SPLM defends Peter Both against ‘reckless’ remarks
The South Sudan Liberation Movement (SPLM) has defended the embattled party’s secretary general, Peter Lam Both, over a statement he made about the First Vice President Riek Machar.
Lam Both was recorded saying that Machar has declared war against one ethnic group.
But Bol Makueng, the SPLM Secretary for External Relations, said the video clip circulating on social media platforms in which Lam was captured making the remarks was a “small part of the bigger speech” being circulated by propagandists.
“This has been taken out of context,” Makueng said in defence of Lam Both.
“This kind of hypocrisy is the one that is being utilized these days for political gains,” he said, adding that those spreading the fake news are doing so for political mileage.
“People who are saying these things are saying so because they need bigger positions. The clip in social media by Comrade Peter Lam was to stop the rebellion and it was a bigger speech where he was talking on different things,” added Makueng.
Makeng said the statement Peter Lam made was not intended to incite violence.
He argued Peter Lam used the idea that [the tribe-censored] followed Riek Machar in 2013 and 2016 as an example of a tribal rebellion.
“He is just speaking on the fact that violence in this country has always been caused by IO in the person of Riek Machar” Makweng told the media.
Oyet Nathaniel, SPLM/SPLA (IO) deputy chairman while condemning the utterances by Lam, called on the South Sudan peace guarantors to take action against those inciting violence in the country.
“I am deeply concerned and disappointed by the growing level of hate speeches and tribal incitement by some senior members of the SPLM party.
“It is our belief that such utterances are never slips of the tongue but calculated statements and official policies of a group. Such statements in the near past and now were used by political and military elements affiliated to SPLM to divide and incite violence against certain groups and communities in South Sudan” Oyet noted in his statement on Facebook.
Lam’s statement has received mixed reactions online with a section of netizens calling for him to retract his words and make a public apology.
In the video clip, Lam was captured saying that: “Riek Machar declared war against [tribe-censored]. Any [tribe-censored] who declares war against [tribe censored], that [tribe-censored] will all follow him. You need to know this. Even myself, if declare them the same, all [tribe-censored] will come out from UNMISS and follow me.
“Is this the way we want to build South Sudan?” Lam said on January 26, 2023.
He said Riek Machar is being followed by his tribemates and women because whenever he rebels against SPLM, SPLM does not change. He argued that such a move instills the ideology in the minds of his supporters that he is their only capable leader.
“Eight years Dr. Garang waited for him when Riek Machar returned; he was reinstated to his position, and yet we (Nuer) were having senior commanders but they were not put in the place of Riek.”
“In 2013, Riek rebelled while SPLM waited. When we told Riek to come back to the party, he refused. And he doesn’t want SPLM to go forward because he would say ‘I am still the deputy of Salva [Kiir]’.”