South Sudan’s former rebels plan to keep the ‘In Opposition’ part of their name even if, when and after they become the SPLM-IO-In Government in the upcoming democratic elections – high ranking members of the former rebellion told jubilant supporters receiving returning IO-leaders in Juba. It is understood that their democratic and bloodless government-takeover may crush Kiir’s hold on the SPLM and South Sudan.

“Our movement is not reversible… everything about us starting from our struggle that continued and advanced as SPLM-IO, will not stop when this corrupt system disappears into history, neither will we… Even when we take-over the rule and leadership of this great nation, we shall still be the same SPLM-In Opposition (but also in government), there are still many things, I am sure, that we do not know about yet, but we will surely be opposed to…so, we shall remain the governing and ruling ‘In Opposition’ party,”

SPLM-IO will not be the first to hang on to a name that does not make any sense what-so-ever.

After its independence from Sudan in 2011, South Sudan’s ruling party kept the name and remained Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM). Strangely enough, after all the trouble to break ties with The Sudan, South Sudan went ahead and named its national army Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) – the national army of South Sudan.

At around the same time, a new group of ‘Northern’ Sudanese that shared a common SPLM/A ideology and fought along-side the SPLA during the 21-year struggle, continued to fight for their freedom. They re-grouped and, despite being the ‘real’ Sudanese that were waging a war from the southern regions of Sudan, they choice to be called SPLM/A-North! During IGAD peace talks there was an attempt to kidnap and copyright the use of ‘Sudan’ back to …. well …….. Sudan.

That attempt to copyright and block use of the term ‘Sudan’ by non-Sudanese that had nothing to do with Sudan almost triggered another war. SPLM, SPLM-IO, SPLM-DC, SPLM-FD and all the others in South Sudan pretended like nothing was said and pushed on.

“Nothing and nobody dare touch the historic and revolutionary ‘SPLM’, Sudan means land of the blacks and there is nobody blacker than us”!

One can only try to imagine that world where a ruling party is called “In Opposition”. However a few people, including the current Chief of General Staff (CGS) of the SPLA, a die-hard Kiir loyalist, General Paul Malong, has already gone on record to swear upon his 1000plus cows that that will never happen until the Sahara desert becomes fertile!

Regardless, SPLM-IO appears to be adamant to stay its course and remain with the ‘IO’ suffix that the world has learned to know and see as a sign of rebellion. They do not seem eager to change name even in the unlikely event that they peacefully and democratically take over from the current SPLM-In Government.

SPLM-IO Viva, SPLM oyee…..as usual Saakam will keep you posted on the name change when history catches up.

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