SPLM told to reprimand SG Peter Both over ‘hateful’ remarks
Pressure is mounting on the South Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) to take stern action against the party’s secretary general over alleged inflammatory comments.
The South Sudan United Front Progressive (SSUFP) wants SPLM to reprimand Peter Lam Both over his comment that First Vice President Riek Machar had “declared war” against a certain community.
“Riek Machar declared war against [censored],” Both was captured in a video clip as saying.
“When he (Riek Machar) went to the bush the first time during Dr John Garang, he stayed eight years, and we did not replace him. In 2013, the second time, he went to the bush, and SPLM was waiting. When we said “come back to the party”, he refused. He doesn’t want to come back to the party, but he’s still the vice president. SPLM said the only person we know is Riek Machar.
“There are some [censored] who went with him. If any [censored] causes war against [censored], all [censored] will follow him. Even me (Lam) if I declare the war today, all [censored] will abandon the uniform,” Both added.
But in a tweet, Lam said his statement was taken out of context.
Meanwhile, SPLM-IO is calling on peace guarantors and monitoring bodies to hold to account politicians inciting violence in the country, adding that they were “deeply concerned and disappointed by the growing level of hate and tribal incitement.”
“It is our belief that such utterances are never slips of the tongue,” said Nathaniel Oyiet, SPLM-IO deputy chairman.
Intercommunal and sectarian violence in South Sudan has claimed thousands of lives and millions more displaced.
“We note with grave concern and hold perpetrators of such statements responsible for violence against communities, tearing down the unity of South Sudan, and frustrating efforts to reconcile our citizens.
“I am equally calling upon the parties to the agreement, other stakeholders, and guarantors to take note of such violations of the peace agreement, particularly the permanent ceasefire and cessation of hostilities, and hold Peter Lam Both to account.”
South Sudan United Front Progressive said Both utterances can sow seeds of hatred.
“His comments were not only offensive and disrespectful, but they also had the potential to incite hate, sow discord, and spread disharmony within our country, which is already besieged by unrelenting conflict,” added SSUFP chairman, Sunday de John.
Sunday urged leaders to use the political stage to preach unity and reconciliation among citizens while calling on SPLM to take stern action against Both.
“Hate speech and divisive rhetoric only exacerbate our societies’ divisions and undermine our joint efforts to create a peaceful and flourishing future for all South Sudanese.”
“I urge the SPLM leadership to take swift and decisive action to handle this problem and ensure that such hateful and divisive conduct is not tolerated within their party or in our communities.”
SPLM has called for a press conference to respond to the allegations.