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South Sudan: Dispute escalates between president and SPLM chief - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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South Sudan President Salva Kiir waits for the arrival of his Kenyan counterpart Uhuru Kenyatta, who is on his first visit to the region as head of state, in Juba. (Reuters photo.)

South Sudan President Salva Kiir waits for the arrival of his Kenyan counterpart Uhuru Kenyatta during the latter’s visit to Juba on May 23, 2013. (Reuters photo)

London, Asharq Al-Awsat—South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir launched a fierce rhetorical attack on the head of his own party on Saturday, in another indication of serious rifts within the Juba government.

Kiir hit out at Secretary-General of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) Pagan Amum during a speech at a meeting of the party’s council in Juba.

Kiir said the commission he had set up earlier this year within the SPLM to investigate allegations of mismanagement against Amum had recommended that the Secretary-General be relieved of his position.

However, he said he would submit the commission’s findings to the council in order to make a final decision.

Kiir fired Amum and his Vice-President Riek Machar in July, along with the rest of his cabinet. Many at the time interpreted Kiir’s step as evidence of a growing power struggle within the newly-independent country’s ruling party.

Speaking exclusively to Asharq Al-Awsat, Amum said that police prevented him from attending the SPLM’s council meeting, for which he blamed President Kiir.

Amum said that the move was wrong because he is “member of the politburo and the SPLM council,” and denounced the ban as a violation of the country’s constitution.

“I expect the worst,” he added, and claimed that South Sudan was currently suffering from an absence of the rule of law.

Amum also accused President Kiir of deviating from the SPLM’s goals and claimed that he, along with a number of the SPLM’s senior figures, were working to correct Kiir’s mistakes.

“Kiir has shown a dictatorial tendency since the death of the SPLM’s leader and founder John Garang,” he said.

He said that Kiir had shown disregard of the SPLM’s principles and had moved away from maintaining a democratic approach, turning the SPLM into an “organization without a vision or orientation.”

Amum added that the organization’s main concern had been to implement the Comprehensive Peace Agreement with Khartoum.