SPLM-IO says James Kok’s defection engineered to ‘slow down’ peace process
South Sudan's main armed opposition Sudan People's Liberation Movement in Opposition led by First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar Teny has decried what it calls attempt to derail the implementation of the revitalized peace agreement, saying recent defection of James Kok Ruea to President Salva Kiir's SPLM was an attempt to slow down the peace process.
JUBA – South Sudan’s main armed opposition Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition led by First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar Teny has decried what it calls attempt to derail the implementation of the revitalized peace agreement, saying recent defection of James Kok Ruea to President Salva Kiir’s SPLM was an attempt to slow down the peace process.
Last week, James Kok Ruea surprised SPLM-IO supporters when he wrote a statement declaring his resignation from the Machar-led movement before declaring his allegiance to join the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement led by President Salva Kiir Mayardit, saying his people from Fangak County have suffered under Machar.
But the Press Secretary in the Office of the First Vice President and SPLM-IO Director of Information and Public Relations Puok Both Baluang said James Kok’s defection was an engineered strategy to derail the implementation of the revitalized peace agreement and decried mobilization from other parties to join the SPLM.
“All this process is an attempt to slow down the implementation of the peace agreement, but we are committed to implementing the agreement in letter and spirit,” Baluang said, according to the City Review.
“It’s very unfortunate now to recruit from another side to join and defect,” he added.
While saying the opposition politician turned SPLM-IO rival hasn’t raised any concerned during internal SPLM-IO meetings, Baluang said the group is not surprised about his decision to declare and switch his allegiance to the SPLM faction under Kiir saying he is known for defection.
“We are concerned that this departure happened in the time of peace instead of focusing on how to implement the agreement,” Baluang told the Juba-based City Review newspaper.
“We are not surprised with the defection of James Kok because this is not the first time. He is known for that; defecting here and there. We believe he has all rights to choose his side,” he added, before concluding: “He had not raised any concern internally that made him leave the party.”
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