Home | News    Tuesday 8 May 2018

S. Sudan armed opposition faction re-joins ruling party

May 7, 2018 (JUBA) – The faction of South Sudan’s armed opposition movement (SPLM-IO) led by First Deputy President Taban Deng Gai announced on Monday that it has officially joined the country’s ruling party (SPLM) under the overall leadership of President Salva Kiir.

JPEG - 39.9 kb
South Sudan First Vice President Taban Deng Gai addresses the general debate of the UN General Assembly (UN Photo)

The decision is line with the Arusha agreement signed between the different factions of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement.

"I would therefore like to announce on behalf of the SPLM-IO structures and the entire membership of the party, ’the dissolution of the SPLM-IO organs including Chapters and declare them to be united with the SPLM, the historic liberation party in the Republic of South Sudan," Gai told reporters in the capital, Juba in Monday.

On Friday last week, the SPLM National Liberation Council endorsed the Arsuha reunification agreement to reunify fragmented factions of South Sudan’s ruling party.

The first vice president’s announcement came ahead of talks mediated by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), due on 17 May in Ethiopia

In January 2015, delegates from three factions of the SPLM party signed a 12-page agreement in Arusha, Tanzania, laying out key steps toward reunifying the party. Those who signed include the party loyal to President Kiir, the SPLM-in-Opposition led by former vice president Riek Machar, and a third made up of party officials who were detained when the conflict began in mid-December 2013.

"All SPLM-IO members and cadres are directed to strictly observe this reunification process as stated in the Arusha Agreement of 21 January 2015," he further stressed.

Analysts say the move by the South Sudanese first vice president, would strengthen the coalition government headed by President Kiir.

The SPLM, South Sudan’s ruling party, was initially founded as the political wing of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA). The party, in the aftermath of the civil war that broke out in the country in mid-December 2013, split into the SPLM-Juba faction headed by Kiir, SPLM-IO led by Machar and that of the ex-political detainees.

The civil war in South Sudan, the United Nations says, has killed tens of thousands of people and forced a quarter of the country’s 12 million people from their homes. More than half of the population reportedly need food aid.