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Gathkuoth’s group open to dialogue

Otim David Okot, the Secretary General of the Interim Governance

Council (Photo: Jale Richard)

By Jale Richard

The faction of the South Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition that broke away from the First Vice President last month said they are open to dialogue.

“Dialogue is part of our principle in the SPLM-IO Interim Governance Council. We accept the dialogue but it must be on principle. It must be on honesty, telling the truth and it should be spearheaded by His Excellency the President,” Otim David Okot, the Secretary General of the Interim Governance Council said.

He spoke to Juba Monitor in an exclusive interview in Juba yesterday.

“If the President decided to call us that there is need for dialogue, it must be on principle of honesty, it should not be on intimidating anybody,” he added.

Last month, the Interim Governing Council (IGC) of the SPLM/A-IO under the leadership of Lt. Gen. Gathoth Gatkuoth Hothnyang, the former minister of Labour, Public Service and Human Resource Development made a vote of no confidence against Taban Deng Gai as the leader of the SPLM/A-IO in government.

The breakaway group accused Gen. Taban of abuse of power and public office since his nomination and installation as First Vice President on July 27th 2016.

They also accused Gen. Tabanfor prematurely and unilaterally dissolving the entire party structure without thorough consultation with party organs and leadership of the Political Bureau.

But Agel Machar, the Spokesperson in the Office of the First Vice President countered the claim by Gathkuoththat the party was dissolved without consultation of the party’s members, adding that joining the SPLM in government came as a result of exhaustive consultation at every level of the SPLM-IO party.

“The decision to dissolve the party and its structures on 7th May 2018 was the culmination of the intentions set out under the able leadership of the top party’s organ the political bureau,” Agel said.

Otim also stated that President Kiirshould commission an audit team to investigate the whereabouts of money allocated for peace during implementation of the 2015 agreement.

He said if there is dialogue, the party leaders should apologize for mishandling the party and for not reconciling the communities even when they were allocated money.

Otim said they will represent the SPLM-IO in the next government because general Taban has already rejoined the SPLM party.

“We are going to be part of the next government on our own, not under General Taban because he does not represent us. He has rejoined the SPLM party,” Otim added.

“We are going to get equal shares. We will divide the posts equally starting from the ministerial positions, Assembly positions and commissions because in this agreement everybody should be involved,” he added.

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