South Sudan opposition has split with a top member of the group defecting to President Salva Kiir’s government.
James Gatdet Dak, the spokesperson of the first vice president says Riek Machar has fired his top official Gen Taban Deng and stripped him of his ministerial appointment.
“FVP Dr. Riek Machar has dismissed Taban Deng Gai from the SPLM/SPLA (IO). He has also withdrawn and recalled him from Minister of Mining,” Dak said on Friday.
Machar accused Hon. Taban Deng Gai of defecting from the SPLM/SPLA (IO) hence relieving him of his positions and membership of the party.
Machar directed all officials (senior and junior) of the SPLM/SPLA (IO) not to have official contacts or meetings with him with effect from July 22, 2016.
Machar also directed all SPLA-IO commanders and units to cut off communication with General Taban and few individuals with him who are behind a conspiracy engineered by President Sava Kiir’s faction to divide the SPLM/SPLA (IO), and to dismantle the August 2015 peace agreement using them.
Dr. Riek Machar has already sent out the message to all units in the country.
Machar wrote to President Kiir to relieve Gai from his position as Minister of Mining in the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU) in a letter copied to JMEC and IGAD.
“I am asking Your Excellency to relieve him with immediate effect,” Machar said promising to nominate Gai’s replacement as soon as he returns to Juba once the security arrangement is put in place by a third party force as per the Communique of the IGAD Council of Ministers meeting in Nairobi, on 11 July 2016.
Gai was a member of the SPLM/SPLA (IO) Political Bureau and Chairman of the National Committee for Reconciliation and Healing.
He was the chief negotiator for the opposition faction until April this year.
He is accused of going publicly against the position of the SPLM-IO’s leadership, including the deployment of a third party force, despite his boss’ declaration that the leadership welcomed the regional troops’ deployment.
He has been also reportedly campaigning to replace his chairman in his position as First Vice President in the Republic of South Sudan, accusing him of staying away from Juba, according to reports.
Shilluks deny defection
Meanwhile, the Governor of Fashoda state, Hon. Jokina Fidel, also dismissed a statement issued in Juba by a junior Shilluk official called William Ezekiel, that Shilluk officials and members of the SPLM/SPLA (IO) want to replace the First Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar.
“We the Shilluk leadership and officials/members of the SPLM-IO stand behind the First Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar Teny.”
He said the Commander of Sector One of the SPLA-IO, General Johnson Olony, has also assured him of his unwavering loyalty to the First Vice President.
“Any irresponsible statement coming from one of our junior officials, such as William Ezekiel, is not true and does not represent the position of the Shilluk Kingdom,” Jokina Fidel, Governor, Fashoda state, SPLM (IO).”