We are verifying a report saying that an extra ordinary number of 2,700 Juba SPLA faction soldiers under the command of Brig. General Gatwech Puoch Mar have defected to SPLM/SPLA under Dr. Riek Machar Teny- Turgeon.
According to Tut Loutkoway SPLA Secretary US chapter, General Gatwech Puoch Mar, is a brother to Upper Nile State Governor Simon Kun Puoch Mar.
He was assigned to serve as a general in Northern Bahr el Ghazel before South Sudan Civil War broke out last year.
The soldiers defected with a full array of brand new machinery that Uganda has been purchasing on behalf of the SPLA Juba faction as agreed between the two leaders, the stocks include tanks, APC, Textures and modern artillery weapons.
In the beginning of the year, its alleged that the UPDF had also purchased on behalf of the SPLM 50 fighter tanks as they prepared for a prolonged military campaign in the coming months, but unfortunately for them the rearmament has not brought the predicted quick victory instead the debts are piling up on the Juba regime.
Brig Gatwech Pouch Mar, says he opted to defect at this time because he took time to study what vision will propel South Sudan out of this current crisis and finally he settled for the vision of federalism.
His pronouncement was that the flattering regime of Salva Kiir has lost focus and has resorted to open tribalism, nepotism and marginalization of other South Sudan tribes by Kiir corrupt Dinka dominated government.
The general cited a recent example were Salva Kiir appointed 60 Dinkas in the cabinet in clear violation and disregard of national unity government.
The message from the chairman SPLA-IO welcomes the defected troops under Brig Gen Gatwech Puoch and he is calling upon the entire South Sudanese citizens to abound on the tribal Juba regime under Salva Kiir to bring a long lasting solutions to democratic governance to the people of South Sudan.
With this one time defection involving a sizeable number of troops since, the outbreak of war and a faltering offensive by SPLA Juba faction which captured only one strategic town in the operation.
However, that gain also was quickly cancelled with the failure of Kiir and his UPDF allies to maintain hold of the key administrative town of Ayod.
This high profile defection is another dent to President Yoweri Museveni and his war planners attempt to baby sit a warning tribal Juba government, presided by Salva Kiir and without a doubt it’s a massive blow since there are not enough trained man power to defend the state capitals like Bor, Bentiu and Malakal.
In Uganda the law makers are becoming increasingly hostile to the unpopular involvement of the UPDF in South Sudan crisis.
Under the present state of affairs, Uganda’s continued stay in South Sudan without time limit is a threat to international law.
After all, Uganda does not have a locus stand to plead self-defence in the South Sudan conflict. Its presence is dependent on consent from South Sudan.
The Leader of opposition in Uganda, Hon.Wafula Oguttu put the government to task by asking the question.
”How does UPDF deployment in South Sudan relate to the UN Charter, the AU Charter and IGAD Framework? Are we adhering to the international law standards?”
“We are convinced that Parliament of Uganda never ratified the present deployment of UPDF to engage in combat operations in South Sudan in line with the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda and the related laws on deployment outside Uganda.”
When the motion on Uganda’s deployment in South Sudan was debated in January 2014, the Committee on Defence and Internal Affairs was directed to follow up on the issue and regularly report to Parliament.
Since then Committee has not made any report to Parliament on the matter of the accountabilities of the UPDF’s combat operations in South Sudan including the recent beefing up of the troop numbers, tragically the NRM dominated parliament keeps on passing supplementary budgets without asking for the UPDF to account.
The elections are around the corner in Uganda which is a very costly venture in Uganda since all the resources of the country is diverted to procure victory for the Museveni NRM party, in addition to the presence of the UPDF IN South Sudan the country is already feeling the economic stress in resources to continue funding this war.
The average Ugandan does not support the UPDF deployment in South Sudan, they rather see Uganda taking a peace role than being a part of the escalating the death on innocent and helpless citizens of South Sudan.