Defection fever takes over

Defection fever takes over
SSOMA leader Paul Malong and President Salva Kiir in a past event. Their parties have received defectors from other political factions. [Photo: Courtesy]

As the revitalised government started took shape last year, several defections which have been viewed as sarcastic and a threat to peace, picked up within parties to agreement with SPLM-IG and IO taking the lead.

And as it appears, constant warning from the stakeholders of the peace agreement such as IGAD and RJMEC has often been shrugged off.

The latest incidents involve the secretary of political affairs and SPLM national secretariat, Santo Malek Anai, who received 12 members who defected from South Sudan United Front/Army SSUF/A. He sarcastically said the defectors will support peace implementation in the country.

“It will be a surprise to others… what happened [was that] these people responded to a peace call by President Kiir [and] that is why they are here coming back home to join peace implementation.

“They were all senior members and those who have come now are 12….there are other officers about 1000, [who] are on the way. They will declare themselves in a matter of time,” Anai explained.

He said the defection of the officials would add value to peace-building and consequently contribute to the quest to silence the guns to stop rampant suffering of the common citizens in the country.

“They have taken a very important decision in the right time. This is the time we need the guns to be silenced. They have also responded to the peace process of Rome that is why they are here and will not affect even the process of peace going on in Naivasha with comrade Paul Malong and Pagan Amum. It is the biggest part of peace implementation,” Mr. Anai asserted.

The Spokesperson of the SSUF/A Nyamach Nyang Chol stated that they have returned to the country to join peace building.

“We stand here today in our motherland, South Sudan, after three years in exile since we left our families colleagues, friends and abandoned our jobs and institutions and join hands with like-minded individuals; and organizations, movement and alliances who we thought will bring us changes we need in our system,” Chol said.

She said frustrations and lack of trust made them leave the country. She revealed that they had resigned from South Sudan United Front and joined the government to attain lasting peace adding charity begins at home.

‘Back home’

Chol said their team is ready to participate and be part of the unity government and work to build peace.

‘‘Our group [members] have today resigned from SSUF/A, and declared to join the government together with a thousand plus forces. We are now back home to be part of the nation building and implement peace to its fullest potential,” she said.

The leader urged the youth to refrain from rebellion arguing that the vice destroys talents and could make them redundant and waste time.

Speaking upon arrival at Juba International Airport on Tuesday last week Ms. Chol ruled out development as a major factor to move the country forward.

The spokesperson however called on South Sudanese in diaspora to return to the country in order to contribute to nation building given their expertise they obtained.

Janyan Gadieth, the deputy head of the delegation, said a nation never been built by setting up constant rebellion.

“It is true that people may rebel in and out but there are those who learn a lesson and come back with intention of reuniting brothers and sisters back home. We have realised that we cannot build a country by rebelling in and out. A brother to brother solution is what we have come for, “Gadieth reiterated.

Another defection

In another account, General Stephen Buoy declared in a press release circulated on May 3, 2021, that he would support  Gen Paul Malong’s party, citing barbaric attacks on the cattle camp of a spiritual leader, Gai Machiek Ruathdheal, in his home town of Mayom County in Unity State.

Buoy linked the attack to the brother of a senior government official whom he said had conducted the activity with no clear noble intentions.

He further alleged in the letter that the presidential palace in the country had been captured by the former elements of the congress party led by a highly ranked government official who served in the government of former Sudan before the independence. 

Buoy also claimed in the letter that Revitalized Peace Agreement was “dead” adding that the implementation of peace accord had been stalled by a group of individuals in the government.

Shortly after announcing his defection, and joining the South Sudan United Front led by Paul Malong, the holdout group leader reinstated Stephen Buoy to a position of Lieutenant General within his party.

Stephen Buoy was stripped off his rank and dismissed from service in 2019 in a court trial when he was a Major General with South Sudan People Defense Forces and accused of trying to stage a rebellion.

Last week, Minister of Defence and Veteran Affairs Angelina Teny lamented the shift in political allegiances by high-profile politicians arguing the move could jeordise efforts of maintaining peace and stability.

She wondered how changing camps would build the course of having a unified army under one command.

‘‘The Commander –in- Chief is one who is President Salva Kiir, and the command is only this one on which we depend on, and now where do you want to run and for what?’’ she emphatically posed.

‘‘Worse thing with defection is that they [defectors] go and launch an attack and displace people and they [are not] respecting some of the provisions in the peace accord,’’ she added.