S.Sudan smaller parties form coalition to counter SPLM

Monday October 30 2023

People hold up banners calling for dialogue in Juba, South Sudan. PHOTO | AFP


Six South Sudanese opposition political organisations have announced a coalition to counter the dominance of President Salva Kiir’s ruling party, the SPLM, ahead of the 2024 elections. That is, if elections will happen at all.

The political groups have mimicked Kenya’s opposition alliance 10 years ago, also naming their movement the Coalition for Restoration of Democracy (Cord). Kenya’s Cord was led by opposition doyen Raila Odinga in the 2013 presidential election, which he lost to Uhuru Kenyatta.

The South Sudanese outfit believes it can surmount the hurdles set up by the incumbent.

“Our strength lies in the unity in diversity as well as our unwavering commitment to a shared vision of a democratic, diverse, liberated and prosperous South Sudan,” said civil rights activist Peter Biar Ajak.

Read: South Sudan leaders agree on deal for united army

Dr Ajak was forced into exile but later offered a public apology to Kiir. He is now leading a movement that seeks to unseat Kiir, but which excludes politicians in the diaspora.


The coalition comprises of the Revive South Sudan Party led by Dr Ajak; Common People’s Alliance led by Garang Kuot Kuot, SPLM-IO Kitgwang represented by Goi Jooyul Yol; Steps We64 led by Suzzane Jambo, United Citizens for Change led by Jongkor Mayol, and the Red Army of South Sudan led by Deng Mayik Atem.

Inadequate political will

They say the grouping arose out of concerns about the inadequate political will to implement the 2018 Revitalise Peace Agreement and to prepare the nation for credible democratic elections in 2024. But various observers expressed diverse opinions on the coalition.

Read: Salva Kiir puts South Sudan on edge

First, there are concerns that Cord will be operating in a hostile environment, given SPLM dominance.

John Andruga Duku, a former South Sudan Ambassador to China and a close ally of President Kiir, said that Cord is a project of the West for regime change, and it will die naturally.

Lam Jok, an ally of South Sudan first Vice President Riek Machar and once his representative in Kenya, said that Cord signals a growing democracy.
“It the reason why SPLM-IO believes that if the current situation persists, an election may not be possible due to lack of security arrangements; lack of a permanent constitution, inability to hold census and the repatriation of refugees in the neighbouring countries,” said Mr Jok referring to Machar’s faction.

Several stakeholders including Dr Machar and the United Nations have expressed doubt whether the country will be able to hold elections in December 2024, while President Kiir insists that the elections will be held.

Sudanese civil society activist Edmund Yakani, president of the Community Empowerment for Progress Organisation (Cepo), said that the credibility of forthcoming elections will be measure with the level of inclusivity embrace by the parties in the government including what level of open civic be political space exist for meaningful participation of all actors in being candidates and voters.