SPLM Reunification Has been Sneezed at Three Times

Posted: March 30, 2018 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan, Malith Alier

By Malith Alier, Perth, Australia

SPLM reunification4

SPLM Reunification: President Museveni meets President Kiir and G-10 leaders in Kampala

March 30, 2018 (SSB) — If anything, the so-called SPLM reunification is more distant than the peace talks prospects currently underway in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. More water has gone under the bridge and it is getting harder and harder for anyone to imagine that SPLM in its former self will be reincarnated. Some people still harbour the notion that the current upheaval began in the party and would be corrected by up the ante or going back to stage one.

In my Dinka understanding if you say something amid sneezes, obviously, I don’t say bless you, instead, I say you can’t be serious! The first thing people thought about immediately after the eruption of conflict was reunification of the SPLM as a party. One of the root causes to me was the question of the group formation that was halted at the second stage by actions of factions or individuals within the party.

According to Bruce Tuckman, when a group of people decide to come together, they usually go through a number of stages. Forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning according to him, are such stages of group formation.

Though, the SPLM was formed three decades back in Bilpam, Ethiopia in 1983, the referendum and subsequent independence of Southern Sudan presented a new phase of going through the group formation stages particularly for the SPLM entity.

The SPLM was being swarmed by new members who were in the Khartoum during the war and those returning from diaspora. This was a challenge to old guards who suffered in the bush for long. Khartoumer, Garang Boys, Kiir Boys, Riek Boys and diaspora interests within the SPLM needed accommodated and managed carefully.

The various factions loyal to various leaders within the party were dissatisfied with the status quo and wanted the question of leadership, constitution, structure, evaluation criteria addressed before heading to 2015 general elections.

Tuckman theorised that the forming stage of a group is characterised by anxiety and uncertainty and usually members are often cautious with their behaviour and are keen to avoid potential conflict or controversy by keeping to personal opinions.

Some of the outcomes at this stage include; gaining understanding of group’s purpose, determining how the group may be organised, who will be responsible for what, question of the major milestones of group’s goals and question of resources for the group.

The storming stage as the second order of formation comes with substantial questions from members who are now familiar with one another. The questions of group aims, individual roles and responsibilities must be answered.

Specific questions of leadership, authority, rules and regulations, responsibilities, structure of the group, evaluation criteria and reward system must be answered by the group to move to the next stage. Unfortunately, the SPLM was unable to move past this stage because of failure to address those questions above.

We heard that the factions were requesting the chairman to call for a convention to revise basic party documents like manifesto, constitution etc to no avail. When the meeting was finally convened in December 2013 it ended the way it ended – war. This is the root cause of that conflict.

This author believes that reunification of the SPLM will not happen at least any time soon. The primary reason for that is the top leadership. Unless the top brass passes the baton to the next generation. Even if the top brass passes the leadership, there is no guarantee that reunification will happen.

The Arusha declaration was signed shortly after the outbreak of conflict but what do we have? From Arusha to Addis Ababa, Kampala, Cairo, Cape Town searching for the elusive reunification.

Several leaders who spearheaded the reformation have since left power including Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania, Hailemarian Desalegn of Ethiopia, and Jacob Zuma of South Africa. New comers will always intervene like we have witnessed with Egypt’s Al Sisi.

You can reach the author via his email: alierjokdeng@gmail.com

The opinion expressed here is solely the view of the writer. The veracity of any claim made is the responsibility of the author, not PaanLuel Wël: South Sudanese Bloggers (SSB) website. If you want to submit an opinion article, commentary or news analysis, please email it to paanluel2011@gmail.com. PaanLuel Wël website (SSB) do reserve the right to edit or reject material before publication. Please include your full name, a short biography, email address, city and the country you are writing from.

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