Pagan Amum, SPLM’s former Secretary General. [Gurtong file]
By Ariik Atekdit
JUBA, 5 June 2014 [Gurtong] - Amum in his open letter blamed President Salva Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar for leading the country to war and letting the SPLM-led government down in taking services closer to the people.
He distanced himself and the other "former political detainees" from both the Juba government and the Machar led rebellion but says they will work to bring back peace as a "Third Bloc" in Addis Ababa peace talks mediated by IGAD.
"It was a political alliance but never the case that Riek Machar was our leader. Riek wants to be the president. Mama Nyandeng wants to run for the presidency and I, Pagan Amum too aspire to the high office. Technically speaking, we are political rivals because we are seeking the same office," partly reads his open letter.
Pagan openly criticized his party chairman President Kiir for allegedly making the party lose its vision as he and other senior party members teamed up to force reforms in the party.
However, critics have blamed the failure of SPLM on Pagan, being the head administrator of the party with all powers to channel and monitor the vision ofthe ruling party.
"Dear Pagan, we should admit our mistakes. When you were the Secretary General of the ruling SPLM, president Kiir gave you all super powers to run the party affairs including financial powers ...forthe construction of the ten states ’SPLM Secretariats and you converted billions of dollars to your interests," Mathiang Jalap, a South Sudanese writer stated in his comment.
Geoffrey Allawia, referring to Pagan also wrote: "His recent letter catches the eyes and leaves many ordinary South Sudanese deeply disappointed given his calibre. Many of his critics who know him better said it can be only a nightmare for Pagan to assume the country's top job because he lacks competency and patience; above all he needs to clear his name from corruption scandals.
So far, the former 11 politicians accused of a coup attempt late last year have remained neutral in the current crisis. However, analysts say they are only scheming to snatch power; saying if Machar and Kiir are forced to step aside, Pagan would be the most senior SPLM leader among the 11 breakaway politicians.
However, Allawia continues: "This latest move taken by the former SPLM Secretary is nothing (other) than fulfillments of his aspiration to become the next President. Many South Sudanese have no doubt that Pagan will not be different from Kiir given his status in the country. Mr. Pagan is not popular within his Chollo (Shilluk) leave alone the entire South Sudan."
The Mid-December internal power struggle within the ruling SPLM party degenerated into internal armed conflict pitting armed loyalists of President Kiir and his former deputy Machar against each other.
The war has worsened the humanitarian challenges in the country as over one million people have been displaced and are in dire need of assistance.More than 10,000 reportedly perished in the conflict.