Mabior disowns Kit-Gwang faction

Mabior disowns Kit-Gwang faction
Mabior Garang de Mabior (2nd left) exchange formal greetings with Press Secretary Ateny Wek Ateny (2nd right). [Photo Credit: Presidential Press]

The former Minister of Water and Irrigation Capt. Mabior Garang has denied joining the Kit-Gwang faction led by the former army chief of Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition (SPLA-IO) Gen. Simon Gatwech Dual.

Mabior who is the son of the late John Garang de Mabior issued a clarification to the media yesterday saying he supported the August 2021 declaration in Magenis because his membership together with his colleagues in the SPLM-IO Political Bureau was expunged.

“Kit-Gwang is a [name of] a village in Upper Nile and it is not an organisation, the organisation is the SPLM/A-IO and I was formally a member of the SPLM/A-IO and the manner in which the SPLM/A-IO came to Juba caused the split. There was a silent split in the SPLM/A-IO that was moving until the Kit-Gwang declaration made the split public,” He said as he addressed the media at Juba International Airport. 

 “The Kit-Gwang declaration deposed Dr Riek Machar and deposed the political bureau of the SPLM-IO [as well as] the national liberation council. So we, the board of trustee members of the National Conversation South Sudan (NCSS) then decided to issue a statement supporting the principle of that declaration. [This] means that we have supported our deposition- our being deposed as members of the political bureau,” Mabior added. 

Capt. Mabior, the Chairperson of NCSS, a non-political humanitarian organization, jetted in Juba over the weekend to respond to President Salva Kiir’s invitation. He was addressing the media on his departure to Nairobi yesterday.

He revealed that their role as NCSS is to mediate the conflict.

Blame game

However, media reports claimed that some members of the Kit-Gwang group had accused Capt. Mabior of conspiracy to unilaterally yield to President Kiir’s call to come to Juba, adding that he was shifting allegiance to SPLM– IG.

 “Yes, the movement under H.E 1st-Lt. Gen. Simon Gatwech Dual is aware that Mabior Garang de Mabior has decided to return to Juba on his own decision. He was not authorised by the Chairperson and Commander in Chief of the SPLM/SPLA (IO) to return, but he took the decision on his own and as such is no longer a member of the SPLM/A-IO anymore,” the Paradise quoted an SPLM/A-IO diplomat who preferred anonymity.

The diplomat added, “We wish Mabior all the best in his new political path. For us, we are still standing for the cause and we have raised our concerns regarding the future of the security arrangements in our meeting with the delegation of President Salva Kiir. We are waiting for them but we will not return to Juba until when all the arrangements ate in place for the security to be implemented.”

Capt. Mabior was categorical that, saying, “we are no longer members of SPLM/A-IO because we have been disposed of by the military.  We are coming in because there are disgruntled groups in the country who are trying to use the Kit-Gwang declaration to return the country into war.”

“So we are trying to play a role of peacemakers and also we are trying to make the former general [Simon Gatwech] understand that they are signatories to the agreement and there is no new organisation called Kit-Gwang.”

On August 3, Gen. Gatwech and his deputy Gen. Johnson Olony claimed the leadership of the SPLM/A-IO from the First Vice President, Dr Riek Machar, had neglected the implementation of security arrangements.

The move caused a split within the main opposition party to the revitalised peace agreement, resulting in the formation of the SPLA-IO Kit-Gwang faction which called for the implementation of Chapter Two of the security arrangement.

The move sparked concerns among regional and international peace granters who also have been calling on the coalition government to expedite the graduation and deployment of 83, 000 necessary unified forces provided for by the peace agreement.

Though talks between the government and Kit-Gwang leaders which began in October have been suspended due to Sudan’s political crisis, the Presidential Security Advisor, Tut Gatluak, said President Kiir wants the venue of the negotiations to be brought to Juba.

Though in August, Capt. Mabior who declined the position of a Deputy Minister of Interior in the Revitalised Transitional Government of National Unity said the Kit-Gwang declaration was not a call to return the country to war, but a genuine move toward security arrangement implementation.

“What we need is the implementation of the security arrangement for peace so that we can all go home and build our broken lives; the issue is not the leadership of Dr Riek Machar,” Garang told Education Podcast in an interview.

“The Kit-Gwang declaration is another chance for peace, real peace in South Sudan engine is in the implementation of the security arrangement the rest have nothing much,” he added.