By Tesfa-Alem Tekle
March 10, 2014 (ADDIS ABABA) - Chief negotiator of the SPLM/A-In-Opposition, Taban Deng Gai, on Tuesday dismissed reports alleging that South Sudanese rebel leader, Riek Machar has formed an interim government-in-waiting under his leadership.
- Head of the rebel delegation, Taban Deng Gai, attends the opening ceremony of South Sudan’s negotiation in Addis Ababa, January 4, 2014. (Photo Reuters/Tiksa Negeri)
In a press statement extended to Sudan Tribune Monday, Gai downplayed the reports which were recently disseminated in South Sudanese online discussion forum.
According to the rebel top negotiator, the intention was to tarnish the image of the SPLM-In-Opposition group and its leader Machar.
He blamed President Salva Kiir’s government and his "die-hard supporters" of intentionally circulating those "fabricated" information as part of their attempts to discredit the ongoing revolution that has erupted on mid December.
"The intention of the regime is ostensibly to upset the spirit of the growing number of our supporters, especially from the Greater Equatoria and Greater Bahr-el-Ghazal regions," said Gai.
The alleged ’interim cabinet’ named 21 ministerial post holders’ which is same number to that of the current cabinet.
Rebels said the fabricated would-be cabinet is said to comprise mainly of Nuer ethnicity to give it a tribal tone.
"This is of course false and mere smear politicking," said Gai.
He said some people who received this email, have began to show sign of despair and to lose hope but he called up on South Sudanese not to be misled by what he said were cheap propaganda.
The SPLM/A-In-Opposition "hereby assures its body of sympathizers and the entire citizenry of South Sudan that it has not even met officially to form any movement structures, as it is giving the ongoing peace talks mediated by IGAD a chance," he stated.
The rebel official further stressed they believes strongly in democracy and that the SPLM-In Opposition leader Riek Machar Teny "would not be falling into the same cheap and undemocratic methods of Salva Kiir of ruling by decrees".
Gai, however, expressed the group’s willingness to sign the Declaration of Principles in the peace talks, which includes a provision for a popularly-elected interim government.
"We are, therefore, aware that forming any government at this early stage is ambitious and unwarranted," he added.
Other members of the rebel group in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, told Sudan Tribune that the next government will be formed by all South Sudan political parties will be part of the interim arrangement.
The rebels said they are looking for democracy and equal participation of all political parties in determining the future of South Sudan where fundamental principles of human rights, justice, equality and prosperity for all is guarantee.