News / Africa

South Sudan Lawmakers Tell Why They Defected to Rebels

A dozen South Sudanese lawmakers say they have quit the ruling SPLM and sided with opposition leader Riek Machar's (C) rebel movement.
A dozen South Sudanese lawmakers say they have quit the ruling SPLM and sided with opposition leader Riek Machar's (C) rebel movement.
Lucy Poni
More than a dozen members of South Sudan's ruling Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) have quit the party and sided with rebels led by Riek Machar, saying they can no longer work with a government that kills its own people, foments tribalism, and commits other ills.

“We decided to defect because we see we can no longer work with a government that is killing civilians," Gatluak Riek Jak, the member of parliament from Maiwut in Upper Nile state, told VOA News on Monday.

"Those are the people that elected us to parliament. If they are being killed there is no need for us to be working with the same government,” he said.

Kiir accused of interference

Ramadhan Laku, a member of parliament from Terekeka in Central Equatoria state, said Mr. Kiir has also interfered in the business of the parliament by appointing and dismissing key legislative personnel, including chairs of parliamentary committees and speakers.
It shows that the government is crumbling from within.
Laku also accused Mr. Kiir's administration of not providing sufficient security to communities in parts of South Sudan. He said conditions in Jonglei and Lakes states have been allowed to become insecure to the point that killings are commonplace in both states. The government has done nothing to restore order, he said.

Laku also said that, under Kiir, one tribe has been allowed to dominate political life in South Sudan. The other 35 or so have not been given a voice.

"We, as leaders, do not want these things to continue like this... All these things have not been implemented during Salva Kiir Mayardit’s term,” he said.

Other reasons cited by the lawmakers for defecting were corruption, poor governance and bad foreign relations.

'Indication the government is going to fall'

SPLM Acting Secretary General Ann Itto said she would not comment on the defections until she has confirmed them with the lawmakers in question.

Opposition spokesman Lul Ruai Koang welcomed the defectors to the side of the rebels and said he expects more lawmakers to follow in their footsteps.

“It shows that the authority of Salva Kiir is declining. It shows that the government is crumbling from within," Ruai said.

"It’s an indication that the government is going to fall. It's a matter of time..." he said.

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Comment Sorting
by: Kuch from: Bortown
June 10, 2014 5:22 PM
VOA has becomes a new SUDAN TRIBUNE these days?! Propaganda! Propaganda! The US has put its self in this sh*t against the people of South Sudan, hoping that its corporate picked buddy, Riek Machar, who had sold his soul to corporate America; thinking that the US will force him into South Sudanese throats as president of South Sudan!

Well, he has tried though, but South Sudan is not for sale anyway. The US has backed the wrong horse and it knows it and no amount of propaganda will wish away what the South Sudanese people these days think about the US and it really is;....a monster!

The US backed horse, Riek Machar will never rule South Sudan ever as we know it.

by: Michael G Jock Muong from: Khartoum
June 10, 2014 10:04 AM
I think this time onwards, if we realy trust God and the right of the citizens, we can stop telling lies and denying the facts while we are in the 6th month still innocence people are missing and murdered. What the government is doing is a intentional issue that doesn't need us to bushing around without addressing the core of the hidden secret behind which is now many realised it . The problems remain with neutral which has no side until today.

by: Jeffrey Ngueny Deng from: Akobo,South Sudan
June 10, 2014 5:44 AM
This is what makuei teach you no doubt for sure buckz you government is a sinking ship there are evidence of this defection the only people who defects are now in Nairobi what are tryin' to denied man

by: buckz makir from: juba
June 10, 2014 1:00 AM
no lawmakers in our house with such names ,you v o. a are making this false defection to make opposition grroup look bigger ,beside one of the alleged defecter is a nuer ,the second is mondari ,mondari clan is lost many in young fighter in the previous battels with nuer ( wihte army) ,in terkeka and jamez, mangala, how can he side with murderer of his people ,out of logic! , i know you americans are making this and promoting for such illusion victory to southner that the government is to fall and be replaced with new one that will give our oil and the new contract to you ,instead of china

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