Gen. Gathoth Gatkuoth

South Sudan: logjam as SPLA-IO in TGoNU splinter

By Deng Machol
Gen. Gathoth Gatkuoth
Gen. Gathoth Gatkuoth

Juba – 75 members of SPLM-IO under the first vice president in Juba have issued a vote of no confidence against him, claiming his removal from the leadership of the party in the Transitional government of national unity (TGoNU) before it elapse in May 2019.

The groups, under leader of Gen. Gathoth Gatkuoth, in the press conference on Monday, accused Taban Deng Gai of leadership failure because of disbanded the party without their consent.
Former Labour Minister, Gatkuoth said Taban’s actions will cause confusion within the party and uncertainty in the future.
Gen. Gatkuoth declared himself as the interim chairman of the party and Hon. Otim David as its Secretary General, thus removing Taban and his loyalists.
David, who read out press statement “We understand that it is prudent to keep the details of the letter to the president as a confidential matter, we have chosen to make our decision public because the matter at hand is of public interest and has caused deep concerns, anxieties and hopelessness among the entire sections of the SPLM/A IO (in TGoNU) since 8th May 2018, when Gen. Taban prematurely and unitlaterally dissolved the entire party structures without exhaustive consultations with party organs and leadership of the political bureaus.”
Gen. Gatkuoth said his new organization called SPLM-IO – Interim Governing Council will challenge Taban’s groups and would also negotiate with president Kiir to join the ruling party after three months.
“I will be carrying the cross of the SPLM-IO for 100 days to negotiate with Salva Kiir, the chairman of the SPLM, we will go to the SPLM independently without Taban,” said Gatkuoth.
Taban split from opposition leader Riek Machar following fightin in Juba on July, 2016, and Gen. Gatkuoth had been part of the SPLM-IO faction led by Taban.
Of recently, Taban, former rebel, formally folded his SPLM – IO party into the ruling party of president Kiir.
Gatkuoth, however said they have disassociated themselves from the committee nominated by Taban to devise mechanisms for reunification of the SPLM.
“Taban has failed to deliver on the commitments the SPLM/A-IO made when joining the TGoNU in 2016. He failed to bring peace, that’s why we have to revitalized version now,” said Gatkuoth.
In response, the first vice president Taban’s spokesperson, Agel Machar, who attended the splinter press conference, described the revelation as ‘wild.’
“I can say that some of the things that they have claimed are too wild and preposterous and they are out of touch with the realities whether it is with the ARCISS or with the revitalized agreement on the conflict in South Sudan,” said Agel. Nobody has the authority to remove Taban Deng as the first vice president.”
“The removal of the first vice president is not the work of anybody. He was brought by the top leadership of the SPLM-IO to replace Dr. Riek Machar after the incident of 2016, July at J1. The agreement was clear that he will have to finish his term till the revitalized agreement is in place,” added Agel.
But Gatkuoth said his new groups is ready to participate in the revitalized peace deal.
In the latest revitalized peace deal, Taban will serve as vice president again, but Gatkuoth groups said they will not accept Taban to be in new transitional government, described him as ‘war profiteer.’ “Where you find Taban, you will find a conflict,” Gatkuoth said.
According to Gatkuoth’s groups, Taban was behind the 2013 and 2016 wars respectively. They said the new organizations is formed to rescue the party from failure leadership and to fight wrong elements and war profiteers in Juba.
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