KHARTOUM – South Sudan’s holdout opposition leader Duer Tut Duer on Wednesday said that President Salva Kiir Mayardit is wrong to dismiss First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar Teny from the SPLM party, saying he should only do so if the SPLM-IO leader refused to continue with the implementation of the Arusha SPLM Reunification Agreement.
This comes after President Kiir’s ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM-IG) faction said following a meeting on Thursday last week that they have removed Machar, leader of the SPLM-IO, and Pagan Amum, leader of the Real-SPLM, from the party and filled their seats which have been vacant since outbreak of war in December 2013.
Machar was the first deputy chairman of the SPLM prior to the SPLM 2013 split which triggered the deadly civil war. Pagan was the secretary-general of the party. Based on the new decision by Kiir’s SPLM faction, Vice-President James Wani Igga will be the new first deputy chairman while Daniel Awet Akot and Kuol Mayang Juuk will be the second and the third deputies of the chairman, respectively.
Interim Secretary-General Peter Lam Both will be the confirmed secretary-general to replace Pagan Amum, while Akol Paul Kordit and Tulio Odongi will serve as the first and second deputies to the secretary-general, respectively.
In a statement extended to Sudans Post, Duer Tut, the leader of the breakaway SPLM-IO (Reformist) faction who disagreed with Machar in June 2021, said Kiir has no right to remove Machar from the SPLM party because it has split into smaller pieces including the two led by Kiir and Machar.
“For those who are not aware or being manipulated: officially, the “SPLM” splits into SPLM-IO, SPLM-IG and SPLM-FDS on the 20th of October 2014, following the Arusha Framework Agreement on the root causes of the Conflict. Currently, Riek Machar is not a member of ‘SPLM-IG’ for Salva Kiir to remove him. [But] if the SPLM-IO refuses to be part of the Reunification of the ‘SPLM’, and refuses to join the SPLM-IG and the SPLM-FDS on the implementation of the Arusha Agreement, the two groups (IG and FDs) have all the right to reunite themselves and become ‘SPLM,’” Duer stated.
“After the reunification, then the ‘SPLM’ can now ask those of SPLM-IO to give themselves another name, because the objective of the Arusha Agreement was to reunite the ‘SPLM’ to avoid the fragmentation of the Country along ethnic and regional fault lines and because the name ‘SPLM- IO’ doesn’t match with the current actuality, an organisation whose Chairman act as President of the Country when the president is abroad, whose deputy Chairman is the First Deputy Speaker of the National Parliament and whose one of its members is the Speaker of the Council of States and have a number of ministers in the cabinet, cannot continue to call itself ‘In Opposition,’” he added.
He said that “’In Opposition’ is a suffix to give additional information about the Name SPLM and separate the SPLM which was fighting the Government from the SPLM which was in the Government from 2013 up to February 2020). From February 2020, the SPLM-IG under Salva Kiir and the SPLM-IO under Riek Machar and the SPLM-FDs are all SPLM In Government (SPLM-IG).”
“If Salva Kiir has never considered the fragmentation of the ‘SPLM’ all these years, then he has no reason at all for him to remove Riek Machar from the SPLM, simply, because the Article 10.E and 10.F of the Constitution of the SPLM automatically removed Riek Machar from the SPLM in April 2014, after the formation of the SPLM-IO following Nasir Conference,” he stressed.