Search

 

Cablegate: Splm National Convention: The Roller Coaster Continues

VZCZCXRO7747
OO RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #0773/01 1401521
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 191521Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0873
RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 000773

DEPT FOR AF A/S FRAZER, SE WILLIAMSON, AF/SPG
NSC FOR HUDSON AND PITTMAN
DEPT PLS PASS USAID FOR AFR/SUDAN
ADDIS ABABA ALSO FOR USAU

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL PINS KDEM SU
SUBJECT: SPLM NATIONAL CONVENTION: THE ROLLER COASTER CONTINUES

1. (SBU) The SPLM National Convention recessed abruptly on May 17 to
allow for a six-hour extraordinary session of the Interim National
Council. The future of Dr. Riek Machar - and the embattled GOSS
Vice President's legacy of untrustworthiness and brutality within
the South - brought decisions on the SPLM's executive structure to a
near stand-still. The leadership body was reconstituted one day
after its formal dissolution in order to pacify the rank and file
delegates gripped by rumors that Machar's ouster from the party
leadership would push him to foment violence among his fellow-ethnic
Nuer that would divide and destabilize the region. Intra-party
elections, scheduled to start May 18, have been delayed.

2. (SBU) While a significant number of SPLM party officials,
including GOSS Regional Cooperation Minister Benjamin, GOSS
Representative to the U.S. Ezekiel Gatkuouth, and Presidential
Affairs Minister Luka Biong Deng, have gone out of their way to
downplay its relevance to USG officials, the schism over the "vice
chairman question" continues to grow. The May 12 INC saw Kiir
supporters win outright the debate on the party's draft
constitution, which held there would be only one vice chairman.
Less than one hour after it convened, Mansour Khalid told poloffs
that the leadership body was equally divided, despite a continued
push by party chairman Salva Kiir Mayardit that "the time for change
is now."

3. (SBU) GNU Humanitarian Affairs Minister Haroun Run Lual told
poloffs May 17 that Machar was called upon to publicly defend his
relationship with ex-SSDF commander Paulino Matiep and respond to
rumors about clandestine meetings with Nuer officials. Machar
dismissed both as nonsense. Kiir informed the assembled leadership
that Matiep had told him that he was in Unity State to consult with
traditional healers before traveling to America for additional
medical treatment. Matiep told a similar story to CG Juba the week
of May 12.

4. (SBU) Crafting a compromise that meshed democratic practices with
the status quo, the May 17 INC revised its earlier decision on the
party's draft constitution, opting to keep the SPLM's current vice
chairman structure. All three of the Vice Chairmen shall be
elected, but ranked according to respective vote totals. Despite
pressure from his state delegates, current Vice Chairman and Blue
Nile State Governor told CG Juba May 18 that he has "zero interest"
in remaining in his position. Observers argue that Kiir will have
to work to establish whom should fill the slot in order to prevent
Machar from filling it with his own candidate, as he did during the
Unity State SPLM Congress. Operating assumptions in Juba are that
Kiir's preferred candidate -- Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly
Speaker James Wani Igga -- will win the top slot, with Machar as a
close -- and perhaps "stabilizing" -- second.

5. (SBU) Rather than end intra-party speculation about forthcoming
leadership changes, Juba is now transfixed by additional intrigue.
The INC used the "any other business" agenda point to reverse itself
on the membership ceiling for the National Liberation Council (NLC),
upping the total from 250 to 270. While the NLC is not expected to
meet more than once a year (if at all) the democratically-elected
body is charged with electing the Secretary General. With one-third
of the elected seats "set-asides" for SPLM Northern Sector
representatives, and credible reports by many (including fellow
Deputy Secretary Anne Itto) alleging that Deputy Secretary Yasir
Arman manipulated final delegate selection in the sector, diplomatic
corps observers believe the SPLM has bought breathing space for a
dark-horse candidate. Despite his emphatic denials that he would
accept the position, the popular push at the moment is for the
retention of SG Pagan Amum.

6. (SBU) According to multiple sources, SG Amum sustained five
solid minutes of applause following his status report on the party
during the convention's May 16 session. SPLM Youth-wing leader told
CG Juba May 17 that he intended push the youth vote to Amum, and was
meeting with Shilluk elders and party heavy-weights such as James
Kok and Yasir Arman on the issue. While Haroun told poloffs that
Arman and Amum have feuded in the past, Arman recognizes the value
of Amum's presence in an NCP/SPLM elections struggle as considerable
more valuable than that of Taban Deng Gai. Gai appears to have
reached the same conclusion, reportedly consulting with Amum before
accepting Kiir's May 11 anointment to be future SG.

7. (SBU) Comment: The verdict still isn't in on Pagan Amum's futre
in he party following the convention. Though he is viewed by many
as overly emotional and outspoken, most SPLM members acknowledge his
strengths as a party strategist and don't want to see him leave his
post as Cabinet Affairs Minister in the GNU (as he has threatened to
do if removed as Secretary General). Northern members of the SPLM
especially support Amum's adherence to Garang's vision of unity.
One of the ironies of the first few days of the convention was that

KHARTOUM 00000773 002 OF 002


while the formal convention convened with a message of national
unity to delegates from the entirety of Sudan, southerners are
negotiating for the top spots in the party in order to retain tribal
unity in the South with an eye on the referendum in 2011.

FERNANDEZ

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>

Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>

ALSO:

Another US Court: Fourth Circuit Rules Muslim Ban Discriminatory

ACLU: Step by step, point by point, the court laid out what has been clear from the start: The president promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and his executive orders are an attempt to do just that. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 
 
  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC