Juba, February 25, 2019 (SSNA) — South Sudan’s main opposition party, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-In Opposition (SPLM-IO), says the recent announcement by the government and other parties to merge the ruling SPLM party is not something the armed opposition wants to endorse.
SPLM-IO constitutional amendment committee member Nathaniel Oyet Pierino explains that the armed opposition decides against the unification of the SPLM and that the SPLM-IO is determined to operate independently.
“SPLM/A-IO is already a full-fledged political organization. It’s a political party in itself. Maybe you are talking about a name (SPLM) only, but we have structures from the top to the bottom… the political and military structure which makes us a movement. We are already a party. So, we don’t see any urgency or any requirement that is necessitating to unify the SPLM,” Nathaniel told the China-based Xinhua newspaper.
The SPLM-IO says the 2015 Arusha agreement meant to reunify the party is no longer important, suggesting that the implementation of the September 2018 peace agreement is more important than the party unification.
“We feel the spirit of Arusha has been overtaken by all these events and now we have a new agreement. It’s not a priority now that we should unite as SPLM. We look at it as [a] political maneuver to circumvent the implementation of the peace agreement,” he explains.
Last week, South Sudan’s government announced that the former detainees (FDs) and a faction led by the current First Vice President Taban Deng Gai have decided to rejoin the SPLM.
Many South Sudanese Analysts questioned the timing and believe unification of the SPLM amounts to a justification of the party’s dictatorial tendencies.