November 5, 2020 (Thessherald)–Speaking during the opening ceremony of the National Dialogue Conference held on Nov 3rd, 2020, Hon. Angelo Beda, head of the National Dialogue Steering Committee, admitted that the ruling SPLM is one of the most corrupt political parties in Africa, if not in the world.
“Allow me to highlight a few points of what we found went wrong in our country, according to the people at the grassroots and our own analysis as the Steering Committee. I do this not to point fingers at individuals, but in the honesty and transparency required as one of five principles of the National Dialogue and to prove to the delegates who have gathered here that what they said is relayed as it was. We are not doing this to name and shame our leaders, we do this as a way to seek the truth and to restore normalcy in our people’s lives,” said Angelo Beda, Co-Chairman of the National Dialogue.
Beda confessed that the ruling SPLM has failed to live up to its promise and political manifestoes.
Below are the few remarks made by Hon. Angelo Beda, Co-Chairman of the National Dialogue Steering.
• Prominent among the issues we found went wrong, is that the people at the grassroots blamed the crises in the country on the failure of leadership, particularly under the ruling party, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM). When we reference SPLM, are talking about the SPLM before it broke into the numerous factions as we know today. The SPLM took helm of power in South Sudan following the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in January 2005. The failure of leadership and of the SPLM is manifested in a number of ways.”
• Corruption became the hallmark of the SPLM-led government and South Sudan, if it is not the most corrupt country in Africa, it is the second according to the corruption perception index.”
• The President in 2013 issued 75 letters to his ministers and members of his government, to return allegedly 4 billion dollars they have stolen. Only two members came out clearly saying they did not take any money and are willing to be investigated. The rampant corruption is thriving on the sense of entitlement among the liberators, that since they fought, all power, money, and even the law were their personal trophies.”
• First, the SPLM and its leadership, per the provisions of the CPA, was charged with a responsibility to build a new political system in Southern Sudan that was to contrast the then existing system in the Sudan—a system that was perceived to be undemocratic, unjust, oppressive and based on parochial distorted Arab and Islamic identity.
• The CPA provided for two systems of government in one country. The SPLM demonstrably failed to build a new political system in South
• Sudan, so by the end of the six years Interim Period, the reverse was true, there was one system, two separate countries. The SPLM simply took the poorer version of the Sudanese state and ran with it. Notably, the SPLM built an authoritarian system in the country, which is becoming more and more tyrannical, although without the substance and authority of a functioning state.
• One of the defining features of the authoritarian system instituted here in South Sudan is the centralization of power in Juba. During the Interim Period, states had functioned largely without the interference from the central government. After independence, the central government took over state power and governors were being dismissed and appointed at will. This obviously choked and paralyzed the states and this contributed to the collapse of the system in the regions, which exacerbated instability across the country.
• As we speak, citizens’ civil liberties are violated daily. Freedom of speech, of assembly, freedom of press, and even freedom to associate politically have largely been curtailed by the state. People were arrested arbitrarily and detained, forced disappearance as well as intimidation of journalists and political opposition leaders are common occurrences in South Sudan.
• These actions are a far cry from what the SPLM fought for and what it envisioned to build through its New Sudan vision where all are equal, where justice reign, and where prosperity is shared across. The government of South Sudan derailed from its democratic commitments long time ago, it is a system that is a complete opposite of what was envisioned that is now in place.
• The 2013 political conflict is explained in large part by the fact that the governing instruments of the SPLM were undemocratic and political competition was not tolerated and a strict political hierarchy established during the war was dogmatically followed. Hence, those who had political aspirations had no chance, they must wait for their turn in what was clearly a long line. This also meant that debates about the future of the country could not happen in the party, as such was considered indiscipline. This is why the party raptured and the resultant chaos is what the Steering Committee is assigned to remedy.
• Second, the SPLM government failed to contain widespread ethnic conflicts in the country and so insecurity became the hallmark of autonomous region of Southern Sudan and this situation extended to an independent South Sudan and as we speak, this situation is persistent. The rural areas of South Sudan are at war communally and inter-communally besides the political conflict. Hence, the government demonstrated inability to penetrate the society and exert control. Since the SPLM was in charge, hardly could we, and the people we consulted, find anyone else in the country to blame, but the SPLM.