At least eighty per cent of the membership of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO) are fed up with the leadership of First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar and are expressing desire for change in the main armed opposition group with some even suggesting that history is repeating itself in the leadership of Machar who once rebelled against SPLM/SPLA founder Dr. John Garang and against President Salva Kiir in 2013, a new public by Sudans post has indicated.

According to the online poll, members of the SPLM-IO were asked as to whether they still maintain their confident in the leadership of the SPLM-IO and that of Dr. Riek Machar Teny in particular despite the recent uproar on the formation of the revitalized unity government and the recent dispute between Machar and his chief of general staff.
One of the commentators said beside mostly being a tribal organization, one of the SPLM-IO problems is financial shortage and lack of resources that always motivate most commanders and politicians to leave behind the movement and defect to the other side of the ruling SPLM-IG led by President Salva Kiir Mayardit.

“The problem of SPLM IO is economic shortages and economic disparities, coupled with cultural inclination. The movement of the SPLM IO is predominantly tribal, initiated by Nuer tribe of South Sudan. The Nuer tribe is wholly pastoralists. The elements of robbery do exist amongst them, which infiltrated into the administration of the movement, concluding distribution of positions, which seems to be unfair, and didn’t meet the SPLM IO policies,” the commentator wrote.

“Secondly, some of the Nuer tribesmen are with the government and they are economically well off, which raises the question of the existence of the same SPLM with a barrier with a suffix or a cap SPLM-IO. The IO commanders felt deceived by Dr. Riek Machar, they found no evidence of enmity with the Dinka. This is the reason the IO commanders are going back to the government,” the commentator added.

As of recent, SPLA-IO military chief General Simon Gatwech Dual has come into dispute with Machar after unilaterally suspending the SPLA-IO Director of Military Intelligence on claims that the senior opposition commander was running a parallel administration within the SPLA-IO military without referencing to the chief of General Staff.
This sparked backlash from Machar writing to opposition forces in the country that no decision has such should be taken by the chief of staff rather than the Machar himself who is the Chairman and Commander in Chief of the SPLM/SPLA (IO).
Commenting on the SPLA-IO internal crisis, another participant said nothing is surprising in the leader of Dr. Riek Machar and asserted that history is repeating itself and as such none of the members of the main armed opposition group should be surprised about the developments inside the former insurgent.

“History is just repeating itself and it is not surprising because this is the very same thing that happened in 2013 where the current movement, SPLM-IO, broke out from SPLM-IG because of power struggle: ‘who should lead the party’. So it is not new to Dr. Riek and his colleagues. They will end up breaking down the SPLM-IO into tiny pieces,” the participant said.
Another opposition member blamed “internal issues that have been hampering the movement’s internal peace since the outbreak of the civil war and have weakened the movement much more than fighting with the actual enemy (today’s peace partner).”

“The leaders of IO need to respond to this moral dilemma that has deep implications with the platform of brotherhood spirit so that our enemies shouldn’t take the advantages of this escalating tension,” said another member.
A one-time senior opposition figure in Cairo said leadership style at the highest level of the group is the root cause of what is happening between the chief of staff and the chairman and commander in chief of the group and said none of the leaders is trusted by the SPLM-IO membership anymore.

“The contradictions of the autocratic and undemocratic leadership style within the highest level of the leadership of the People’s Movement (SPLM/A IO) is the only thing that has brought about the current dispute among the top leaders in the military and political wing,” the participant said.

“As members of SPLM/SPLA IO, we trust no one, in the Political wing since the Politicians shifted a mission and vision of the Movement into power struggle.”

One of the participants mocked the chief of staff and the chairman and said the SPLM-IO public is watching to see who will win in the end. He said that any failure to reach an amicable solution between Machar and General Gatwech will lead to split in the SPLA-IO military that will eventually polarize the SPLM-IO public.

“In short; the members of the SPLM/A-IO and the public at large are up to now waiting to see the fall apart or an amicable solution over the recent kicking between the two powerful men C-in-C, Dr. Riek Machar & General chief of staff, Gen. Gatwech Dual,” he said.

“Should they fail to communicate the common good of the movement and its sympathizers, soldiers will almost be divided into two due to the fact that, since Machar was confined last four years in South Africa, there seems a very big gap of him with the soldiers, while Gatwech have been there, however, I hope the two men will not reach to the endpoint (collapse of movement), am optimistic on that,” he added.


S: Sudans Post.