South Sudan

The SPLM-in-Opposition (2 May 2014)

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Describes events through 1 April 2014

Background

Opposition to the Government of the Republic of South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit has its immediate origins in the interim period between the 2005 signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and secession from Sudan in 2011. Kiir was elevate d to the presidency following the death of Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) leader John Garang in July 2005. Garang had established a decisive and ruthless style of leadership to overcome the near - irresistible centrifugal forces at work in Southern Sudan. By contrast, Kiir adopted a ‘big tent’ policy to establish a broader political and ethnic basis for leadership. This was most readily illustrated by the 2006 Juba Declaration, in which the forces of Paulino Matie p’s Nuer - dominated South Sud an Defence Forces (SSDF) were integrated into the SPLA, following years of internecine fighting. Kiir was hailed as a conciliator, the antidote to Garang’s divisive, dictatorial rule. Over time, however, many within the leadership grew critical of Kiir’s inability to articulate a direction for national development. Kiir, they believed, had ushered everyone into the big tent at the cost of cohesion and vision. This was most apparent in the SPLA, which likely more than doub led in size to absorb the SSDF, hist orically its bitter enemy. Military standards dropped, enrollment rose, and cash became the principal factor for maintaining military cohesion, rather than ideology or shared history.

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