JUBA – The main armed opposition Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO) led by First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar Teny has criticized and rejected last week’s decision by the SPLM faction under President Salva Kiir dismissing Machar as first deputy chair of the party and terminating his membership.
On Thursday last week, an overnight meeting of the SPLM political bureau chaired by Kiir resolved to remove Machar from the party along with its elected secretary-general Pagan Amum Okiech, saying the two have formed own political parties.
But in a statement on Monday, Puok Both Baluang, the press secretary in the office of the first vice president and director of information of the SPLM-IO National Committee for Information and Public Relations said the group was surprised by the decision, saying that the party is fractured and none of its factions has powers to remove the others.
“The office of Chairman and Commander-in-Chief of the SPLM/A (IO) was surprised to hear about the decision of the SPLM (IG) Political Bureau to dismiss Cde Riek Machar Teny-Dhurgon and Cde Pagan Amum from its membership as well as First Deputy Chairman and Secretary General of the party respectively,” the statement reads in part.
The Machar-led movement said in the statement that the SPLM party has been apart since crisis begun in December 2013 when it split into three factions and none of these factions do not have the powers or the rights to remove others from the party.
“Firstly, it is important to note that SPLM since December 2013 had split into three factions SPLM (10), SPLM (IG) and SPLM (FD). Lately Real SPLM emerged from SPLM (FD) making them four factions. In the said meeting above, SPLM (FD) confirmed joining SPLM (IG), so the factions remain as three namely SPLM (IO), SPLM (IG) and Real SPLM,” the statement said.
“We want to categorically state that none of these factions can claim being the SPLM, as such no faction can dismiss any member of the other factions from SPLM. For more clarity, the SPLM is the three factions united together. A decision of any of the factions is not a decision of SPLM,” it went on.
“Therefore, the SPLM (IG) cannot dismiss Comrade Riek Machar Teny-Dhurgon from membership of SPLM and cannot as well replace him, as he is an elected First Deputy Chairman and member of Political Bureau of SPLM. Such a dismissal or replacement is only possible if there is a National Convention for the SPLM, not of a faction,” the statement added.