July 23, 2016(Nyamilepedia) —– A controversial meeting organized today in South Sudan capital, Juba, by a handful of senior cadres of SPLM/SPLA in Opposition under the leadership of the sacked former Chief Negotiator, General Taban Deng Gai, was flooded by a number of unknown faces.
According to a top official of SPLM/SPLA(IO), who spoke on condition of anonymity due to fear of his life, The Chief of general Staff for SPLA-IG, Gen. Paul Malong Awan, was not more than three rooms away within the crown hotel as the meeting proceeded.
The official alleges that Gen. Malong held a closed-doors meeting with Gen. Taban and Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth a few minutes before the “convention” was held within the same hotel, however, Malong did not exit until the meeting was over.
“What is happening here is completely insane, there are no orders except those coming from some unknown force. We just came in and saw many faces some of us never seen in their lives. Some of these people are mostly Dinka but even Dr. Dhieu Mathok does not recognize them” The official spoke out.
“They came to give us a number to make our forced meeting look somehow official. No one consulted us on when and where to meet or why” he continued.
The official said, the Deputy Chairman, Lt. Gen. Lado Gore, was sidelined and not put in the picture as a senior official, who could have acted as the chairman in a democractic process.
“Lado was brought in at gun point, he had no choice or intention to claim the seat. They said, it has to be given to Taban Deng because he is a Nuer, some sort of conspiracy like that” the official continued.
In the meeting Lt. Gen. Lado Gore said, his chairman is not present in Juba because of “circumstances beyond his control” but demands that they want him to come back.
The loud brave general said when he arrived in Juba that they made a tough decision that some of them, the leaders, could even die in the process.
Other top cadres of SPLM/SPLA-IO, who have made it to UNMISS camps, reported intense fear of intimidation and death threats as Kiir’s officials call them to come out from their hiding. Some said they were intimidated by Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth, a polite gentleman, who served as South Sudan Ambassador to Washington.
Responding to the meeting, Machar’s Press Secretary, James Gatdet Dak, declared the meeting as “illegal” because Taban Deng Gai is no longer a member of SPLM/SPLA in Opposition.
“The hotel meeting in Juba convened by a non-SPLM/SPLA (IO) member – who was already dismissed yesterday by the top leadership – is illegal.” Dak said.
“How can a dismissed person convene a meeting and claim leadership from a leader of a party he does not belong to any more?” he continued.
Dak is concerned that the meeting is not only illegal but also lacks forum to be recognized as a democratic process.
“Also there were no leaders to constitute a quorum of the so-called “endorsement for First Vice President’s position”, only a handful of two or three senior officials with the rest of the attendees mainly collected from the streets of Juba.” Dak said.
“They are simply being used by President Salva Kiir’s faction to dismantle the peace agreement. The action is illegal and a forgery.” he continued.
Responding from Washingtong, Reath Muoch Tang, the SPLM IO Representative to the United States of America declared the meeting as “illegal and baseless”.
“To all the members and sympathizers of the SPLM-IO, in the United States of America; and around the World. Please be informed that what happened at Crown Hotel in Juba today, is illegal and baseless for several reasons.” Reath said.
Reath, who has served before under the incumbent president as a member of parliament, calls on the SPLM/SPLA-IO supporters and sympathizers around the world to not be shaken by what he believes is an act of betrayal and greed by his former colleagues, Gen. Taban Deng Gai and Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth.
“In conclusion, we urge all the members of the SPLM-IO around the World not to be shaken by the defection of these two individuals, Taban and Ezekiel Lol. who are joining the Government of Salva Kiir, that carried genocide on the Nuer in Juba, massacred, Shollo, Paratit and Balanda, Equatorians, Murle and other ethnic groups in South Sudan.” Muoch said.
Other officials of SPLM/SPLA in Opposition like Agel Machar Ring, appeals to SPLM/SPLA-IO officials in Juba to stay away from these meetings being organized by the defected officials like Taban Deng Gai.
“I am appealing to all my comrades, the 4 SPLM-IO National ministers who attended to absent themselves from attending the Council of Ministers and their other duties until that time when the third party intervention force is deployed and our leader Dr Riek Machar is back in town.” Agel said.
Agel believes that none of the officials in SPLM/SPLA-IO has enough leadership qualities to replace Dr. Machar Riek Machar Teny, the First Vice President.
“No any other politician in the SPLM-IO leave alone those are who already dismissed has even 10% of political traction of your First Vice-president if you can allow me to give a secret. Yin cha dok comrade!” he said.