JUBA – A Geneva-based independent research group has said First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar Teny has less power to resist the domination of state institutions by President Salva Kiir Mayardit saying the defection of General Simon Gatwech Dual from the group in August has increased the weakness of the SPLM-IO in Juba.
In a research finding published this week, the Small Arms Survey said opposition ministers in the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (R-TGONU) have for a long time complained that they are being sidelined by President Salva Kiir Mayardit and that the defection of General Simon Gatwech Dual intensify this.
“While the SPLA-IO is formally part of the government, its ministers complain that all the substantive decisions about money and power are made behind closed doors by Kiir’s regime. The acute loss of military power that the split represents for Machar will only intensify these dynamics,” the Small Arms Survey said in a report tittle: SPLA-IO Split: What’s new in the SPLA-IO?
“The government’s position is that a splintered SPLA-IO is a weakened SPLA-IO; Machar is now even less able to resist the dominance of the government in Juba,” the report adds.
It says the split of the main armed opposition SPLA-IO in August has “led to further defections from the SPLA-IO to the government, following earlier defections of commanders such as James Koang, who abandoned the opposition for the SSPDF in March 2020 following the formation of the R-TGoNU.”
The report said while General Gatwech’s message of security arrangement is popular among the Nuer in both sides of the Nile, joining the government would robe Gen. Gatwech of the popularity he currently enjoys among the Nuer.
“Gatwech staked the Kitgwang Declaration on a critique of Machar’s self-interested abandonment of the Nuer people for a seat in government. Joining the government forces would rob Gatwech of the credibility and popularity that he currently has among his supporters,” the report says.
“For Olony, who sided with the government once before, the situation is more complicated, but he would need to be offered an adequate position by Kiir’s regime, and anything short of the governorship of Upper Nile would render his defection a personal defeat,” it adds.
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