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South Sudan Opposition Feuds as Ruling SPLM Meets

South Sudan President Salva Kiir, shown here delivering a speech last year in Juba, is hosting a meeting of the ruling SPLM party's political bureau. (AFP)
The secretary general of the main opposition party in South Sudan, the SPLM-DC, has resigned, accusing the exiled chairman of his party of stoking divisions.

SPLM-DC Secretary General Sisto Olur Erista said party chair, Lam Akol, has encouraged tribalism in the party.

Akol, who went into exile after South Sudan became independent in July 2011, saying he felt his life was in danger, denied the charges in a telephone interview with VOA News from the Middle East.

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As the SPLM-DC was riven by divisions, the ruling SPLM party's political bureau, the main decision-making body of the party, gathered for the first time since the country gained independence two years ago, to discuss changing the party's constitution and manifesto.

The last time the political bureau of the SPLM met was in April 2008, which was also the last time the party held elections.

SPLM Secretary General Pagan Amum told reporters before the closed-door politburo meeting that one thing to be discussed is how to help win over voters to the party.

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The three-day meeting of the SPLM politburo is being chaired by South Sudanese President Salva Kiir, and comes ahead of an extraordinary convention of the SPLM, which is scheduled to be held next week.
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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