By Tesfa-Alem Tekle
February 7, 2017 (ADDIS ABABA) - A rebel official from the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM-IO) has dismissed allegations that the group is preparing to relieve its leader, Riek Machar, and to elect another one.
- First Vice President, Riek Machar, accompanied by SPLA-IO officers, Juba, 27 May, 2016 (ST Photo)
An opposition source who requested anonymity on Monday told Sudan Tribune that the SPLM-IO leadership at the headquarters in Pagak is set to elect a new leader to replace Machar.
The source pointed that Machar’s presence in Johannesburg complicates the decision making process, stressing that he cannot continue to run the movement remotely from South Africa.
But an opposition official dismissed this false "rumours and malicious propaganda", pointing an accusing finger at the government in Juba saying they are "fabricating" such unfounded reports.
"The government in Juba is behind this malicious and baseless propaganda and it should not surprise anyone because this is not the first time for the fascist regime in Juba to manufacture lies with the intention to create confusion and mistrust within the leadership of the People’s Movement under the leadership of Riek Machar," said Peter Oyoyo Kleto, SPLM-IO deputy representative to Republic of Tanzania told Sudan Tribune.
"I want to assure and inform all our comrades and all South Sudanese inside and outside the country that the leadership of SPLM/A IO is fully behind the leadership of our Chairman Riek Machar and his deputy Henry Odwar" he further said.
Kleto called upon President Salva Kiir to accept peace through the revival of the August agreement.
He went to say that the armed opposition movement under Machar leadership has huge support both inside and outside the country, warning that "any attempt to sideline him from the country’s affairs will never bring peace to the country"
the rebel official called on the African union, Troika countries, European Union and the UN to work for a political process to revive the August agreement to end any further bloodshed and end the suffering of the people.
The SPLM-IO leader and former First Vice President is currently South Africa since October 2016. In November of the same year he attempted to regain the headquarters in Pagak near the Ethiopian border.
But the Sudanese and Ethiopian authorities barred him from entering into their territory, in line with a regional decision to prevent the resumption of hostilities in the young nation.