AUTHOR: Daniel Garang Deng | PUBLISHED: March 21, 2023
Oyet Nathaniel, SPLM-IO deputy chairperson and first deputy speaker of the Transitional National Legislature addressing party members in Juba on July 2, 2022 | Credit | Daniel Garang Deng/TRC
The SPLM-IO deputy chairperson has condemned an alleged hate speech a senior SPLM official uttered at an event two months ago.
In a video footage circulating on the social media, Peter Lam Both, secretary general, says: “Riek Machar declares war against Dinka,” adding that “Any Nuer who declares war against Dinka, all Nuer will rally after him.”
Reacting to the speech, the main opposition party and signatory to the 2018 peace agreement, Oyet Daniel described it as “genocidal”.
“I am deeply concerned and disappointed by the growing level of hate speech and tribal incitement by some senior members of SPLM Party, with latest being the genocidal utterances by the secretary general,” Nathaniel stated.
The opposition party said such statements are tearing down the unity of South Sudan and frustrating efforts to reconcile citizens after years of conflict.
Two years after independence, a political crisis in the newly-formed country erupted into a large-scale civil conflict that has taken on an ethnic tone, as Dinka militias and supporters of President Salva Kiir battled Nuer forces loyal to the then former Vice President Riek Machar.
A peace deal signed in 2015 for a unity government collapsed in 2016 and spread further conflict.
That deal was revitalized by warring parties in 2018 and was set to end in February 2023. It has been extended for 24 months, started from February 21.
“I am equally calling upon the parties to the agreement, other stakeholders, and guarantors to take note of such violations of the peace agreement, particularly the Permanent Ceasefire and Cessation of Hostilities and hold Peter Lam Both to account,” Oyet added.
However, it is unclear whether Lam – a Nuer – was speaking in an official capacity or as a community member.