain and preserve the unity of the SPLM.

In order to drive the point home, the President publicly acknowledged those who had initially chosen to run as independent candidates but then withdrew their candidatures. He called their act the exemplary spirit needed in the SPLM, acknowledging Angelo Marach Thiik, Gar Gar Adim, Autiak Majak, Anguei Lual and Lual Chol Makaam.

Both Salva Kiir Mayardit and Yasir Arman, SPLM national presidential candidate, had been further south in Western Bahr El Ghazal; they arrived Tuesday evening in Mapel Boma which is in the area of Wau.

They were escorted by Machar, Amum, Samson Kwaji, Deng Alor Kuol and Anthony Makana among other dignitaries.

Over 10,000 out of 15,817 votes registered in Mapel Boma lined up to welcome their party presidential candidates for their arrival in Mapel from Tumbura of Western Equatoria State, said James Deng Dimo, SPLM official state secretariat spokesman.

In the opening rally, the SPLM nominee candidate for governor of Western Bahr El Ghazal state, Rezig Zakaria Hassan, introduced himself and two top party candidates to the Mapel Luo ethnic group.

This marks the first time that prominent SPLM figures have toured up in South Sudan in such a campaign convoy. Mapel was founded in 1994 during the wartime as a displace camp for the UN to supply war victims with food items.

However it is not the first time for Kiir and Riek Machar to see Mapel; the two men were popular to Mapel residents since Riek conducted a peace and reconciliation in 2005 between the state’s majority Luo ethic group, Faratid and Marialbai, a small Dinka tribe in Western Bahr el Ghazal State. But Yasir Arman and Pagan Amum Okech were the new faces in the area.

In the speech of Salva Kiir Mayardit in his campaign at Mapel, Kiir pointed out that Mapel is important in the history of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement because Mapel was not only for displaced persons but it was known as the headquarters of Wau County for SPLA to operate in greater Bahr El Ghazal.

Mayardit noted to people of Mapel the important of Cde Yasir Arman’s nomination to the post of presidency of the Republic of Sudan is based on his experience with SPLM and his competence and commitments to SPLM and Southerners.

Kiir mentioned that Arman was under his command in the movement since 1987 in Kurmuk, Blue Nile and Western Equatoria at a time when President Omer Hassan Al-Bashir launched planes to attack Yambio and Maridi.

“My nomination toward the challenges of the country of Sudan with my compatriot Said Arman is an acceleration towards solving the consultation of Blue Nile, Southern Kordofan and demarcation of borders including Abyei demarcation and … the genocides in Darfur to come to an end,” he said.

Kiir did not speak to the SPLA in Mapel about their delayed salaries. He congratulated the present SPLA senior officers whose ranks ranged up to Major General Charles Lam of the 5th Division. He asked Charles Lam to tell soldiers in the barracks that last week he settled that issues with the SPLA administrative branch.

In another development in the region, Paul Malong Awan, SPLM candidate for the Governor of Northern Bahr El Ghazal State has taken his campaign online by officially launching his campaign website: paulmalongforgovernor.org. Paul Malong intended to take his message to a wider audience, particularly for state citizens who are living in distant places.

(ST)