December 6, 2018 (JUBA) – South Sudan President Salva Kiir and leader of the ruling party disclosed Thursday that the SPLM-IO faction of his First Vice President has not been yet merged into the SPLM-IG awaiting their formal request.
Speaking during the closing session of SPLM retreat held in Lobonok of Jubek state, President Kiir explained to the conference why Vice-President Taban and other leading members in his faction were not among them during the three-day meeting.
“My colleague Taban and his other comrades, asking me every time when am I appointing them in the SPLM Political Bureau so that they are considered as full members,” he said.
He added that he gave his answer on the day before his departure to Lobonok to his oil minister Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth.
“Before I left I told Ezekiel that you did not do your homework in your house because when General Taban declared the dissolution of his SPLM-IO faction, we were expecting that you would sit alone in your Political Bureau to approve the dissolution of your party and declare you are joining the SPLM,” said President Kiir.
He went further to add that the procedures provide that following the dissolution of the group they write to the SPLM leader who will submit their request letter for discussion and approval by the SPLM Political Bureau.
“But now you cannot tell me you just issue a decree appointing such a number of your members into the Political Bureau,” he told the silent meeting room.
“This is what I told him and I added you talk about it among yourselves and when I come back from you come and raise it in the next meeting,” he concluded his speech on this matter.
On 7 May 2018, the SPLM-IO led by Taban Deng Gai announced that it officially joined the country’s ruling party (SPLM) under the overall leadership of President Salva Kiir.
“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,” announced Taban Deng on that day.
President Kiir and his deputy James Wani Igga stressed during the opening session of the retreat on the need to restructure and rebuild a strong political organisation ahead of the upcoming elections at the end of the transitional period.
They pointed out that the party is very weak and destabilized by the internal divisions.
President Kiir said the party also has to support the return of refugees and displaced civilians to their home areas warning if they fail to support the people they should not take their support for the SPLM for guaranteed.
Vice President James Wani stressed the need to ensure the “effective transformation” of the party saying if they fail to agree on this matter during the retreat they will never transform it again.