SPLA-IO defends Machar as SSPDF remains coy on defection

The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO) denied allegations made by Lt Gen. Simon Maguek that the movement is thriving in nepotism, saying the accusations are groundless.

Speaking to The City Review on Monday, Puok Baluang, Acting Press Secretary in the office of the First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar, said the accusations made by Lt Gen. Maguek who led a defection to SPLM-IG, are fabricated and motivated by the urge to blemish the reputation of Machar.

“The accusations uttered by the defected Lt Gen. Simon Maguek are baseless and fabricated. And these allegations would only tarnish the image of H.E Dr. Riek Machar and the entire SPLM/A-IO,” Baluang said.

He said the defection of Lt. Gen. Maguek will not prevent the SPLM/A-IO from proceeding with the implementation of the peace agreement.

“It is surprising that his defection came after all he has been through in the SPLM/A-IO,” he said.

“We have remained with few days to the deployment of the unified forces. So, I would like to reiterate that his defection has no impact on the SPLM/A-IO,” he added.

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Baluang revealed that a group of religious leaders and SPLM/A-IO delegates were sent to Lt Gen. Maguek after he was disgruntled to solve the issue but he could not listen.

“When he declared his defection, there was an engagement in form of religious leaders and delegation from the SPLM/A-IO. Based on his defection, he defected because Hon. Angelina Teny was appointed as the Minister of Interior,” he stated.

“It was to mention that this position goes to women according to our arrangement at the SPLM/A-IO. Till then, it is stipulated that the party should respect the participation of youth and women. We have implemented that fully. We have nine ministers in the national ministries and three cabinets. And we have considered youth and women’s participation out of the nine positions in the national government,” he stressed.

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However, he said if Lt Gen. Maguek defected because Angelina Teny was selected by the SPLM/A-IO to fill the position of the Ministry of Interior, then his accusations are not genuine because the party considered was gender balance.

“There was no need for him to defect. What we did was gender representation because the position goes to women,” Baluang said.

The Spokesperson of SSPDF, Maj. Gen. Lul Ruai, said they saw the evolution of the defection of Gen. Maguek and his outfit on social media, noting that it would first need consultation from the chief defense forces.

“We have seen the development of their defection on social media when they received at the SPLM house by the leadership. And this will need a consultation with the chief of defense force. Any peaceful move taken by anybody to join the peace work is welcome,” Ruai said.

“Basically, the leadership of SPLA-IO has been here for four years and they have been participating in the government. So, the move was very courageous and commendable. As long as it is a peaceful move there is no problem, South Sudan will accommodate all of us,” he added.

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On October 8, 2023, Lt Gen. Simon Maguek and four other senior soldiers announced their defection from SPLM/A-Io to SPLM-IG. Maguek cited frustrations which had been compounded by the appointment of Angelina Teny as the minister of interior, which according to his allusion, was unfair.

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