Machar’s party calls for multi party democracy

Machar’s party calls for multi party democracy
SPLM/A-IO Interim Secretary General, Regina Joseph Kaba. [Mamer Abraham, The City Review]

SPLM-IO said that lack of political space is the major impediment to realising a multi-party system in South Sudan.

The SPLM/A-IO Interim Secretary General, Regina Kaba, said yesterday that the country has been accustomed to one political party, hence, making it difficult to embrace other mushrooming outfits. 

She stressed that the only way to transition the country to a multiparty system was through the creation of political space to allow other parties to perform their duties freely without obstruction. 

“This country is used to one party. They are not used to a multiparty system and seeing other parties practising it seem to them like they don’t also have their rights. But we are now moving towards a multiparty system,” she said. 

“So for us to do that, we need to open the political space, for all the parties and that is the reason that we have not been seen, it is because of all this limited political space.”

The SPLM/A-IO interim secretary-general made the statement after their members were arrested in Lakes State by security forces as they tried to slaughter a bull to welcome their interim Kaba in Rumbek, Lakes State, for the opening of the state party office. 

The party’s Secretary for Information and Communication, Karlo Andrew Akwo, urged the government of Lakes State to allow other parties to the agreement to have the liberty to exercise their political rights. 

“We experienced in Lakes State limited political space; therefore, we call upon the government of Lakes State to open the political space and grant the citizens freedom of expression,” Karlo stated.

SPLM innocent

The accusation comes months after the SPLM accused the SPLM/A-IO of playing the victim while at the same time frustrating the ruling party in its strongholds. 

In May 2022, SPLM carried out mass mobilisation across the country as they prepared for elections that are now extended to December 2025.

In March 2022, the Interim Secretary General of SPLM, Peter Lam Both, stated that they had registered over 4.5 million members.

“On the 11th anniversary of our independence, I want to report that SPLM today is stronger than it was yesterday. This is a result of the effort by many leaders of our party, both at the national and state levels. It is now more organized, more harmonious, and focused,” Lam said according to Eye Radio.

But despite the exhilarating remarks of their success, he claimed that SPLM/A-IO had also been obstructing their activities, adding that the SPLM allowed SPLM-IO to carry out their duties in the SPLM strongholds.

 “…With the exception of some counties where SPLM-IO commanders are not informed that we are at peace in Juba. They denied SPLM the right to organise in those areas, even as we allow IO elements to enjoy in the areas that we control.”

During the announcement of the roadmap for the extension of the transitional period at Freedom Hall, the issue elicited a debate when the First Vice President, Dr Riek Machar, asked President Salva Kiir to address the issue of political space. But the president rejected the request on the spot, that it would not be part of his speech.

On Thursday last week, the duo discussed the security bill to decide whether it was essential to give powers to national security to arrest people or not.

The two principals referred the security bill to the ministry of justice and constitutional affairs so they could carry out further consultations on it.

Barnaba Marial Benjamin, the minister for presidential affairs, told the press that the meeting between the two leaders was treated with utmost commitment to the implementation of the revitalised peace agreement by the two leaders.