Minnesota, United States, April 26, 2014 – Members of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in the U.S. state of Minnesota have declared their support to the SPLM-in Opposition (SPLM-O) which is now under the leadership of former South Sudanese Vice president Dr. Riek Machar Teny-Dhurgon.
The members of the SPLM-O blasted President Kiir of the SPLM saying he was “intolerant and hostile” which is not acceptable under any democratic system. They also warned that their defection will further jeopardize the unity of the SPLM in the United States.
In a press release signed by the Chairman of the SPLM-O (Gondar Timothy Tutlam), Chairman of Public Relations (Simon Lul Gatkuoth), and the Chairman of the Mobilization Team (Gatluak Chuol), the members made a statement. They asserted that nearly all members of the SPLM in Minnesota have joined the SPLM-O with exception of individual family members of President Salva Kiir and VP James Wani Igga.
The statement read in part: “We the largest populations of patriotic South Sudan diaspora that inhabit Midwest in the State of Minnesota, United States, the members of the SLPM Chapter in Minnesota, would like to inform the general public that we changed our alliance to the SPLM in Opposition under the leadership of Cde. Dr. Riek Machar Teny”.
The members also condemned the killing of innocent civilians and stated that Kiir abandons the country in pursuit of his own interests.
The statement goes on to say: “We condemn crimes committed against innocent civilians by government forces in Juba, Bor, Mapel, Upper Nile and Unity States. The president have obliterated the citizens hope and dream of building the new nation to accommodate the interests of our diverse communities in favor of his private interests to cling to power and marginalize other communities”.
The new leadership of Minnesota SPLM-O declared that they are fighting for a democratic system in the young nation of South Sudan and that their defection is the right thing to do.
The statement furthermore indicated: “Our stance is the way forward to achieve democracy, justice, liberty and equality in South Sudan”.
“[Kiir] administration has degenerated into a dictatorship, which is intolerant and hostile to divergent views”, they said.
In the statement, the new members of the SPLM-O also stated that Gatluak Puoch Kuornyuot, an executive member in the SPLM, the secretariat, and team leader of mobilization for the State of Minnesota had defected to the SPLM-O. He defected citing serious problems within the party’s structure.
The ruling SPLM party has experienced numerous defections in the United States after fighting broke out in Juba late last year.
In late March 2014, the SPLM Nebraska chapter which is the biggest in the United States impeached its Chairman. They also went on to endorse the party’s reforms, and joined the SPLM-O.
The State of Minnesota hosts one of the biggest South Sudanese Communities in the United States.