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SPLM chairperson says party is weak

The Chairperson of the SPLM has said the incumbent ruling party is weak because the members are divided.

Salva Kiir, who is also the President, said different political ideologies and individual ambitions have caused the ruling party to derail from its objective of delivering services to the people of South Sudan.

Since Sunday, senior members of the party had been meeting in Lobonok County, Jubek State, on the challenges facing the party and how to re-strategize on the way forward.

The 2013 conflict saw the SPLM disintegrate into four factions; the mainstream SPLM, the SPLM-IO under Taban Deng, the SPLM-IO under Dr Riek Machar, and the SPLM-FDs.

Several meetings were held in various countries, including Uganda and Egypt in an effort to re-unify the factions, under the Arusha agreement.

However, only the faction under the First Vice President, Taban Deng Gai rejoined the mother-party in May this year.

The retreat in Lobonok, the home area of the Vice President, Dr. James Wani Igga, started over the weekend to discuss ways of transforming the 35-year-old party.

According to a report from the state television, SSBC, discussions were geared towards performance evaluation, and strategies of transforming SPLM, capable of leading a prosperous nation.

Addressing the participants President Salva Kiir said: “SPLM is now very weak –not because we are bankrupt, it is weak because we are divided to the maximum.”

He called on the party members to wake up and defend the party legacies not to let down it founders.

“We must rise to defend our liberation credentials, and bring hope to our people who pinned their future on the historical legacy of this party. Remember you colleague who was with you yesterday, but died because of this land.”

This is the second meeting this year of the SPLM top leadership.

The Acting Secretary General of the SPLM, Jemma Nunu Kumba, said SPLM structures have for long been neglected and disregarded in decision-making process.

She said the state institutions have been undermined by the act of members choosing to access the President directly, without first addressing themselves to local structures.

“They are often left out of decision making processes, and are rendered redundant as toothless institutions, by party cadres nationwide.”

“Anyone seeking position should not have direct access to the top authority, but only those found to have track record of performance would be recommended for appointment,” she adviced

For his part, the Deputy SPLM Chairperson, Dr. James Wani Igga, said for SPLM to survive politically, it needed to acknowledge its past mistakes, and carried out institutional reforms.

“If we don’t transform the SPLM in this hall, we will never transform the SPLM again.’

“But before you transform it, we have to ask ourselves subjectively – where have we horribly gone wrong,” she emphasized

Observers often said the internal wrangles over leadership and lack of strong governance institutions have eroded the historical gains of the SPLM party.

The Lobonok retreat was held under the theme; “Towards transformed, cohesive, and modernized SPLM.”