“South Sudan begins with the SPLM and ends with the SPLM.” That is a statement which Salva Kiir made in his latest public utterance where he was also slamming the FDs for allegedly causing great damage to the nation by ‘backbiting’ his government and blocking funding from the Europeans.
Not bothering myself with the tirade that he made against the FDs who are now his allies in more ways than one, I particularly take issue with that statement in quotes, which in my view, appears to have far-reaching implications in the volatile relationship between the SPLM government and other opposition parties as we take baby steps towards fostering democracy in a politico-ethnically diverse state.
On a lighter note, the statement could be understood as a reaffirmation by the president with his henchmen to work hard and solidify the popularity of the party among the grassroots people in such a way that it would continue to exist for eternity as the ruling party because it enjoys the wider endorsement from the South Sudanese people.
Another potential undertone to be gleaned from the statement is the blatant admission by the president that political intolerance which was the chief cause of infighting within the SPLM itself on the eve 15th December, 2013 and the eventual plunging of the country into an abysmal five year civil war, may still go on despite the taxing efforts that have already been made to close that nightmarish chapter and pave a new way for democracy.
It would better serve us and the future of our country to put this arrogant individual and group sense of entitlement behind ourselves if we are to forge a viable nation-state where harmony in diversity shall thrive.
That a mere political party, no matter how grandiose or beaming with popularity, can not outlive a nation is an obvious fact which can easily be corroborated by the glaring testimony of popular pre-independence liberation movements in Africa–and indeed all over the world–which have now been consigned to the annals of history because their peoples have opened a new chapter.
I would therefore conclude by saying that South Sudan is far much greater than–and will not by any means end with–the SPLM and Salva Kiir, or any other individual and their political party for that matter.
Gai Mayen Luk,
Chairperson of the National Students League,
SPLM-IO Member of Political Bureau and the National Liberation Council.