By Gai Mayen Luk

During yesterday’s rally of president Salva Kiir in Yirol, Honorable David Deng Athorbei is alleged to have impliedly stated that the IO is not welcome in Yirol.

Let it be noted in passing that I hold so much respect for our veteran politician as well as an eminent community elder. I have never countenanced the idea of speaking against him in public.

But as a conspicuous IO member from Yirol, it behooves me to break my silence and make a humble response to the controversial public utterance of uncle David.

Yirol is a tolerant community whose sons and daughters have always been at liberty to excercise their political will without the risk of denunciation or ex-communication.

It is against this backdrop that some of the prominent sons of Yirol like Hon. Kulang Mabor, Dr. Machar Kachuol, Hon. Mager Aciek, Hon. Angol Koro, Hon. Makur Thou, Hon.Chagai Matet just to mention but a few, could be on the opposite side of the aisle during the war of independence, which the people of Yirol had enthusiastically thrown their collective weight behind, and yet our community did not and has not denounced them to this day.

On the contrary, they are as much our heroes today as those who were in the SPLA, and our people also sing their praises because the community understands–and indeed appreciates that– even though they were in Khartoum, they were there in furtherance of the interest of the people, albeit on a different frontier.

In that same regard, the SPLM-IO, under the leadership of Dr. Riek Machar Teny-Dhurgon, has now emerged as an alternative political entity towards which all the people of South Sudan, regardless of their tribes, are gravitating because of its popular appeal with the mantras of REFORMS and DEMOCRACY. This has no doubt struck a chord with the minds of many young and old people alike who identify with those ideals; that precisely explains the reason why I am a member of IO alongside many a people from Yirol.

Unlike the long standing blood feud we had with the Arabs which was underlined by a protracted war of decades, in our contemporary context, where all the 64 tribes of South Sudan have wholeheartedly pledged their allegiance to one flag as was expressed in the 2011 secesion referendum, there shouldn’t be more fuss about where anybody is politically placed, unless one is probably insinuating that there is a looming further division and fracturing of our nascent country.

Therefore, in the spirit of uniting all the diverse peoples of South Sudan, distinguished figures of stature like Hon. David Deng Athorbei whose words have a bearing on our society, should desist from uttering politically alienating as well as divisive statements; they should instead endeavor to foster unity at every single opportunity.

Since the SPLM mainstream has evidently fallen short of fulfilling the long cherished aspirations of our people–and Hon.Deng Athorbei himself knows this, it has naturally made it possible for another popular movement to sprout and take the mantel of leadership; this has always happened in the history of any other nation, and it explains why the IO has captured the imagination of young people who are yawning for change.

Instead of panicking about the simmering growth in popularity of the IO in Yirol, Uncle David Deng and all the SPLM zealots should prod their ruling party to up the ante on fulfilling the promises of the liberation struggle, which our people are not seeing.

To crown it up, I therefore want to seize this opportunity to urge the stoical people of Yirol–and indeed all the South Sudanese at large– who have for long been patient with the snail-pace of the SPLM government in delivering the much needed services, to rise up and join the movement of reforms; SPLM-IO under the leadership of Camarada Dr. Riek Machar Teny-Dhurgon.

Gai Mayen Luk is an
SPLM-IO Political Bureau Member.

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