Dear President Salva Kiir Mayardit,
I hope this letter finds you well. First, I would like to express my appreciation for your efforts in seeking dialogue with the holdout groups to achieve peace in our beloved country. In light of resonating with your clarion call for dialogue, I write to you today to appeal to your good conscience and urge you to prioritise the reunification of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) under the Arusha Agreement.
The reunification of the SPLM is likely to mitigate the crashing situation South Sudan is about to encounter. I believe that our country’s current political situation can be likened to a crash- landing scenario with the potential for significant losses and a widening of the social fabric. I am convinced that disintegration due to a crash could be averted by reuniting the files and the ranks of the SPLM. Essentially, reunification could provide a country with a soft landing and pave the way for a brighter future for South Sudan.
During the liberation struggle and the subsequent independence of our nation, we witnessed how the unity of the SPLM facilitated our successes. Furthermore, our country was born against the backdrop of this unity, and it was much stronger during those times. However, since the split within the party, we have experienced a decline in our nation’s strength and prosperity. It is disheartening to see civil servants going for months without salaries, a situation that was unheard of before the split that led to political violence.
While it is true that there have been reports of corruption among the leaders of the liberation struggle, the level of corruption has escalated since the split. This has resulted in diplomatic missions, organised forces, and civil service employees suffering due to a lack of public funds to pay their salaries. Consequently, our country has regressed while other nations in the region continue to progress. It is also evident that none of the belligerent parties in the divide has won against the other. However, the result has meant the innocent South Sudanese, expectant of the SPLM promises of the liberation struggle, became the victims of the power struggle between the leaders of the SPLM currently at the different aisles of political divides. You may agree with me, Mr President, that such a victory, if there is any perception of it, in such a situation is not a victory that any well-meaning leader could be proud of because it is a total loss, in my view. And I hope you share this view with me.
Furthermore, we have failed to protect our international borders with Sudan in accordance with international boundaries as of 1956 agreed in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). We have also witnessed the occupation of our borders, previously uncontested, prior to occupation by the neighbouring countries occupying them. These issues have largely gone
unaddressed due to the internal politics and divisions within the SPLM. The SPLM war or splinter factions at both sides of the aisles have not even sought answers from the parties occupying our land but instead, appeased the leaders of foreign countries occupying our land to garner their support. Mr. President, I invite you to reflect on the above assertion and discern for yourself if there is no truth in it. Please, Mr. President, let your country win this conflict, not you!
Our reputation in the international arena has suffered greatly since the split. We have become the recipients of disrespectful comments, and our standing in the global community has hit an all-time low. It is evident that the politics of violence, an escalated level of corruption, and petty division within the SPLM have only caused harm to our nation.
History has shown us that the SPLM, even during its weakest points, had the ability to reunite under the leadership of Dr John Garang. Late Dr Garang demonstrated his level of maturity and selflessness when he put his ego aside for the progress of the liberation struggle. Mr. President, you are now in a similar position. You have the power to put an end to the immaturity and division that the leaders of the SPLM have collectively demonstrated to the world. Reuniting the SPLM would be a significant step towards re-establishing our nation’s unity and strength.
Reunification under the Arusha Agreement means reinstating Dr Riek Machar Teny as the deputy chairperson of the SPLM, along with Dr James Wani Igga and Pa’agan Amum Okiech as the Secretary-General of the SPLM and the senior members once exiled reinstated in their respective positions in the party’s political bureau. The SPLM may then organise a convention where the party members would decide who holds positions within the party. As the leader of our nation, Mr. President, you could bring your years of sacrifices for our country to a successful and glorious end.
If the SPLM leadership fails to seize the opportunity to reunite the ranks and files of the SPLM, assuming you decided to step aside, even the slightest disagreement over succession would result in a state of anarchy. You would not want that for your legacy! Please, Mr President, put SPLM back together.
Thank you Sincerely,
Wol Deng Atak,
Former Member of Parliament,