SPLA-IO: Defectors enticed by cars, money

SPLA-IO: Defectors enticed by cars, money
Lam Paul Gabriel, SPLA-IO Spokesperson (photo credit: credit)

The Spokesperson of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition (SPLA-IO) Col. Lam Paul Gabriel has claimed that irresistible freebies have been set aside to lure members of the movement hence triggering a series of defections.

Lam said the defections are engineered towards disorganising the movement to impede the implementation of the peace agreement.

He spoke bitterly, especially about the recent defection of Gen. Johnson Koul Gai and the declaration made by the Kit-Gwang group in August, where the faction denounced the leadership of the First Vice President, Dr Riek Machar. Apart from the feud with the Gen Simon Gatwech-led outfit, Col. Lam also spoke about the other senior military officers and members of the political bureau of the movement who shifted allegiance to other power axes.

“We are also aware that there has been a series of defections that have been happening within this period of time, beginning with the declaration of the Kit-Gwang group, and now we also have Gen. Johnson Koul Gai, who was also from us- a member of the JTSC, who also defected to the government,’’ he lamented.

He stressed that the defections were a result of delays in the implementation of the security arrangement, as he further claimed they were plotted deliberately with promises of gifts such as money and cars for those defecting.

“So this is intentional. We always call it that lack of resources here and there, but we know it is intentional; it is meant to disorganise the SPLA-IO so that the peace agreement can drag its feet.

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

“Now Koul Gai, I think he has a V8, even including honourable Kok. According to the information we got, he [is] having a good amount of money that has been received by the team they went with, ” he added.

He urged the parties to the agreement to consider the suffering South Sudanese and move the country forward.

More to be done

He emphasised that parties to the agreement should be blamed for the situation in the country caused by a lack of political will to deliver services to the people.

“We have voted for independence since 2011, and today is 2021. We only have ourselves to blame for this because we are still here. The level of education is down, so do we look at the challenges we face as a nation or are we looking at the challenges we face as a party,” he stressed.

Lam said the implementation of the peace agreement is not moving well, adding that the process has been largely stuck instead of moving forward.

He added that no one would be stopped from defecting, saying that at the end of it all, the unified forces would strictly be under one command.

“So technically, we can’t stop anyone from leaving IO and going the other side, but if you are going out of goodwill, then that is good, but if you are going because you just want to get money, then what is the use of liberation? What is the use of making this country? We want this country to move forward; nothing more, nothing less.”

”So for those who still want to move to the other side, we ask them to go as soon as possible. Even if we are going to be left with a few individuals, we are ready to stand and say this is wrong and move forward knowing that this is a very strong and committed team that wants reforms in this country,” Lam said.

He asked the peace partners to give room for the implementation by stopping defectors from crossing the floor.

“We are looking forward to changes in the implementation of security arrangements and we are also asking our peace partners to reconsider this move that is being done to jeopardize the peace agreement,” he urged peace partners.