Kiir revokes James Kok’s parliamentary membership

Kiir revokes James Kok’s parliamentary membership
James Kok Ruea, former SPLM-IO R-TNLA MP (photo credit: Courtesy)

President Salva Kiir has revoked James Kok’s membership in the Reconstituted Transitional National Legislative Assembly (R-TNLA).

In a presidential decree read on the state-owned South Sudan Broadcasting Cooperation (SSBC) on Wednesday, Kiir revoked the membership of James Kok, who was appointed to the R-TNLA on the ticket of SPLM-IO.

Kok was replaced by Pei Nyawela Bol, who is a member of SPLM-IO from Jonglei State.

Mr Kok, who hails from Fangak County, Jonglei State, resigned from the SPLM-IO and joined the SPLM-IG under President Kiir last week.

In his address to the press when he declared his allegiance to the ruling party SPLM, Kok claimed that the main opposition party SPLM-IO had lost its vision to bring change to the country under the leadership of the First Vice President, Dr Riek Machar.

However, last week, the director of information in the office of the First Vice President, Puok Both Baluang, warned against the admission of defectors by parties implementing the agreement.

He said the continuous defection during the implementation of the agreement was an attempt to slow down the whole process.

Unfazed

Baluang told The City Review that his party was not surprised by James Kok’s defection from the party, arguing that his defection had no impact on the party’s effort to implement the peace agreement.

“We are not surprised by 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 said.

James Kok was the governor of the defunct Western Bieh State by President Salva Kiir when he dissolved the 10 states and created 28 in December 2015.

He served as the national Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management before defecting from the SPLM of President Kiir and joining the SPLM-IO this year.

Grounds of dismissal

According to South Sudan’s constitution, Article 63 stipulates that a member of parliament can be removed when he or she has mental infirmity or physical incapacitation.

The law also notes that dismissal can be done “if a person resigns in writing to the appropriate house, changes of political affiliation or party on whose behalf he or she was appointed to the national legislative assembly, assumption of any political office at a state or local government level, or if a person dies’’.

On Wednesday, the SPLA-IO military spokesperson, Col. Lam Paul Gabriel, claimed that those defecting from the party are bribed by the ruling SPLM party to join them because the SPLM-IO is unable to provide the defectors with what the SPLM offers them.

Col Lam blamed the continuous defections on the delay in implementing the peace agreement, emphasizing that it is sponsored and done on purpose to drag the agreement and weaken opposition political parties.

“We call it ‘‘sponsored defections’’ because you are promised money, you are promised a vehicle, you are promised resources, and then you say, “I am not getting money here, I am not receiving anything, so what do I do?” When you move to the other side, you are given the money and you complain that we don’t have the resources,” Col Lam said.

He claimed that vehicles were being given to the defectors instead of sponsoring the implementation of the chapters of the agreement, especially on the security arrangement that has been delayed due to a lack of resources.

“So the SPLA-IO condemns this act of sponsored defection and we are looking forward to seeing changes in the implementation of security arrangements.

‘‘We are also asking our peace partners to reconsider this move that is being done to jeopardise the peace agreement,” he said.

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