SPLM-IO criticizes army for confiscating its t-shirts in Jonglei

The Sudan People Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO) in Jonglei has accused the national army of inferring with its political affairs in the state.

Last week, the South Sudan People’s Defense Forces reportedly confiscated SPLM-IO T-shirts and other promotional materials in Ayod County.

Hoth Dual, opposition party’s chairperson in the state, says the army should respect the September 2018 peace deal.

“It is time for the implementation of the agreement and preparations for the general elections,” Dual told Mingkaman FM on Monday. “With that, there is no need of blocking the other parties from exercising their political rights.”

South Sudan is expected to hold its first elections in December 2024.  However, key institutions and legal frameworks are yet to be put in place.

These include decisions on the type of election, voter registration issues, delineating constituencies, and management of electoral disputes.

But the ruling party, SPLM, insists that it must be held as planned, no matter what. And it has been holding campaign rallies in parts of the country.

In response, SSPDF Spokesperson Maj.-Gen Lul Ruai said the army leadership was not aware of the incident, but promised to look into the matter.

The South Sudan transitional constitution guarantees freedom of the press, but this right is not respected in practice, according to UN agencies.

The government reportedly censors, harasses, and arrests journalists, especially those who criticize it or report on corruption or sanctions.

In February, a representative of the South Sudan Bar Association called for freedom of expression for all South Sudanese as the country enters a new era of the roadmap.