March 13, 2011 (Khartoum) — The Secretary General of the SPLM appeared yesterday on the mass media heaping allegations against our party, including that the attack on Malakal town on Friday night/Saturday morning was carried out by militia belonging to the SPLM-DC. This is not the first time that leading elements in the SPLM especially the SG, allege that our party owns militia around Malakal town. We have affirmed time and again that we are purely a political party that does not have any armed formations of any sort.
However, the Secretary General of the SPLM, for a personal sinister purpose which is no longer hidden, continued to repeat this lie believing in the Machiavellian adage that “a repeated lie may be believed”. To bring all these to an end, the party last year deposited a law suit against the SPLM SG on this serious allegation which is tantamount to sedition. We know that the national Ministry of Justice had sent a letter to the President of the Government of Southern Sudan requesting the lifting of immunity of this person so that he is investigated on this serious allegation. Up to the moment of writing, the authorities in the Government of Southern Sudan did not act on that. Therefore, if the Secretary General was serious in his allegations, what we simply ask him to do is to expedite the lifting of the immunity to prove his claims. Otherwise, nobody will take him seriously and his allegations shall remain nothing but cheap material for political consumption of the unwary.
The Secretary General and his ilk are intent on proscribing the SPLM-DC on the flimsy allegation that it owns armed formations. This scheme was put in action as soon as our party was formed on 6/6/2009. Indeed, an order was issued under the directives of the President of GOSS on 9/11/2009 to all Governors of the ten Southern States not to allow SPLM-DC practise political work. The order did not specify the reasons for that drastic action. Our party deposited on 25/11/2009 a law suit before the Constitutional Court challenging the order. We expected the SPLM/GOSS to prove before the Court their oft-repeated allegations that SPLM-DC has armed formations. Nothing of the sort took place and the Constitutional Court ruled on 17/1/2010 that the order was null and void.
However, the decision of the Constitutional Court did not please the SPLM which tried hard to ignore it. But, the circumstances of the General Elections forced them to recognize the court’s decision although they continued placing hurdles against the party. Our members were arrested and tortured and our offices forcefully closed down and we were prevented from campaigning in the states of Bahr el Ghazal. We all still remember the SPLM’s attempt to unseat the elected members of the SPLM-DC in the SSLA.
Now that the new state of South Sudan is just a few months away, we have concrete information that the SPLM, has already prepared a new bill for the registration of political parties that will make it impossible for any party other than the SPLM to register. For instance, see the statement made by Bashir Bandi, Leader of the SSLA, issued in the al-Sahafa Arabic daily of Tuesday 8/3/2011 that: “the South is going to enact a law to organize the work of political parties. The new law will ask all the political parties operating in the South to register. All of them do not satisfy the conditions of registration and some of them are briefcase parties”.
Similar statements have been made by members of the Political Bureau of the SPLM. Of course, the first target of the SPLM for deregistration is SPLM-DC. They think it is much easier to do so if they persist on linking the party to armed groups. The SPLM is intent on establishing a one-party system in the nascent Republic of South Sudan. For sure, they are swimming against the current of this century.
The Armed Group around Malakal.
Lest the truth is lost in the midst of generalities, we need to say something about the force which the Secretary General time and again claims to belong to our party. These are the facts:
1. This group was formed by Chollo youth in 2007 or thereabouts to protect Chollo land from encroachment of others and also to defend the population from the atrocities committed against them by the SPLA.
2. Towards the end of last year, this armed group concluded an agreement with the SPLA for the cessation of hostilities between them. On the strength of this agreement, the armed group was designated (Dur) village as their area of deployment pending reaching a final agreement.
The question that poses itself is: If this armed group belongs to our party, why weren’t the negotiations for the agreement done with our party? Also, at the time of the agreement, the group would have mentioned that it belonged to the SPLM-DC. Nothing of the sort did happen as the armed group is known to be independent from any political party.
3. On Saturday the 5th instant, according to confirmed information, a lady was raped by an SPLA soldier in the area of deployment of the armed group. This group apprehended the soldier and started investigating him when he escaped towards the SPLA camp.
4. On Sunday 6/3/2011, the SPLA launched an attack on the group which led to fighting between the two sides. Many innocent lives of citizens were lost as detailed in our press statement dated 9/3/2011.
5. On Monday, the group attacked the SPLA camp in Owechi and it is reported that the same group attacked Malakal on Friday night/Saturday morning.
From the foregoing, the SPLM-DC would like to reiterate the following:-
1. We are purely a political party relying only on political work. Thus, we have no military formations of any kind.
2. We condemn in no uncertain terms the attacks and the counterattacks that took place in the recent fighting in Dhothim area (Owechi, Dur, etc.) and Malakal town. We equally, condemn the killing of unarmed and innocent citizens.
3. The SPLM must desist from the tendency of blaming its failures on others and to avoid peddling baseless allegations. This will not help it.
4. South Sudan now is in dire need to close its ranks and work as one block in order to develop and push forward, especially that the six years of the interim period were wasted. Therefore, all must abide by the resolutions of the All South Sudan Political Parties Conference held in Juba in October 2010.
5. The Government of Southern Sudan must carry out serious negotiations with the rebels that took up arms against it so that peace and stability prevails all over the new state.
6. The SPLM cannot, whatever might it claims to have, impose itself on the Southerners who love freedom and democracy. The South cannot be ground for testing old and archaic experiences that have been proved to be a failure.