Former SPLM Figure to Lead Splinter Group

By Ismail Adam

May 31, 2009 (Asharq Al-Awsat)

A leading member of the splinter group that has split from the Sudan's People's Liberation Movement [SPLM], who asked not to be identified, has revealed that the new movement, named "the Sudan's People's Movement -- Democratic Change," which has been formed by this group will be led by Dr Lam Akol, a prominent former leader of the SPLM. He told Asharq Al-Awsat that other prominent leaders from the SPLM will join the splinter group but he did not give names.

Silva Kiir, the SPLM chief, held a series of meetings with SPLM leaders in Juba, the southern Sudan capital. Sources said that during these meetings the leaders discussed "developments in the situation in the country and preparations for the meetings of the political forces in Juba." This splinter group leader revealed that their movement will be allied with the ruling Sudanese National Congress Party against the SPLM, led by Silva Kiir. He said that this alliance will be declared in a later stage in order to arrange for the elections scheduled for February. He expected their nascent movement to receive broad support from citizens in southern Sudan and that it will win a majority over the SPLM in the north.

This splinter group leader denied that their movement was born in coordination with the ruling Sudanese National Congress Party. He said: "We are a people's movement and we advocate the principles of the movement for which we have fought. We found out that the administrative failure and corruption in southern Sudan under the chairmanship of the current SPLM leadership requires the establishment of this movement to put things right in southern Sudan and implement the peace agreement in a sound manner."

A statement released by the People's Movement -- Democratic Change, said that Dr Lam Akol is "the only leader qualified to lead the nascent movement." The statement, which was signed by Jamal al-Sarraj in his capacity as the official spokesman for the nascent splinter movement, said that "the leaders of the Sudan's People -- Democratic Change are waiting for Akol's decision to come to southern Sudan. He is not just a president; he is a spiritual, historic leader and a veteran politician." The statement added: "We are in dire need for Akol's leadership."

It is to be recalled that the nascent movement delivered its papers to the Registrar of the Sudanese Political Parties a few weeks ago to be accredited as a political party.

Officials of the SPLM believe that the nascent movement is a creation of the National Congress Party and stressed that the SPLM would deal with it from this perspective.

As part of the ongoing political activities in the Sudanese arena in preparation for the general elections scheduled for February, the ruling National Congress Party's Consultative Council met in Khartoum yesterday to discuss political and organizational issues, most importantly the National Congress Party's preparations for the elections. Dr Nafi Ali Nafi, deputy leader of the National Congress Party for Political and Executive Affairs, addressed the meeting. He said that the National Congress Party seeks to entrench an unprecedented experiment in mature political practice in terms of liberties and integrity through the forthcoming elections. He called on political forces to overcome obstacles in the way of the elections and avoid creating any difficulties that may lead to postponing the elections.

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