By Deng Machol
South Sudanese first vice president has assured his supporters of SPLM – IO in the transitional government that he will not be eliminate in the forth-coming transitional government, due to form in May 2019.
First Vice President Taban Deng Gai, remarks comes after some of his supporters of former SPLM -IO in the government, ganged up and withdraw their support to him, accusing him of dissolve the party and join the SPLM – ruling party led president Kiir, without consultations.
On Monday, this week, groups led by former Labour Minister, Gen. Gathoth Gatkuoth, who declared himself as chairman of the SPLM – IO interim council in the government accused Taban of unilateral dissolution of the party to join the SPLM in the government without exhaustive consultations with party organs and leadership of the political bureaus.
However, Taban refuted the accusations, adding that Gen. Gatkuoth and his groups are ‘anti-peace and power thirty elements in the country.’
In the revitalized peace deal, president Kiir will remains as president, Dr. Riek Machar, as first vice president, Taban Deng and James Wani Igga will also remain as vice president respectively and other two vice presidents will come from former political detainees and South Sudan Opposition Alliance groups.
Taban emphasized that the reunification of the SPLM factions is only path for stability in South Sudan.
“There are people saying that now those of Taban have dissolve themselves and they are going to have no positions. So, comrades do not fear of re-unification of the SPLM and the forth coming government because you are part of the agreement,” Taban assured his members during a briefing to his SPLM – IO supporters on the status of the re-unification, integration of the army forces and implementation of the signed revitalized peace deal on Wednesday in Juba.
“I am hearing others saying Taban Deng will not become the vice president because I and Riek Machar come from the same place [Bentiu]. That the vice president will come from Bahr el Ghazal or Equatoria, which are good messages,” said Taban.
He further stressed that neither him nor Riek Machar brought each other to the government, each came individually.
“But who brought Taban Deng Gai? Is Riek, the one who brought me or I brought him? Everyone came alone,” said first vice president.
Taban, who is joining the SPLM as political bureau member, further says the SPLM political bureau can decide his removal and replacement, adding that he would accept without taking the country back to chaos.
“If you [SPLM political bureau] say you [Taban] your three years are enough, please step aside for so and so, I will deserve that and I will never one day take this country back to war,” Taban told his supporters.
He continued says that it was a good decision to dissolve the SPLM – IO and join SPLM in government to bring lasting peace to the country.
Adding that it was a must for the party to gain momentum by reunification ahead of proposed elections after the transitional government in 2021.
Taban urged his supporters not to lose hope by the move, adding that they will still have positions in the next transitional government.
“Do not think that we did bad, by dissolving our part last time and joined the SPLM,” Taban told the supporters.
Gen. Taban, former rebel, a man being behind the 2013 and 2016 political violence, split from his former boss Dr. Riek Machar, following fighting in Juba on July, 2016 and of recently, formally folded his SPLM – IO party into the ruling party of president Kiir.
“The SPLM must united …… I want the unity of the SPLM …… because [if that work] within a year we can change the face of this country…… and that is my ideas,” said Taban.
The former rebel said the harmony of the SPLM will make a country to prospers.
Taban, however told his supporters that anyone who do not want to join the SPLM or against the reunification of the SPLM, is free to form his own party or join other political parties in the country, rather than causing muddles.