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Sudan Tribune

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SPLM’s Pagan Amum says he is “a changed man”

July 14, 2015 (JUBA) – Secretary general of the South Sudan’s governing SPLM party, Pagan Amum, said he was a “changed man” on his arrival to work on Monday for the first time since he was reinstated to the powerful position last month by president Salva Kiir.

Former SPLM secretary-general Pagan Amum Okiech (Reuters)
Former SPLM secretary-general Pagan Amum Okiech (Reuters)
Received by cheerful crowd in the SPLM secretariat in the capital, Juba, Amum promised “not to point fingers of blame” of failures of the party to other SPLM leaders.

“I am beginning my duties in the office to change myself. From today you will not be hearing me pointing fingers at any of the comrades and blaming any of the comrades,” Amum said while speaking to hundreds of supporters who continuously yelled SPLM Oyee slogan.

“I will be pointing the fingers on myself, looking at my mistakes and I am calling every comrade to look at your own mistakes, correct your mistakes so that you can see my mistakes properly,” he said without mentioning any SPLM leader by name.

Amum was reinstated and sworn in as SPLM secretary general two weeks ago in accordance with the Tanzanian mediated Arusha SPLM reunification agreement. He was dismissed by president Kiir in February 2013 and jailed in December 2013 for allegedly participating in attempt to oust the president.

The charges were later dropped and he, along with other ten SPLM leaders, was handed to the custody of Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta.

Amum was dismissed for his criticism of president Kiir’s performances. On Tuesday, the party’s secretary general said the reunification of the divided party opened a new chapter for South Sudan.

“I want to say that the SPLM is going to deliver after this division, after resolving this national crisis. SPLM is going to build strong national unity, a sustainable and permanent peace in South Sudan, delivery on the promises that the SPLM has made during the struggle and during the elections of services to our people,” he said.

Former vice-president, Riek Machar, has however refused to return to Juba despite being reinstated as deputy chairman of the SPLM. Machar said he would only return after a comprehensive peace agreement is signed by his armed SPLM in opposition and the government of president Kiir.

Amum said he will “work hard” to end the war by mediating between president Kiir and Machar. He pledged to achieve a peace deal within two months though he did not elaborate on how that could happen.

The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) mediated talks are due to resume in Ethiopia next week.