Basic Machar: I’m still a member of SPLM!

Posted by: Berhane Habtemariam

Date: Tuesday, 06 December 2022

Machar: I’m still a member of SPLM!
SPLM/A-IO Chairman Dr. Riek Machar addresses the party members during the opening of registration in Juba. [Photo: Daniel Garang]

The First Vice President, Dr Riek Machar, has rejected a resolution by the SPLM National Liberation Council meeting that formalised the replacement of some leaders of the Political Bureau.

The SPLM, through its NLC, announced the official replacement of Machar as the party’s deputy chairperson in the Political Bureau, while Pagan Amum was also removed as the secretary-general.

But this decision did not augur well with Dr Machar and the SPLM-IO, which he chairs. Speaking to The City Review yesterday, Puok Both Baluang, the press secretary in the Office of the First Vice President, said Machar was elected through the SPLM convention and would only be replaced by the same convention when the Arusha agreement is implemented and all factions become one.

Baluang argued that the business that the ruling party engaged in last week was a restructuring of “SPLM-IG and not SPLM.”

“What has happened here in Juba days ago was not the NLC of the SPLM rather than the NLC of SPLM IG,” he said.

He maintained that the SPLM is still not yet restructured and any attempt to restructure the “historical party” has to be in line with the Arusha Agreement.

Baluang said that Machar is a signatory to the 2015 Arusha Agreement and cannot be replaced by “IG” as a faction of the SPLM Party.

“They do not have authority to replace someone elected during the convention that is according to the SPLM constitution unless the IG is using their own constitution,” he said  

According to Baluang, the SPLM-IO, FDS, and Real SPLM were not parties to the convention that took place in Juba on Friday, hence the meeting lacked the spirit of the Arusha Agreement.  

Care must be taken

Baluang warned that lack of cooperation in restructuring the ruling party risked soiling the gains made in the revitalised peace agreement.

“I would [like to] tell the SPLM IG to refrain from such activity that might have to jeopardise the process of the implementation of the peace agreement both Arusha and ARCISS instead they should focus on issues that can bring together the country,” he said  

Addressing the media yesterday after the postponement of NLC meeting on the final day, SPLM Secretary for Political Affairs and Mobilization Kuol Atem Bol revealed that the party’s NLC had officially replaced Dr Machar and Pagan from the party structures.

“The new appointment of first deputy chairman which was a position being held by Dr Riek Machar [is now held by Comrade James Wani Igga—the first deputy chairman of SPLM, plus other two Daniel Awet Akot and Kuol Manyang” he said.

He accused Machar of defying the party and falling short of the requirement of loyalty.

“Riek Machar has rebelled against the party; why should he continue to be deputy chair? and he has gone and established a party called SPLM IO,” he said, adding that “the entire structure of the political bureau is completed.”

He added that Amum was also relieved officially from the position of the secretary-general and replaced by Peter Lam Both.

Kuol said that the SPLM party is officially reunified as per the 2015 Arusha agreement.  

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