May 5th, 2018(Nyamilepedia) —– Addressing the National Liberation Council on May 3rd, 2018, at the Freedom Hall in Juba, the former self-proclaimed leader of the SPLM in Opposition, Gen. Taban Deng Gai, called on members of the SPLM to pledge full support, loyalty and dedication to the “founding father” Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit.
“Let’s give our Chairman the support he need. He is the symbol of our liberation. He is our founding father. He is our guiding and uniting figure. He is the hopes upon which this nation stands” Said Taban Deng Gai.
Gen. Taban was speaking shortly after abolishing a tiny faction of SPLM(IO) that he has been struggling to re-establish as a competing faction to SPLM/A(IO) mainstream under the leadership of his former chairman, Dr. Riek Machar Teny.
With hopes to replace Dr. Machar as the First Deputy Chairperson of the SPLM mainstream, Taban pledges to give his best and the best of his abilities to support Salva Kiir wholeheartedly.
“We must give him our best and the best of our ability to support him wholeheartedly through this journey to lasting, sustainable and durable peace, reconciliation, healing, dialogue and unity” Gen. Taban continued.
Gen. Taban is set to utilize the matrix of the SPLM Reunification accord to ascend to the second highest position in SPLM; however, other senior members of the ruling party believe that Gen. Taban is trying to jump the guns.
“I am appealing to the NLC members to endorse the implementation Matrix for the full implementation of the SPLM Reunification Agreement. Let us restore our glory and bring back the SPLM that accommodate all of us and lead the nation toward just peace, justice, liberty and prosperity” Taban said.
Based on SPLM hierarchy, Gen. Taban does not qualify to replace Machar as the First Deputy chair person of the SPLM mainstream; however, taking advantage of claiming to be the supreme leader of the SPLM(IO) and a possible leader of the Nuer nation – replacing Machar – Taban is persuading the chairman, Salva Kiir, to appoint him through a presidential or SPLM Decree as his First Deputy.
On the other hand, many senior SPLM cadres propose that Taban must earn the position of deputy chairperson through an intra-party election otherwise his appointment will be illegitimate and against the party constitution.
The National Liberation Council meeting was also attended by many members of the International Community, Ugandan President and Egyptian Foreign Minister who call on President Salva Kiir to work with his political rivals like Dr. Machar and members of the SPLM former detainees.
These third parties said the SPLM party and future elections will not be recognized by the international community without participation of keys leaders in the opposition.
The NLC meeting was adjourned for another 45 days to resolve the outstanding issues.
On the other hand, observers and critics argue that the dissolution of Taban’s SPLM(IO) faction could expedite the return of peace in South Sudan.
Taban has been running a parallel faction with a few units of army that have been leading offensives mostly in Unity State, Bieh and Upper Nile states.
With dissolution of his party, Taban’s rebel faction and political wing will be integrated into SPLA-IG and SPLM-IG, respectively.