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South Sudan Politician Peter Adwok Nyaba's Resignation Letter

June 1st, 2014

Comrade Salva Kiir Mayardit
Chairman of the National Liberation Council
Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM)

Thro’ Comrade Dr. Anne Itto
SPLM Secretary General (a. i.)

Subject: Resignation from the SPLM

“The moment the activity of an organization becomes divorced from all theory; from all rational synthesis of the period and the ways of thinking that mould it, the masses are quite right to abandon that organization. The cynicism of the leaders will be paralleled by the scepticism of the militants and sympathizers, who have become passive spectators of a series of about-turns, whose coherence escapes them and over which they therefore no longer have any influence.” Debray (1974) A critique of Arms.

Dear Chairman Salva Kiir Mayardit

While our people, the people of South Sudan, are passing through these difficult times in their long history of struggle for freedom, justice, equality and prosperity, it is not possible for me to remain unperturbed by, indifferent or insensitive to this unprecedented trepidation, immense suffering, fragmentation and internecine fighting occasioned by the events of December 15, 2013.

I am writing this letter to you as Chairman of the SPLM and as somebody, I have known since 1986. First, I want to discuss my concerns in respect of the current political situation surrounding the SPLM as the ruling party, and our republic of South Sudan. As a revolutionary, up to this point in time, I consider myself part of the SPLM and therefore equally responsible by commission or omission for some of the SPLM shortcomings, which have landed it into this awkward situation. In this connection, therefore, and without any reservation, chauvinism or shame I offer to self-criticize myself.

Mr Chairman, the vision of the ‘New Sudan’ and the political objectives of justice, equality, freedom and prosperity united us and indeed inspired many Sudanese, young or old, to join the ranks and file of the SPLM/SPLA since its inception in 1983. The dynamics of the political environment did not permit the SPLM/SPLA to realize its New Sudan vision and had to compromise for Southern Sudan in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. As a Liberation Movement, the SPLM need not abandon its vision and political objectives of building justice, equality, freedom and prosperity in Southern Sudan. This is because the ideals of social justice, equality, freedom, democracy and progress are equally applicable territorially to Southern Sudan as a subnational entity under the administration of the SPLM (2005 – 2011) as they were to the New Sudan. The only explanation must be that the SPLM had eschewed these concepts and jettisoned its vision of the ‘New Sudan’ in a paradigm shift to ‘Southern Sudan’ in obedient response to external forces. ‘New Sudan’ disappeared imperceptibly from the oral or written literature of the SPLM without any debate.

Mr Chairman, the SPLM emerged from the poorest and underdevelopment sections of our society namely the peasants and pastoral communities. Its objective was to liberate our people from centuries of deprivation and neglect accentuated by enslavement and political repression. The SPLM dominated the Government of Southern Sudan and those of its States since July 9, 2005. It had the necessary financial and economic resources coupled with resource injection from the international community during the interim period (2005 – 2011) to make a difference in the lives of our people. This was entirely under your leadership as the Chairman of the SPLM and President of the Government of South Sudan.

Neither the SPLM nor the Government of Southern Sudan had a socio-economic programme that could absorb the billions of US dollars that poured into Southern Sudan from the oil revenues. This explains how under your watch unscrupulous individuals laid their hand on, and stashed away in foreign lands, what you called in the letter to the ‘seventy five former and current ministers’, the missing four billions dollars. I did not work with the Government of Southern Sudan during the entire interim period. However, like many others who did not work for the Government of Southern Sudan, I nevertheless received the letter suggesting that when it became certain that the real thieves would not be apprehended – due to their proximity to your good self, you sent out the letter to smear the ‘clean ones’ in your government (2011-2013). Put in another way, the inclusion of other was to make it difficult to identify the real culprits.

Mr Chairman, membership of the SPLM was, and remains, an honour. It is revolutionary duty and right. I view it as a position of sacrifice not privilege; that explains why at every occasion we honour the memory of those who have paid the ultimate price in the course of the war of national liberation. I recall the relation of fraternity and comradeship we built, in the front line against the enemy, and that guided us to some extent in the liberated areas. These relations could not have emerged without the sense of equality, justice and freedom among ourselves as revolutionaries as well as between our people and us. The shunning of political organization and education in the SPLM, which projected militarism over other social and political processes in the course of national liberation, stunted the growth and strengthening of these relations albeit they remained superficial.

The CPA and the tragic death of Dr. John Garang exposed a sad reality in our relations in the SPLM. The comradely relations faded as the SPLM engaged in government. This shows that the nature of the revolutionary message the SPLM espoused since 1983 was completely at odds with the class origins of some of our leaders (messengers) in the Movement. It revealed that they had not fully converted to the liberation per se thus with the peace agreement and being in government, they indeed recovered their social reality and their natural relationship with their natural surroundings. The wheel had gone full circle, to where we began. The twenty-one years of chanting slogans of equality, freedom, justice and democracy was a façade to hide the atavistic reality of the political-military elite that emerged at the helm of the SPLM. The post CPA South Sudan beat a retreat into the eighteenth Century era. Thanks to totalitarian regime into which the SPLM has hardened and ossified.

The Republic of South Sudan was born against a background that reflected the sad truth that the SPLM had abandoned the ideology that propelled it to popularity both in the country and abroad. South Sudan’s current context of ubiquitous ethnicized conflicts, insecurity in the rural and urban domains driven by land grabbing with impunity, corruption, disappearances and assassination of political dissidents, stagnation and lack of development, and now the civil strife has made the spectators of our context wonder what could have happened to the SPLM.

It all started with the tragic death of Dr. John Garang de Mabior and your ascension to the helm in August 2005, when relations within the SPLM began to deteriorate and turn to the worst. Mr Chairman, you will recall that between August 2005 and October 2007, backbiting, double-crossing, double-talking and outright conspiracies against specific comrades in the leadership characterized the SPLM internal condition. This culminated in the attempts during the SPLM 2nd National Convention 2008 to remove Dr. Riek Machar Teny-Dhurgon and Pagan Amum Okiech from their positions as SPLM first deputy Chairman and SPLM Secretary General respectively. The reasons for that attempt to remove the two leaders from the SPLM hierarchy were not sufficiently explained. The SPLM management of the General and Presidential Elections 2010 showed that the internal schisms had not healed resulting in the rebellion in Jonglei State. The apparitions of these machinations hovered over the SPLM wheeling and dealing until tragic events of December 15, 2013.

In fact, the tragic events that commenced with the mutiny in Tiger Battalion on the night of Sunday December 15, 2013 and their escalation into what is already becoming a civil war must be attributed to the political failure of the SPLM leadership to address the internal organization issues of the party. It is inconceivable that you reduced to a struggle for power the disputes over democratic reforms in the SPLM. Political and ideological differences in a political party are inevitable. However, they are resolved not through military confrontation but through democratic dialogue and debates aimed at uniting the ranks and file. That the struggle for democratic reforms in the SPLM has resulted in the death of tens of thousands of our innocent citizens betrays an inner tendency to dictatorship the very antithesis of liberation, which united us in the SPLM.

This tendency to transform into docile uncritical mass the people of South Sudan can be gleaned from the authoritarian outbursts of the Minister of Information and Broadcasting preventing the media and civil society groups to document and report the crimes against humanity committed by security forces between December 16 and 20, 2013 in the residential suburbs of Juba. The SPLM leadership and the Government of South Sudan have not to date acknowledged the massacre of ethnic Nuers in Juba. The SPLM government has not told the people of South Sudan the truth about what transpired on December 15, 2013 apart from the coup attempt attributed to Dr. Riek Machar. The people of South Sudan want to know the linkage between the coup attempt, which occurred in Tiger Battalion, and the massacring of the ethnic Nuers in the residential suburbs of Juba.

It was common knowledge that you mobilized, recruited and trained a private army hailing from Warrap and Northern Bahr el Ghazal, which you, on Saturday February 15, 2014, let the cat out of the bag while addressing the SPLM Youth League by these words, “the intention was to have a ‘reserve force’ to help the nation in the event of military action was needed. When these people were in the training, they were denied everything. They were denied salaries, weapons and all things they were supposed to get because some people did not like the idea.” This was blatant violation of the constitution. You cannot possess a private army besides the SPLA of which you are Commander in Chief.

Mr. Chairman, I want to discuss my situation and the decision to resign from the SPLM. Like all political parties the world over, the SPLM would comprise politically active members of our society. The activity they voluntarily engage in corresponds to exercising rights and duties accruing consequence to their membership of the party. It is a result of proving one’s political capabilities that one acquires promotion to senior positions in the party and given other responsibilities in the government. The SPLM consequent to its history and modis operandis emerged a military organization that eclipsed political activity from its inception in 1983 until the signing of the CPA in 2005. The talk of its transformation into a mass based political party came to nothing and the period between the SPLM 2nd National Convention and its third was wasted.

The post CPA period witnessed mass demobilization and depoliticization of the SPLM under the guise of South-South dialogue. The SPLM jettisoned its ideological stance and forgot its political objectives. Its internal situation deteriorated that the elections 2010 precipitated a tendency among many comrades to contest as independent candidates. We remember with nostalgia the rebellions of George Athor and David Yaw Yaw in Jonglei and the rigging out by SPLM of some of its influential leaders. The internal situation deteriorated further at independence of South Sudan 2011, with the massive influx into the SPLM of former NCP operatives and boot leakers, who have used their skills of leader worship in the NCP to seek power and influence in the SPLM. They have now succeeded to elbow out the SPLM senior cadres some of who joined its ranks in May 1983. The result is that the SPLM has lost not only its bearings as a national liberation movement but it has also become an oppressive machinery against the people of South Sudan.

People who fought the SPLM on the side of the enemy until 2005 now manage the SPLM affairs and are its decision makers. Their interest remained the destruction of the SPLM especially after the tragic death of Dr. John Garang de Mabior. They belaboured to heighten the SPLM internal schisms until violence erupted on December 15, 2013. This violence resulted in demise of tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of our people. This war could have been avoided had you cared to listen to voices of peace loving people.

Together with other comrades, I was arrested and detained briefly in connection with these events. What looked a compassionate gesture to release me turned out to be a wicked stratagem to incarcerate me in oblivion and obscurity. I am denied my passport and therefore could not be by the side of my wife, when she underwent a five hours operation in Nairobi Hospital.

The SPLM and Government propaganda depicted me as enemy and therefore many of my compatriots have been scared away from me. This is even after the government failed to prove before the Court its case against us for the so-called ‘failed coup attempt’. The National Security Service refused to return my passports to travel for specialized medical attention. They told clearly that I have to remain in Juba to ‘feel the heat’, whatever it means. My reading of this situation is that I shall remain the scapegoat for the December 15, 2013 events in view of the fact the other eleven detained political leaders have now all left the country courtesy of the President of the Republic of Kenya. I also read ‘feel the heat’ as instructions from you as the National Security Service only receive orders from you.

Given these facts, and in view of the fact that the SPLM under your leadership is prosecuting a civil war, I do not want, by virtue of being a member of the SPLM, to be privy to the some of the horrendous crimes being committed against the people of South Sudan. I also do not want to be privy to the transformation of the SPLM into a totalitarian machine and an oppressive regime that is destroying South Sudan. I am therefore in all dignity and honour submitting my resignation from the SPLM as of June 1, 2014.

Dr. Peter Adwok Nyaba
June 1st 2014.