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Three leading members resign from the opposition SPLM-DC

September 17, 2011 (JUBA) — The main opposition party in South Sudan has suffered a new blow with the resignation of three leading members who accused its chairman of dictatorial management of the party and having an armed militia.

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Sandra Bona Malwal (photo Larco Lomayat)

SPLM-DC was formed on 6 June 2009 by former Sudan’s foreign minister Lam Akol who resigned from the mainstream SPLM, South Sudan’s ruling party. However since its inception the party has been accused of suspicious links with the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) in Khartoum and also accused of having paramilitary groups.

Charles Kisanga, former secretary general of the SPLM-DC, resigned in July 2010 accusing Lam Akol of dictatorship and embezzling money during his campaign for the presidency of South Sudan in April 2010. He also claimed that Akol was arming militiamen to obstruct South Sudan’s referendum on self-determination, which took place in January with 98 percent voting for secession.

The SPLM-DC Secretary General, Sandra Bona Malwal, Secretary for Administration and Finance Deng Bior Deng and Secretary for Populace and Syndicated Organization Yien Thiang Luony resigned this week from the party repeating the same accusations in a joint statement dated 16 September.

"We have always been concerned about how the party is being run by our Chairperson and the relationship of the party with the National Congress Party (NCP)," reads the joint statement released in Juba.

They also went to claim "Our Chairperson was secretly working against the independence of our country. He did not want independence to come under the leadership of the SPLM".

Before independence the SPLM-led government in Juba arrested several opposition leaders and local officials in different regions in the South Sudan. Pagan Amum, Secretary General of the South Sudan ruling party in March 2011 accused the opposition party of receiving arms from Khartoum’s government.

Reacting to these new accusations filed by the dissident members Akol denied the accusations of corruption or having armed militias. He further described the accusations as "signs of a sagging morale".

He also refuted the accusation of sponsoring paramilitary groups in Southern Sudan saying those who allege that the former rebel Peter Gadet received support from SPLM-DC should bring their evidence to court.

"The party cannot be held responsible for actions of one or a number of its members however high in the hierarchy they may be unless those actions are proved beyond any reasonable doubt in a court of law that they were sanctioned by the party," he further said.

(ST)