JUBA, OCTOBER 5, 2023 ) – A new report by the UN Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan says that internal divisions within the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) are “complicating the nation-building project” in the country.
The report, released on Thursday, says that the SPLM has long been “beset by factionalism and fragmentation” along “ideological, regional and ethnic lines.”
These cleavages have “remained unresolved,” the report says, and have contributed to the “ferocity of the political violence and repressive methods of governance” in South Sudan.
The report also criticizes the SPLM for its “political intolerance” and its use of the National Security Service (NSS) to “silence dissent.”
It says that the SPLM has “appropriated methods cultivated by the repressive Bashir Regime in Khartoum, against which they had fought,” and that it has “instrumentalized NSS against both real and perceived opponents.”
The report concludes by saying that the SPLM’s “failures of leadership have left a State that provides little for its people,” and that these failures have “both catalyzed and entrenched human rights violations including the stifling of democratic space.”
South Sudan, which gained its independence in 2011, has been plagued by ethnic violence and political instability ever since.
In 2013, a power struggle between President Salva Kiir, head of the SPLM, and then former Vice-President Riek Machar, his then first deputy of the ruling party, led to a civil war that has killed nearly half a million people and displaced millions more.
In 2018, the two leaders signed a revitalized peace agreement, but its implementation has been slow and uneven.
With elections scheduled for December 2024, Kiir and Machar are now at odds over whether to hold the vote as planned.
Kiir wants to go ahead with the elections, even though key elements of the peace agreement have not been implemented.
Machar, on the other hand, wants to delay the elections until the peace agreement is fully implemented.