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NCP South Sudan office closes down as officials join SPLM

July 8, 2011 (JUBA) – The offices of the North Sudan’s ruling National Congress
Party (NCP) in South Sudan officially closed on Thursday as senior officials of the party declared their collective defection to the South Sudan’s ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) two days before the independence.

Dozens of senior members of the NCP including Riek Gai Kok, the most senior
advisor to President Omer Al Bashir, and a number of current ministers and
former ministers of the Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS) on Thursday declared their defection to the SPLM.

In a press conference hosted in Juba on Thursday by the minister of Information
Barnaba Marial Benjamin and attended by several local and international media
houses, Riek Gai Kok, who led the collective defection of the NCP officials in
the ten states told the press that the timing was ripe to rejoin "my party" the
SPLM.

Bashir’s advisor since 2005 who is also former President of the Southern Sudan
Coordinating Council (SSCC) told the press he was very happy that he and his
people of South Sudan finally voted for independence of the region.

He further explained he felt proud and happy that it was the implementation of
the objective of the right of self-determination which he said he helped in
championing from 1990s in the SPLM and signed in the Khartoum Peace Agreement (KPA) in 1997 that has now brought the freedom and independence of the people of South Sudan.

When asked why he decided to defect to the SPLM at this time, Gai responded that he was only rejoining his party, the SPLM, after achieving this right of self-determination, a remark received with ululations and hand claps by the
audience.

He said it was not only him and other senior officials sitting with him in the
press conference in Juba that have joined the SPLM but also similar events were
simultaneously taking place in all the ten states on the same day. Gai said
press conferences were being held in the ten states during which NCP offices
were being closed down and declarations to join the SPLM were being made.

Riek Gai called on the people of South Sudan to rally behind the leadership of
Salva Kiir Mayardit, the first president of the Republic of South Sudan (RoSS)
from Saturday, July 9, for the next four years of transition.

(ST)