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South Sudan Lawmaker Flees to Kenya, Joins Opposition


The administration of President Salva Kiir has become increasingly dictatorial, charges Richard Mulla, an independent member of South Sudan's parliament. Mr. Kiir is shown here in a 2013 news conference.

A South Sudanese member of parliament has fled to Kenya and joined the opposition led by former vice president Riek Machar, saying his life was in danger in South Sudan.

"I was very insecure in my hometown of Mundri," Richard Mulla, the lawmaker for Western Equatoria state, told South Sudan in Focus in a telephone interview from Nairobi.

"On May 6 this year, there were attempts to make me disappear by the security organs of the government, so I had to run for my life," said Mulla.

He feared he would have been killed or lynched had he stayed in South Sudan.

The lawmaker said he knows of no reason why he was allegedly targeted by the authorities in Juba. But As an independent member of parliament with no affiliation to the ruling Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), Mulla said he has been a stern and consistent critic of the government of President Salva Kiir.

After fleeing to Nairobi, Mulla joined the opposition party led by Machar, saying it was the only way to remove what he called the increasingly dictatorial government of Mr. Kiir.

"I had to join (the opposition) because now I'm seeing that there is too much dictatorship in Juba. It has to be removed and the only way to do so is by joining the opposition," Mulla said.

"If my own life was in danger, how could I survive if I come and speak to parliament?" he said.

Mulla said between 10 and 15 other South Sudanese lawmakers have also fled to Nairobi. All of them are believed to have joined the opposition, he said.
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    John Tanza

    John Tanza works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters and is the managing editor and host of the  South Sudan In Focus radio program.
     
    Before joining VOA, John worked in Nairobi, Kenya where he established the first independent radio station (Sudan Radio Service) for the people of Sudan. He has covered several civil wars both in Sudan and South Sudan and has been engaged in the production of civic education materials for creating awareness about post conflict issues facing Sudanese and South Sudanese. John has interviewed South Sudan President Salva Kiir, former Vice President Riek Machar, Vice President Wani Igga, leader of Sudan’s Umma Party Sadiq Al Mahdi in addition to other senior United Nations and U.S government officials in South Sudan and Washington. His travels have taken him across to Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Egypt, Ethiopia, Syria, DRC Congo and parts East Africa where he reported on the South Sudanese diaspora and the challenges facing them.
     
    A South Sudanese national, John enjoys listening to music from all over the world, reads academic books, watches documentaries and listens to various radio stations on the internet.  You can follow John on Twitter at @Abusukon

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