The Independent (Kampala)

5 January 2014

Uganda: Text - Minutes of Historical SPLM Meeting in Rumbek 2004

(Page 17 of 17)

Cdr. Riek Machar. I was struggling whether to speak or not because of the nature of the issues being raised. When we met as a Leadership Council, there were divergent views. Before that I met Aleu Anyieny and he told me that if you are going to talk to Cdr. Salva, don't talk about the problems being personal. These problems are administrative. Serious rumours have also been circulating in London when I was there.

They talked about a 'change of the guards' and the removal and replacement of Cdr. Salva by Cdr. Nhial. I appealed to the participants in that meeting that we should unite since we are entering peace, because if there is a split, the enemy may dishonour the agreement we had already signed. In any case, suppose we sign the peace, the SPLA will be a national army whereas the SPLM will be competing with other political parties. The SPLA must retain an independent national character.

Concerning the structures, I have participated in a workshop on the formation of structures at all levels including the transformation of the SPLM into a political party. These are all being worked out. We are only behind in our military preparations. This doesn't need a committee to do that. The COGS, his deputies, directors, and local commanders can do that. The army is the most important element to protect the gains of the struggle and as such we need to organize it and take care of them and their families. We all have to participate in calling them to report to their units or camps where they should regroup and organize. Our chiefs are important institutions that can effectively participate in this endeavor.

Another problem we will face is the returnees, which are estimated to be up to 4 million residing in exile for almost fifteen years. They have acquired different attitudes, culture and perspectives. Not only are they in the north, but we have a good number of our people living in various western countries. We will be confronted by all these groups with a series of problems of cultural differences and we must be prepared to integrate these two groups into our civil life and norms.

I believe that unless something happens in Khartoum, the war is over. Unless the enemy causes us to split, the war is over. This requires us to expedite the reorganization of the army. I do not agree with Mathiang Rok about his suggestion that committees be formed to discuss the six (6) signed protocols. In addition, we should be privileged that the UN SG visited Africa to discuss the issue of peace in Sudan - The first time it happened was during the decolonization of Africa - making the achievement of peace highly likely this year.

As for South-South dialogue, we can start now. We should be prepared to negotiate with whatever party is ready to dialogue. If we wait until the government is formed, they will be the ones to undermine the GOSS. We must achieve consensus. Let us not delay south-south dialogue. The lack of dialogue can be a source of disunity, but if we handle it properly, it can also be a source of unity and this will allow the people to rally behind the leadership. There is a need to call the NLC as soon as possible to deliberate on the agreement. What I mean is the current NLC. The next convention, which needs to be convened as soon as possible, will elect a new NLC and who will be charged with the responsibility of working on a national constitutional government of south Sudan, etc.. From now, we have agreed that the judiciary be independent.

Session 5:

Cdr. Salva Kiir Mayardit. Greetings to the Chairman and Madame de Mabior and others in this meeting. We apologize for not allowing you to attend the first meeting, which lasted for two days. The second meeting is composed of SPLM Counties Secretaries, civil society, women groups, the youth, etc.. The decision was deliberate and we did not want the meeting to be talking shop.

I have no more to say. The issue which brought us here have been raised and you all have given your concerns. Let us take the line of peace to be the priority. In the absence of peace we must be prepared for war. There had been many Security Council resolutions of the same nature passed like this of Sudan, but have not been implemented, such as the PLO, Western Sahara, etc..

I thank those who have exerted efforts to travel from their various locations to Yei where they met me on the situation. As I told you, there were no personal problems, they are administrative given my profession, and I know that rumours are dangerous. Rumours must be treated as rumours, but there is no smoke without fire. I don't agree with Cdr. Wani that these rumours were created by the enemy.

There are people among us who are more dangerous than the enemy. I must warn the Chairman that Nimeiri was made to be unpopular by his security organs. Those who are misleading you and giving you false security information about others will suffer with you together or leave with you. The government, which is going to be led by you must include all. Without unity, the agreement will be a source of our disunity. We are not organized in all aspects, and as such will be exploited by other political parties that are more organized. The lack in our structures and political guidance will lead us to a very serious political defeat.

Mr. Chairman, you have talked about people eating the boat while we are in the middle of the river. Let me add this; the issue is not eating the boat in the middle of the river. The issue is that there are a few who have already crossed to the other side of the river and when the remaining ones asked them to bring the boat, they refused to return the boat. This is the problem.

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