By Tesfa-Alem Tekle
August 2, 2014 (ADDIS ABABA) – The entire leadership of the US branch of South Sudan’s ruling party (SPLM) officially declared on Saturday that they are switching allegiance to the country’s rebel movement led by former vice-president Riek Machar, calling for regime change through military means.
- The SPLM-USA branch has called for the swift removal of South Sudanese president Salva Kiir after joining the country’s rebel faction led by former vice-president Riek Machar (Photo: Reuters)
Along with the SPLM-US national secretariat, the chairpersons of 10 branch offices across the US have also collectively joined the rebel movement.
In a press statement extended to Sudan Tribune, the SPLM party leadership in the US said they made the decision following a painstaking process to evaluate the various political scenarios facing the young nation and its ongoing deterioration in recent months.
In the statement put out to notify South Sudanese diaspora communities of the decision, the SPLM-US praised Machar as a “pioneer” and “charismatic” leader.
They also accuse president Salva Kiir of unleashing a “tsunami” of injustice, insecurity, inequality, rampant corruption, nepotism and tribalism on the country, saying such issues had come to represent the values of the SPLM/A.
They called on all concerned South Sudanese citizens, including members of the legislative assembly, the national army (SPLA) and diaspora communities to join the struggle to topple the central government through military means, saying Kiir’s swift removal was vital to preventing the country was disintegrating into separate independent regions.
The SPLM-US has urged the international community to stand behind the people of South Sudan in their struggle for regime change in order to bring a lasting peace and stability to the country, also calling for a probe into the alleged massacre of civilians in the capital, Juba, based on their ethnicity in the conflict’s early stages.
“Based on our understanding through genuine discussions, we are not keenly going to sit back leaving [our] notorious president and his political associates to get away with the committed horrendous crimes and injustices without involving the rule of laws and justices,” the statement added.
The defection of the entire SPLM leadership in the US delivers a major blow to Juba, particularly given the fact that the US-based branch is the largest and among the most politically active.
Kiir is among 50 African heads of state and government currently in Washington to attend a US-Africa summit.
See below for a full listing of SPLM-USA members who have indicated they are joining South Sudan’s rebel movement:
SPLM-USA national secretariat:
Thabor Deng Ding – secretary-general.
Othow Kur Awang – secretary for political affairs and mobilisation
SPLM-USA state chapter chairpersons:
1. Bol Deng Dei, Arizona
2. Gideon Abram, Colorado
3. Makuel Wie, Nebraska
4. Peter Dokuoth Gak, California
5. Simon Puok Dak, Iowa
6. Simon Tonyik Nguoth Del, Tennessee
7. Kak Banguot, Alaska
8. Thok Timothy Tutlam, Minnesota
9. Gatluak Nyang Bidiit, Utah
10. Julius Rombe Dima, Missouri (Kansas City)