The whole matter is a charade and a mockery of the justice system and it is no doubt politically motivated. Since the elections results were announced, the SPLM has been extremely unhappy that SPLM-DC won all the seats in Malakal town and the Shilluk area. Some of the Shilluk candidates from the SPLM who lost the elections had vowed that they will not allow SPLM-DC members who won to continue in the Parliaments in Southern Sudan. They tried through the National Elections Commission (NEC) and failed. Again they went to the National Supreme Court without success. Then in the last few days the Secretary General of the SPLM, himself a Shilluk, was bragging openly that they (the SPLM) will unseat the SPLM-DC members of Parliament from the SSLA. Today’s action of the SSLA is a confirmation of the threat.
The following are some of the question that spring to mind:
1. Are the members whose immunity has just been lifted implicated on an individual basis or as members of the SPLM-DC?
2. If the matter is related to the party they belong to, why single them out? The party has a known leadership that can answer for it?
3. If it were on an individual basis was it a coincidence that all of them, who were in Juba at that time, are implicated?
4. If this is a matter of GOSS concern, why is it that it is only the Shilluks in the SPLM pursuing the matter? Or is it another too familiar divide-and-conquer policy?
The first arrest related to the said case was made by the SPLA just after a few hours from the time the incident took place and the detained person was a member of the Upper Nile State Legislative Assembly who was in Malakal town at that time. His whereabouts are not known up to now. When did the Ministry of Internal Affairs step in? If they are the ones handling the case, the law requires them to show where the detained member of the State Parliament is being kept and allow members of his family to visit him.
In a related development, today at 9:00 am, Mr Ochol Nydhok, the SPLM-DC Chairman in Kodok was driven away from his home by armed men to an unknown destination. Similar harassments of SPLM-DC cadres are taking place elsewhere.
The bottom line is that the SPLM leadership is bent on banning the SPLM-DC from operation in Southern Sudan in the same way they did in November last year. But the way to do it is not to use brutal force and harassment of popularly elected members of parliament but rather to establish a case in a court of law. We challenge them to do just that.
We call upon the Sudanese people to condemn this unlawful behaviour of the SPLM leadership and appeal to the international opinion, especially those concerned with human rights and the promotion of democracy, to condemn in no uncertain terms such uncivilized and undemocratic behaviour.