Jonglei State, News

SPLM party official defects to opposition

By Manas James

A senior member of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) party has abandoned his position and joined the opposition SPLM-IO, citing corruption within the system.

Thomas Kuol Kulang who announced the defection on 15 August was acting party’s secretary-general for Ayod County in Jonglei State.

He told No. 1 Citizen Daily Newspaper that his decision to switch allegiance is expression of dissatisfaction over the way the affairs of the SPLM party were managed in Ayod County.

He accused Ayod County Commissioner, James Chuol Jiek who also doubles as the SPLM chairperson, of being corrupt.

“From April, I have been Acting Secretary-General of the SPLM Party Ayod County. However, on 15 August, I abandoned this position and joined SPLM (IO),” Kuol said.

“The reason for my defection is that there are political challenges impeding peace deal implementation in Ayod.”

He claimed that Commissioner Chuol Jiek had sold building materials meant for the construction of a school and arrested him when he questioned his action.

“The commissioner is also engaged in immoral practices. So, I cannot continue to be with SPLM because this party has failed to deal with the commissioner. When you disagree with Commissioner Chuol, he always goes on arresting you. He also arrested Gabriel Tot Kai on whose behavior I was acting until my defection,” he said.

But, Commissioner Chuol Jiek, dismissed Kuol Kulang’s narrative as fabrication, describing him as an opportunist.

“First of all, no one appointed Kuol Kulang as an acting secretary-general because he is known for crimes; Gabriel Tot is our SPLM SG for Ayod,” Chuol noted.

“It was while I was in Juba in April that Kuol Kulang himself sold building materials. Ask everyone else in Ayod, they will attest to this.”

The county commissioner accused his former confidant of framing up charges on him so that he would escape justice.

“I had him arrested for investigation. His village chief intervened and agreed that they would repay the sold materials,” he added.

For his part, Michael Bol, the secretary-general for SPLM-IO in Jonglei State, lauded the defection of the senior SPLM official to his party.

“Thomas Kuol Kulang, the secretary of the SPLM Party in Ayod County informed us of his defection to the people’s party, SPLM-IO, on 15 April. His defection is welcomed because it is an added asset to SPLM-IO. Defections by such senior officials mean our policies are attractive,” he said.

“Anyone else who understands the workings of politics would agree with me that the defection of a politician is within their rights. It is not a violation of any law. The 2018 peace deal only discourages the defection of soldiers,” the SPLM-IO official, said,



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