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South Sudan senior presidential adviser says SPLM has been hijacked

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March 19, 2021 (JUBA) - Kuol Manyang Juuk, Senior Presidential Adviser in South Sudan said the ruling party of President Salva Kiir, SPLM, has been hijacked by the former ruling National Congress Party (NCP) in Sudan.

South Sudan's defence minister, Kuol Manyang Juuk, pictured following a cabinet meeting in Juba on 17 January 2014 (Photo: Reuters/Andreea Campeanu)Juuk who is one of the first South Sudanese to join the late John Garang in December 1983 to establish the SPLM/A spoke publically about the ongoing power struggle in the entourage of President Kiir during a video-interview with a South Sudanese journalist Mathiang Cirilo posted the social media on Thursday.

He said the enemy they fought yesterday has now infiltrated the SPLM to "pursue their ideology and destroy the SPLM".

"Now they have taken the country and the presidency. They are in the states as governors. They are here in the cabinet as ministers. They are in the secretariat of the SPLM. They are in parliament. They are in the army. They are in the security (service). They are in police. They are in all the institutions holding key positions," Juuk said.

After the independence of South Sudan in July 2011, several former NCP members from South Sudan joined the SPLM and expressed their desire to serve their country.

With a spirit of national reconciliation, they were integrated into the party, also former militia leaders were merged into the liberation army, the SPLA.

The civil war of 2013 contributed to form new circles around the president and paved the way for the emergence of new faces in the government institutions.

However, Juuk remained loyal to Salva Kiir and he even took the defence ministry in 2013 when the civil war broke out. Juuk was blacklisted and sanctioned by the U.S. in December 2019 for "his role in perpetuating South Sudan‘s years-long conflict by obstructing the country’s stalled peace process."

Kuol said Kiir appointed him as the Senior Presidential Adviser but it is not easy for him to meet the president.

“I was appointed by President Salva as Senior Presidential Adviser which means I am the head of advisers. But I am not being allowed to even meet the President by Tut Kew and this is for several months," he said naming the Presidential Adviser for Security Affairs.

The influential Tut Kew or Tut Gatluak Manime who is the Bul-Nuer ethnic group is often criticized and described as an adoptive son of the former Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir.

The senior presidential aide went further to say he now meets the president outside official channels.

“Yes I meet the president, but this is outside official channels. We meet sometimes when there is a meeting at the level of the Political Bureau at the SPLM Secretariat. We meet sometimes when comrade (Vice President) James Wani wants us to meet and discuss something related to the work of the SPLM in which the President will participate. These are the occasions in which I meet the President. But in my capacity as the Senior Presidential Adviser, it takes time,” said Juuk.

Daniel Awet Akot, a senior SPLM member and former presidential Adviser, former minister and former governor, recently called on President Kiir to step down and hand over power to presidential affairs minister Nhial Deng Nhial.

“I have always reiterated in our SPLM PB [Political Bureau] meetings that we are mentally incapacitated and exhausted; Let’s hand over the remaining part of our vision to Nhial Deng to clean our image internationally,” he said during a meeting with elders on Sunday.

(ST)

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