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SPLM-IO splinter faction rejoins South Sudan’s ruling party

November 23, 2019 (JUBA) – A faction of South Sudan’s armed opposition movement (SPLM-IO) Gen. Gathoth Gatkuoth Hothnyang’s leadership has formally rejoined the country’s ruling party (SPLM) under President Salva Kiir.

Gen. Gathoth Gatkuoth Hothnyang meeting President Salva Kiir in Juba, November 22, 2019 (PPU)Gatkuoth made the declaration on Saturday after meeting with President Kiir at State House in the capital, Juba.

Speaking to reporters on Saturday, Gatkuoth said he and his group were warmly welcomed by President Kiir to the SPLM and are full members of the ruling party.

Gathuoth, was early this year, fired by a presidential order following a rift within the faction of the SPLM-IO under the leadership of the First Vice President Taban Deng Gai.

His sacking came after Gatkuoth called for the dissolution of their SPLM-IO’s faction without following proper procedures.

At the time, Gatkouth had also advocated for regional balance, proposing that a deputy president should be allocated to someone from another region instead of the Upper Nile region since Riek Machar and the nominee of the former detainees would come from the same region.

Gatkuoth’s proposal was, however, opposed by Gai who recommended his sacking from a ministerial post he held.

As such, Gatkuoth declared himself the interim chairman of the SPLM-IO faction in the government, arguing that Gai’s decision had caused confusion and uncertainty among the group’s supporters and military who ignored their fate within in the upcoming political set-up and arrangements.

Otim David Okot, the former Interim Secretary General of the SPLM-IO in Government said their faction under Gatkuoth did not agree with procedures that were taken by the First Vice President to dissolve and re-join the SPLM party.

Gai’s move, he said, prompted them not to rejoin SPLM back then.

Meanwhile, President Kiir on Friday appointed Gatkuoth as the new governor of Latjor state, replacing Elijah Liech Bany.

Gatkuoth appreciated Kiir for trusting him adding he would work hard for the development of the people of Latjor state.