News / Africa

Ranking S. Sudan Politician Joins Rebels

FILE - South Sudanese politician Ezekiel Gatkuoth (C) is seen standing in a courtroom in Juba, March 11, 2014.
FILE - South Sudanese politician Ezekiel Gatkuoth (C) is seen standing in a courtroom in Juba, March 11, 2014.
Marthe van der Wolf

One high-ranking member of the South Sudan ruling party, the SPLM, says he is joining the rebels who have been fighting the ruling party and President Salva Kiir since December.

The defector, Ezekiel Gatkuoth, is one of 11 former political detainees and the former ambassador for South Sudan to the United States and the United Nations.

He says he has decided to join the opposition under the leadership of former vice president Riek Machar to build a new South Sudan.

“The new beginning is a new South Sudan where I would want to see the war to stop and have a South Sudan free from ethnic politics and embrace all the critical reforms including institutionalization of a federal system. This South Sudan will only come if a new leadership emerges,” Gatkuoth said.

Eleven SPLM leaders were arrested after fighting broke out in December.  They were accused by Kiir of plotting a coup and were only released after international pressure.

Seven of the 11 were released in February.  These seven stated they would not join either side, and wanted to join ongoing peace talks in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa,  as a third party in order to be neutral.  The last four detainees were released in May.

Gatkuoth is the only one to join the opposition, but believes the 11 were never really neutral as they had raised issues of corruption, nepotism and other matters to Kiir before the war broke out. He says that all former detainees are championing reforms.

“My colleagues who are still in that category of former detainees, we are one and we will continue to be one.  We will work together to bring changes in our country, changes that we have been calling for, critical reforms," said Gatkuoth.

Peace talks between the warring parties have made little progress. Three agreements have been signed, including a cease-fire that has been repeatedly violated by both sides.

The two sides were given 60 days in June to set up a transitional government of unity.

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Comments
     
by: wang from: Gambella
July 02, 2014 2:40 AM
Baro,Baro Mr. Gatkuoth you are eye of all Nuer people.

by: Lisa from: Tx
July 01, 2014 8:54 AM
Please, Dr Riek be careful with the people who betrayed you before, some of them are pretending to come back you watch out, he once betried you. He called you names when you sign a peace deal with the late john garang. And now he is pretending to come back, i don't believe this guy he is after where his mouth is, he not what you think he is. He is just playing studip, Riek watch out he might have been send by kiir to kill you. Believe me, its just a show off, he is after money now that kiir can't feed him he is turning to the man whom he betried for many years, he called Dr riek a boy without a sign on his fore head, he did not know that riek is the leader of of the whole south Sudan. If it was Mr pagan, that would be the most important move for riek, which i know one day pagan, deng alor, and the rest of the splm who believe in peace and development. But not this fool, check him out you will believe me. Riek put him on spot he benefited under Dr riek, if it was not riek. he would have been working as a donkey in United state. He is a con man like James kok and the rest who disowned Dr riek.

by: Deng Taath from: Akobo,South Sudan
July 01, 2014 3:27 AM
Keep coming guy betraying Dr. machar will never help you as he was fighting for your release in jail for almost the whole of time in february till your he like your saviour you the former political detainees.
John Luk should just return back to juba if he may earn a place in mr kiir goverment
Those of pagan think that they are wise to neutralise them but now i dentified one by one.
we the mass will support you unless you leave the betrayal side to to Dr.Machar

Analyst in Akobo

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