Dr Riek Machar and the Rise and Fall of the SPLM-IO
By Mijok Dongwei Akier,
Juba, South Sudan
Thursday, January 13, Thursday (Threjubamirror.com) — Shortly after, South Sudan gained its independence from Sudan on July 9, 2011, the people of South Sudan were discontented and dissatisfied with the directions and how the Country is managed politically by SPLM, the ruling party. And there is urgency or needs for a new political dispensation in the Country.
However, the populace discontentment, coupled with the loss of trust and confidence from the SPLM leadership on how they are managing the Country resource and bad governances, was perceived by the disgruntled politicians within SPLM as a window of opportunity to take or snatch power from President Salva Kiir Mayardit.
On December 6, 2013, these politicians issued press statements and called for reformed and agitated for the new leadership within SPLM ruling party, suggesting the removal of president Slava Kiir Mayardit from the ruling party as flag bearer and as president of the Country. Among those politicians, were President Kiir, Vice President Dr Reik Machar, and the party Secretary-General Pagan Amum. And More party members and leaders were present at the time of the press conference.
This press conference shocked the country and the world. The concerning issue was not the nature of the conference itself, but how those politicians chose to violate the procedures and the party,s governing policy by not dealing with party issues within the party before taking to the people of South Sudan.
As a subsequent consequence of this press conference, the president of South Sudan, Salva Kiir Mayardit called the SPLM National party conference on 14-16 of December 2013 as a matter of emergency. However, the conference did not end well due to the lack of trust among the SPLM cadres and leaders and the Country descended into Civil unrest.
South Sudan ( SPLA) Army divided themselves based on the Ethnic lines and firefights ensuing among themselves. As a result of the war, many civilians were killed in Juba. 10 of those politicians who attend the press conference, were arrested and was later dubbed as former political detainees.
With twists and turns, the war took the ethnic line. Nuer Ethnic claimed that the government led by the Dinka Ethnic have killed their loved one and Dinka civil population is the ultimate target. Many cities in the greater Upper Nile inhabited by the Dinka Ethnic were attacked by rag tags militants ( armed civilians).
The SPLM In Opposition was formed in 2014, in Nasir Town, near the Ethiopian border with South Sudan. And led by Dr Reik Machar, the Vice President of South Sudan turned rebel leader. The SPLM In Opposition was joined by many with different hats; some were in for the revenge of their loved one killed by the Government of South Sudan. Some were in for new leadership opportunities. Some were in with reforms agenda and new political dispensation in South Sudan and the war continued.
As the war dragged on, Intergovernmental Authority for Development( IGAD) East Africa regional organization called for a ceasefire and peace between the government of South Sudan and rebels. In 2015, a peace agreement was assigned between South Sudan Government led by President Salva Kiir and Rebel led by Dr Reik Machar.
In 2016, the first Rebel Delegations arrived in South Sudan capital city, Juba with a presidential protection force. Before the rebel delegations arrived in Juba, there was a split in the SPLM IO base in Pagak headquarters between Dr Reik Machar and three strong generals. Out of three generals, two of them died in mysterious circumstances and one signed a sketch peace with the Government of South Sudan to save himself from mysterious dead situations.
As I mentioned above that, SPLM IO was joined by many with different hats and aspirations, on July 8, 2016, there was an SPLM IO orchestrated coup within and as result, it brought the Government forces and rebel forces to fierce fight that left many dead In the presidential palace in Juba. And the leader of Rebel Dr Reik Machar left Juba with Some of his force to Congo on foot for 45 days.
And General Taban Deng was appointed as Vice President to president Salva KIIR in the SPLM IO position since he was a member of SPLM IO and a leading figure in the Opposition. In 2018, Dr Reik Machar went to Khartoum from Congo and he renegotiated the peace agreement with president KIIR to be reinstated back to his Vice President position that was given to Generals, Taban Deng Gai.
However, Africa Union looked at Dr Reik Machar demand to be reinstated to his position as recipes for another war of position within the SPLM IO. Instead, they created the five Vice President positions to accommodate Dr Reik Machar as Vice President and the rest of the other opposition groups, since war turned out to be the war of positions and not reformed as was claimed at the inception of the war.
In 2020, Dr Reik Machar went to South Sudan capital Juba and was reinstated back as first Vice President to President Salva KIIR and the other four Vice Presidents was appointed. And the government representations were divided based on the parties line.
Nonetheless, the issues within the SPLM In Opposition did not stop there. When Dr Reik Machar arrived in Juba and was time to appoint his representative, he only decided to appoint his close confidantes and relatives into the SPLM In Opposition allocate seats. And left out the majority of his In Opposition base in dilemma. This issue created a big rift within the SPLM IO. Currently, there is a faction fighting within the SPLMIO of Dr Reik Machar and General Simon Gatwhich Dual, the chief of staff of SPLM In the opposition army wing.
This infighting within the SPLM In Opposition have created so many hostilities among the members and have divided themselves on sectionals line and could mean the end of the SPLM In opposition. Now, SPLM IO is crippled by the factions infighting and it is likely, the winner will take it all.