Taban Deng Gai’s Camp Disintegrating As Senior Officials Defect
Within the last two weeks, the camp which is made up of loosely allied politicians has suffered major defections while Taban undergoes medical treatment in Europe, according to insiders.
Among the recent defections is Maj. Gen. Khamis Abdelatif Chawul, an outspoken senior politician, who joins the opposition in January 2015.
Declaration his defection in Juba, Gen. Khamis accused Gen. Taban of being “the most tribalist Nuer politician” he has ever seen in his life.
Gen. Khamis accuses Taban of lacking a vision for the country and said he [Taban] is being used to implement government’s programs.
The former negotiator of SPLM/A-IO, Taban Deng Gai, controversially replaced Dr. Machar as the First Vice President in July 2016 and went on to appoint his own officials, mostly from his Nuer community.
According to critics, Taban’s appointments were strategically chosen to lure majority of Nuer tribe to Juba to support Salva Kiir’s government and to isolate Dr. Riek Machar Teny among the Nuer tribe; however, only a handful politicians and less than 1% of military generals accepted Machar’s forceful replacement.
Since July 2016, vast majority of SPLM/A-IO advance team and supporters, who returned to Juba to implement the peace agreement, have sneaked out of the capital to weight war against the government.
Senior politicians like Lt. Gen. Gabriel Duop Lam have defected and rejoined the SPLM/A-IO.
Taban Group Regrets Gen. Khamis’ Defection
Responding to Gen. Khamis’ defection, SPLM/A-Taban camp regrets such a decision but said it’s okay he can defect to join whatever political camp he wishes as long as such decision will not fuel the conflict.
“We regret the resignation of Gen. Khamis Abdelatif Chawul from the SPLM/A-IO. Khamis was a committed member of SPLM/A-IO. However, as a politician he has a right to decide on the current political matters that are facing the country as long as his action don’t involve violence” Said Dr. Dhieu Mathok Ding, the Secretary of SPLM/A-Taban defection.
Dhieu went on to assures Gen. Khamis that their group is still committed to work with Salva Kiir government to implement the peace agreement.
Khamis would be the third highest politician to have defected from the camp within the last two weeks following defection of Lt. Gen. Gabriel Duop and recently speculated defection of Lt. Gen. Alfred Lado Gore.