The SPLM chairman, President Salva Kiir has told Taban Deng Gai’s group to organize themselves first before they are allowed to rejoin the ruling party.
The President made the remarks during the SPLM top leadership retreat in Lobonok County, Jubek state, over the weekend.
During the retreat, Kiir told the participants that Taban Deng has been asking him when he is going to appoint them to the ruling party’s political bureau.
“My colleague Taban and his other comrades have been asking when am I going to appoint them into the SPLM PB so that they are considered as full members? I have not been answering them until the day before our departure to come to Lobonok here.”
He said that he has informed Taban’s group through Ezekiel Lol that they need to organize themselves before they seek for readmission to the SPLM.
“I told Ezekiel that, Ezekiel you did not do your homework in your house before Gen Taban declared the dissolution of the IO. We were expecting that you (Taban’s group) would come and sit alone in your PB to approve the dissolution of your party and declare you are joining the SPLM.”
After the outbreak of the renewed conflict in Juba 2 years ago, some members of SPLM-IO decided to remain in Juba to work with Kiir.
As a result, the president made Taban Deng Gai the first vice president, a position Dr. Riek Machar left.
The IO members who remained behind were then collectively categorized as IO Taban.
But in a statement dated May 7, the First Vice President announced the dissolution of the SPLM-IO Taban structure and chapters under his leadership, assuming that they had officially joined the ruling party.
Taban Deng Gai indicated that the dissolution of his group is in line with the SPLM reunification as stipulated in the 2015 Arusha Agreement.
However, in the Lobonok meeting, President Kiir said they should write to the chairman, stating their interest to join the ruling party.
“You (Taban’s group) write to the Chairman of the SPLM, who is me, that we are now coming to join you, then I will put it in front of my PB.”
Thereafter, he would table the matter before the political Bureau meeting whereby the senior party members will make the decision.
When contacted by Eye Radio, the IO Taban secretary-general – Dr. Dhieu Mathok – declined to talk about the issue.