Critique of SPLM Reunification Agreement in Arusha

By: James Okuk, PhD, JUBA, JAN/23/2015, SSN;

The Agreement on the Reunification of the SPLM that was signed in January 21, 2015 in Arusha, Tanzania, suggests three problematic trends despite the fact that it is in the name of peace and reconciliation but invitation of more pressure on the principals.

First, the East African leaders are desperate to see peace being restored to the Republic of South Sudan even if this involves farce, contradictions and renewed conflict when the implementation stage arrives down from utopia.

Secondly, the generic content of the agreement leaves a lot to be desired in the level of political thinking and maturity from the SPLM’s factional cadres who negotiated it; you don’t see any amusing sense of rigorous intellectual work in that agreement.

The negotiators might have been pre-occupied with the psyche of ‘what will each of them tell Dr. John Garang in the land of death if SPLM disintegrates’. They seem not to care for the Republic of South Sudan, its people, other political parties, resources and future.

Thirdly, the fate of that agreement is linked to the long-awaited the success of Addis Ababa IGAD-led peace talks. That is, if Addis Ababa peace talks collapse, the Arusha reunification agreement will be declared null and void with regret of wasted resources and time.

Many available indications are not in favor of successful conclusion of Addis Ababa peace talks, particularly the issues of two standing armed forces in one country, management of oil money and government top positions. Thus, there is nothing yet to celebrate about Arusha agreement because it is not a break-through deal.

Oppositely, it is Addis Ababa awaited break-through that would make Arusha a celebrity. The cart is still placed in front of the horse to block it from moving. Hence, pessimism should reign via realism before optimism gets in!

The Critique:—

Articles 23 and 39 of the agreement made it hard for my throat to swallow and my stomach to digest the text. Nothing should be allowed to remain vague in-between if the SPLM leaders who converged in Arusha are sincere in establishing the SPLM-Reunited. Why should a reunified body still want to operate as different separate groups?

A party is never united until it has a unified leadership. The current destructible war was a result of the disunited SPLM leadership. We already had the benefits of doubts, especially from the case of SPLM-United of 1991 which was abandoned by Dr. Riek Machar in order for him to form SSIM.

Why repeat experimenting something whose results are known in advance and you expect a different result. Einstein will call this scientific insanity.

The two articles damage the core soul of the Arusha’s SPLM-Reunited beyond repair of CCM Secretary-General even if he builds a permanent home in Juba to follow-up the implementation.

The three SPLM factions shall remain as groups in the Political Bureau and in the Government since they shall be represented there equitably and proportionally respectively.

But perhaps, this is what the SPLM’s Arusha agreement calls ‘genuine pluralism’ (article 5). This will mean that no unity is yet around the corner for the entire leadership of the SPLM-Reunited, apart from tactics of coming to power and staying thereto intact using Machiavellian utilitarianism!


As far as there is term limits for holding offices of the SPLM’s National and States Chairpersons (article 30), nothing was said about the offices of the Secretary-General and other Secretariats. No term limits for them. Why? Perhaps, Pagan Amum, Anne Itto, Suzanne Jambo and other secretaries are going to remain the SPLM-SG and Secretaries for life. Lucky are they!


The SPLM showed no interest in promoting multi-party liberal democracy in the whole document though militarism and sectarianism was deplored. The document talked of pluralism only (article 5). That could be the reason why Hon. Awet Akot, Hon. Lual Deng and few other SPLM-Diehards would like to see the SPLM-DC abandoning its opposition role and merging with the SPLM-Reunited. At the end, the result will be a one-party state with pluralism of its wider membership. Is this the Republic of South Sudan we fought for?


There shall not be government elections on 30th June 2015. Article 19 puts peace before elections by deferring SPLM convention and other arrangements that necessitate participation in government elections. The lawsuit against holding elections that was announced by NEC, is now gaining momentum of more evidence in favor of the National Alliance of political parties and civil society organizations that are outside the current government.


We shall no longer see Gen. Paul Malong Awan chairing SPLM affairs of Northern Bahr El Ghazal State. Article 12 tells him so, though it did not as well prohibit Ambassadors from being SPLM card holders.

As we speak now, many Ambassadors of South Sudan in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation beat their chests of being loyal SPLM members, and they are deployed abroad and to strategic offices based on this manifest loyalty. For example, at the moment there is no any single head of diplomatic mission of South Sudan abroad who is not a declared SPLM loyalist.

The SPLM’s Arusha document had ignored totally this diplomatic anomaly while it tackled the case of armed forces. Diplomats are the unarmed army generals of a country in the forefront of the defense of foreign policy. South Sudan should not tolerate partisanship and sectional politicization in its diplomacy.


For the SPLM to apologize (article 2) for the unforgivable mess it created in South Sudan and for it to account the criminal convicts in its membership (article 11), is a notable acknowledgement of the critique some of us laid on the first signed framework in Arusha last year. What about the commanders and the criminals of corruption? Are they going to be accounted and unwelcome to the SPLM?


Articles 8 and 13 want the SPLM not to be separated from the government. The government is called SPLM’s Government rather than the Government of the Republic of South Sudan.

Why should we have a party government unless we are confirming to be a one-party state? The government should belong to all while the political party to its members only. The Westphalian nation-state dictates so. The two should not be mixed and exchanged at will. It shall look like forcing bull’s horns on a hornless donkey.


All in all, the SPLM didn’t hint to any move of changing its name within the declared reform agenda so that the reunited party becomes re-brandedly relevant to the Republic of South Sudan. So where is the SPLM-Reunited transitioning to, if it is not willing to separate from the Sudan in order for it to adapt to South Sudan? “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” Charles Darwin.

Bye bye to Arusha even without bringing home its real spirit of 1967. All eyes should now be starred towards Addis Ababa, because that is where the salvation of South Sudan is going to come from, if at all, it is to remain a lucky country in the world.

Dr. James Okuk is a lecturer and public analyst in the area of politics. He lives in Juba and can be reached at


  1. mindra says:

    Hey Mr Okuk,
    well done and brave bro,indeed southsudan have intellectuals and hint six inches nails on the fore head (sita buzza)i only picks two points from Arusha intra party dialogue,
    A)SPLM should make public apology for the crime they have committed and crime against humanity,
    B)Those found guilty should be banned from holding public office and the issues of tribalism,sectarianism,
    will mr kirr change his tribal method of ruling in SS,ha-ha i doubted my brothers,this man has tasted how sweet power is and those who are corrupt in this current government are under the umbrella of Kirr and protections to avoid being arrested.
    Am 100% sure the agreement would not last.soon after Sunday this weekend ,you will hear somethings else,

    Thanks,Mindra from loa local pageri administrative areas,madi corridor

    • mindra,

      Everything the SPLM party leaders agreed on in Arusha is not working at all. As I speak with you now fighting is still going on three places in Unity State and it has been going on since Tuesday, January 20th. The government troops walked out from Bentiu in three directions for the purpose of capturing four oil field in the state from the rebels and for the control of all the other state counties. On Tuesday battle between the government and rebels last 7 hours from 8Am to 2Pm in Pariang County oil field. However, the rebels manage to defeat the government troops around 2PM and the government military was also defeat from taking TharJiath oilfield in Koch County and Unity oil field in Rubkona County. On Thursday, January 22 all the government armies that attacked rebels in different directions were all pushed back to Bentiu.

  2. AGUMUT says:

    SPLM is a shame in general and particularly Machar is a disgrace,he should sign peace agreement in the name of suffering people of Nuer and stay in exile.

  3. Batali says:

    Thank you Dr. Okuk for your in-depth analysis. In addition to your analysis, here are my observations:
    There are many loopholes in the agreement, which all point to the genesis of the December 15th, 2013 massacre incidents of mass killings and continued insecurity. What they are negotiating for are for power sharing or return to their positions as long as they maintain the status quo of corruption of wealth siphoning. All the signitories have dirty hands with regards to wealth management and failure to deliver services as pronounced in their manifesto.
    The issues of trabalism (tribal hegemnony of power for a period of a century through one party SPLA), land extortion, intimidation and forced marriages, etc, all are the pointers to reignite further turmoil.
    Have they mentioned the fact finding missions to human rights abuses? Or the hague?
    There is a long way to go.

  4. AGUMUT says:

    I think Nuer and Machar should understand themselves.

  5. Dan says:

    Okuk wants the splm to change the name , but his own DC party has not changed the name. How bizarre!!!!

  6. Eli says:

    Dr Okuk;
    I wish you well. You summed up if not all but your analysis are in depth, you also made it clear for us to see the troubled future lying ahead. Even the ordinary citizens can see that this is just an egotistical power hungry agreements of hooligans, these groups of jungle gangsters are being dragged kicking and screaming to the negotiation tables by the threats of sanctions and because of oil-money is running dry. They are not genuine at all, just wasting money and buying time.
    In particular I like your conclusion as I quoted here:

    “All in all, the SPLM didn’t hint to any move of changing its name within the declared reform agenda so that the reunited party becomes re-brandedly relevant to the Republic of South Sudan. So where is the SPLM-Reunited transitioning to, if it is not willing to separate from the Sudan in order for it to adapt to South Sudan?”

    Unless these guys still have Garang’s vision of liberating the whole of Sudan or else what is the point of still calling their party Sudanese People Liberation Army/Movement? Now, I do understand that you too are a member of SPLM/DC, my question to you sir. Is there a way that you could come up with a more relevant name that actually represent South Sudanese? Or, are we still not sure that we are an independent country? Are we still in doubt or just the long subjugation by the North destroyed our self-esteem? I hope you as an intellectual can elaborate more as to why we still need this name. Perhaps it is only for the pride that SPLA/M is the only success story in the our history?

    Well, I suggest just to keep this name in circles why not make it SSPLA/M which could translate to South Sudanese Peace Lovers Associations/Members? Trust me this will transform the image of our new nation and bring back hope and make South Sudan a new star back in world’s heart again. Just a thought.
    Eli Wani

    • info@southsudannation says:

      TO both Eli Wani and DR. James Okuk,
      Regarding the call to changing the name of the parties to South Sudan PLM (Kiir’s SPLM, Machar’s SPLM-IO and Lam’s SPLM-DC), I would wholeheartedly urge the immediate alteration by these parties as a start.
      Secondly, there must be real change of policies and objectives by these triplets cousins for a better future of the country.
      Finally, again the triplets must come out and publicly apologize for their egregious crimes pre- and post-CPA as they all have blood on their hands. THEN and only then, they must QUIT politics.
      Kiir, Machar and Lam all are sinfully very rich and can afford to live the rest of their lives out there without any further milking the poor cow known as South Sudan.
      Only then shall we see peace and development come to the nation.
      Stay blessed,

      • info@southsudannation,

        Remember that we all South Sudanese in general are foolish not only Kiir, Riek, and Lam that you termed sinful. Those who are silence are more sinful than those who bark. You and I are idiots too because we are unable to judge and hold the instigator accountable. In which country in the world the citizens judge their politicians all sinful equally regardless of who is at fault? In politics, always responsible citizens categorize their politicians fair, less evil, and more evil politicians and than make decision between who is less and who is more evil when voting politicians into the office.

        Where in the world when two people got in fight and wen to the judge, the judges would just say all of you are wrong? The judge would always point his or her figure at the party who is wrong to solve the problem. I never hear a judge in my life saying all of you are wrong only fake South Sudanese politicians say this. Politicians cannot just be yes people like Wanni Igga and Marial Benjamin in order to be term good politicians.

        I learn in this discussion board, some South Sudanese are naturally goofy and less competent to judge their cases and came up amicable answer regardless of their degrees and the level of their education. Yes people will never solve problem and those in sideline and hope to take the advantage of the reform will never ever solve the problem either and these sideline people are always more evil and sinful then the visible individuals when get chance to lead.

        • survivor says:

          Bentieu Ranmiran.
          Your have wholly missed the point mr editor Info@southsudannaition was trying to put across, when he stated “Finally, again the triplets must come out and publicly apologize for their egregious crimes pre- and post-CPA as they all have blood on their hands. THEN and only then, they must QUIT politics.”
          Notice, he stated pre and Post CPA, meaning these guys are being judged on the totality of their resume. Not just the December 15 incident. After all, these guys didn’t just join the politics and the crimes these guys have committed during the war ae enough to put someone away for life in any other world.
          Yes, you are rights about South Sudanese being idiots. I mean, in what society are mass murderers, and tribal warlords seen as heroes. if we were able minded people, we wouldn’t be in this mess the first place. If we weren’t bunch of idiots.

  7. JK Lupai says:


    Article 5 of the Agreement on the Reunification of the SPLM is also interesting given that SPLM leadership seems to be instinctively tribalistic and sectarian, using any resources to perpetuate tribal hegemony. No peace and stability will be realised in South Sudan unless the naked greed for power on tribal lines is swallowed like a bitter pill where development of South Sudan becomes the central focus for prosperity, peace, stability and unity.

    For now we seem to be a bunch of 64 or so cursed ethnic groups. It will not be a surprise when South Sudan is in deeper crisis by the end of the year. No one is interested in peace as it is only given lip service when people are more concerned about how to grab power. What is happening is like a matter of playing games while the country bleeds. What a shame!

    Jacob K. Lupai

  8. AGUMUT says:

    Our generation and future had gone and Dr.Riek Machar is not our future president. Dear Machar you gone for good.

  9. Mapuor says:

    President Kiir is the strongest leader in Africa.the end justifies the means!just contemplate the way he was betrayed by the very people he appointed as ministers and army generals.I dont see something positive in re-unification of the SPLM simply because the same power struggle will continue and will always result in war between Nuers and all other tribes in the country.It happened in 1991 and its now happening.Let Dr Riek for Gods’ sake form his own party and contest in June’s elections.

  10. nyaluk says:

    Agumut, Dr. Machar is a gift from God. He will save South Sudan He is not a tribalism man like Salva Kirr. South Sudan needs Kirr to step down and take the blame for what he has done to us instead of putting all his blame on Machar.

  11. oyhath says:

    Dear Mr Editor, you are unknowingly, or probably deliberately, mixing apples with oranges when you say, and I quote ” Kiir, Machar and Lam are all sinfully very rich and can afford to live the rest of their lives out there without any further milking the poor cow known as South Sudan”. Everybody knows the crisis South Sudan is in today is the creation of the SPLM ( the people known today as SPLM-in government, SPLM- IO and SPLM-G10), as the three groups acknowledged in their recent intra-SPLM Arusha Agreement. You are not working toward finding a settlement to this problem if your approach to it is so confused, unfair and unsound. Lam is not, and was not, part of this mess and destruction the country is in today. SPLM and SPLM-DC are clearly different parties, and Lam did not participate at any point in the South Sudan Government in the 2 years or so since independence nor during the CPA-mandated transitional period- note that the national unity government of which he was a minister of foreign affairs during the CPA-mandated period was a government of united Sudan at the time, not a government of South Sudan. So by which logic could you now lump him with the creators of the current crisis? The way you see things in this regard therefore is the kind of blindness that will take us nowhere in the way of finding a settlement to this crisis. You really need to be honest and fair if you are looking for a fair and honest solution to this catastrophe that is threatening the very existence of the young nation. If anything, I see this guy (Lam) working in the most honest way to bring settlement to the mess that others created.

    • info@southsudannation says:

      Mr. Oyhath,
      For a start, honesty as a most cherished human virtue, has never been a part of these three characters mentioned above that have all jointly or individually impacted the current political predicament in which our new nation is in.
      Mr. Oyhath, just to refresh your memory, do you still remember that when Lam came back to Juba last year, he surprised everyone by joining the Kiir government side on that government delegation to Addis peace talks. (Video footage attest to that).
      Then, upon returning to Juba, he switched sides and decided to head the all-political parties delegation to Addis, which Kiir then aborted and severely imposed a permanent travel ban on Lam. Of course, since then Lam hasn’t left the country.
      Secondly, Lam had or was allegedly associated with an armed tribal militia in Chollo land and a lot of Chollo blood and other South Sudanese blood was needlessly lost for Lam’s political ambitions to get to power….. the rest is history.

      My point of lumping the ‘Satanic Three’ together was to reiterate the point that our nascent nation needs a new leadership preferably of characters who don’t have any blood on their hands since the above-referred-to characters have theirs deeply stained. Thus, as proven in other countries of similar predicament, if either one of them comes to or remains in power in Juba, the other two will inevitably strive to subvert or work against the one, either separately or jointly.

      Just something to acknowledge: I am no Kiir supporter and secondly, our nation will do better if all three are permanently sidelined; the people surely would generously thank them for their sacrifices and roles in the liberation struggle and wish them a long and peaceful retirement.


  12. jok lual says:

    this time people of south sudan know that Riek machar is very danger for the live of this nation so is better to remove by all mean

  13. nyeri says:

    SPLM when united they loot, when divided they kill civilians.

  14. Dear Dr. Okuk,

    South Sundanese are yearning for peace and we really need peace. Although the agreement in Arusha look warm, the East African leaders and south Sudanese wanted this barbaric behavior that began on December 15, 2013 brought to a halt. Many lives have been lost and our leaders seems not to stomach the suffering of the citizens. It is good to criticize the agreement, but I think there were times when your intellect were sought to furnish the negotiation. You should have put forth your suggestions to them (SPLA), either in private or in public domain. I am sure they could have evaluated and amended some of those provisions and the loopholes in the agreement signed. As you know, many things in south Sudan are still based on trial and error, but let hope that this agreement is a work in progress. And if this agreement can bring peace, stop suffering, and re-unified SPLA party then let be it. Nobody is perfect and for sure there is no agreement that is perfect. For God sake this is only a party (SPLA) issue. If it was not to bring war in the country there could be no cause of alarm. That is the reason why our politicians in south Sudan should step up and establish other parties, so that we are not neutralize by one party system and dictatorship of one man in the country.

    • Choromke Jas says:

      Some organisations in Europe and elsewhere have been supporting the SPLM only to the exclusion of other small parties. I know for a fact that an organisation from a Scandinavian country has been dishing out millions of dollars to SPLM. Without money of the level the SPLM is receiving from such sources and the government, these other parties will never be effective.

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