DISBANDED – Taban dissolves faction, Joins SPLM in Gov’t
FVP Taban Deng Gai speaks while Dhieu Mathok looks on during the press conference (photo by Jale Richard):
By Jale Richard
The First Vice President Taban Deng Gai has dissolved his faction of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement In Opposition, and joined the government in a bid to unite the fractured SPLM party.
“I would therefore like to announce on behalf of the SPLM-IO structures and the entire membership of the party, the dissolution of the SPLM-IO organs including Chapters and declare them to be united with the SPLM, the historic liberation party in the Republic of South Sudan,” the First Vice President told reporters in a news conference yesterday.
“All SPLM-IO members and cadres are directed to strictly observe this unification process as stated in the Arusha Agreement of the 21st January, 2015,” he added.
This comes few days after the SPLM members endorsed the implementation matrix for the revised Arusha Agreement and resolved to unite the SPLM party on the 4th May at the end of the fourth National Liberation Council meeting in Juba last week.
The meeting was attended by representative of the SPLM Leaders/Former Political Detainees (FDs), John Luk jok who expressed optimism about unification of the party. However, Dr. Riek Machar’s faction did not attend the meeting after invitation.
Ugandan President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni who played significant role in the unification process also attended the meeting in Juba, and pledged to come with some of the SPLM leaders who did not attend the meeting for the next meeting.
The First Vice President said he was no longer the leader of the SPLM-IO faction, but the First Vice President of the Republic of South Sudan.
“We are now no longer SPLM-IO, we are SPLM. We have dissolved our structures from the top leadership to the chapters and the lower organs of the SPLM-IO Women, and Youth League,” he said.
He said the party has wide membership all over the country and in the world. The SPLM-IO also has governors in some of the states.
Majority of the SPLM-IO forces were from the greater Upper Nile region. Some forces were under training in Mapel, according to General Taban. He said they also have forces in Maridi, Eastern Equotoria, Mundri, and Yei, all of which will be “integrated in to the SPLA forces.”
He said he hopes that some existing factions of the SPLM including that of FDs and that of Riek Machar will come to Juba for the next SPLM meeting to be held within 45 days.
The First Vice President said he rejoined the SPLM to unify the party and work with President Kiir to address the challenges to bring lasting peace to South Sudan.
“Unification of SPLM will give more power, more spirit and more energy for the party to strike in the areas of making lasting peace. We believe unification of the SPLM will help in that direction,” he stated.
He promised to work to restore confidence between communities by fighting tribalism and stopping child abductions and cattle rustling.
General Taban said the SPLM will engage in security sector reform and development of the army to secure the country for return of refugees and IDPs.
He said they will also work towards improving the relationship between the SPLM and the international partners especially the Troika.
“I assure you that this is the end of divisions in the SPLM. You will not hear any division any longer,” General Taban reiterated.
He said the party will also open space for all political parties for people to participate freely in future elections.
“Let us not delay elections, let us come home, form parties, disseminate your agenda, ask the voters to vote for you. If you beat the SPLM we shall congratulate you and then we wait for years to come until we reorganize ourselves to also win elections,” he said.
“We are going to reorganize the SPLM so that it becomes robust party that can capture power, that can have the trust of the people,” he added.