INTERVIEW: ‘I have not resigned from SPLM-IO’ – Mabior Garang

Mabior Garang de Mabior, head of the SPLM-IO Committee for Information, has dismissed as untrue reports that he defected from the party led by First Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar

Mr. Mabior, eldest son of late John Garang de Mabior, founder of the South Sudanese ruling party, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), spoke to Radio Tamazuj on Tuesday to deny the widespread rumours.

Following are edited excerpts from the conversation:

Q: Radio Tamazuj has heard that you have resigned from the SPLM-IO and would like to confirm this from you. Have you quit?

A: I have created a website. The question I always ask anyone who says I have resigned from IO is if they found that information on my website. You will find any information linked to me on www.mabiorgarangspeaks.com. Everything which has to do with Mabior Garang is released through there because many people manufacture fake news. I remember recently fake news was circulated that the SPLM-IO Chief of Staff has resigned. Even before that many fake letters were released claiming Dr. Riek has done this or that.

So I decided to create the website. So if that information is not on the website, then it is fake. So the rumour circulating on social media is not true. It will not be a new thing for someone to resign, but if it is true it will be on my website.

Q: Since you resigned from the interior ministry docket we have not heard from you. You used to talk about the coronavirus and security issues, where do you stand now?

A: I am residing at my home in Kenya and not in South Sudan. And there are problems within the country and even manoeuvrings within the SPLM-IO. Some people feel that when we inform the citizens that we are creating problems. If anyone wants to tell the people the situation we are in, they say this person wants to create problems. This has made me keep quiet. They can make propaganda and say we who are telling the truth are anti-peace. So this made us keep quiet until the people of South Sudan see that nothing is moving.

Q: Is it prudent for you as a politician to keep quiet? According to you, how is the implementation of the peace agreement moving?

A: I continue to keep informing the public through my website. If I have an opinion or a Public Service Announcement you will find them on my website. For example, when the UN said they were going to withdraw their soldiers from guarding Protection of Civilian sites, there was no statement from IO or the other parties in Juba. But I put out a statement as an individual. The parties make decisions as a group so I cannot impose my opinion on the majority. So I continue to push my opinions as an individual and not the movement. These are internal crises for us as SPLM-IO. This is like on the 6th December 2013 in Juba when people like our leader Dr. Riek said there was a leadership crisis in the SPLM then. This is the same situation facing us now in the leadership of IO. Some decisions are not clear and there are manoeuvrings. Some people have formed cliques.

Q: Won’t these internal problems lead to splits and problems in the IO in the future?

A: These are internal problems and they happen in any party. IO was also formed because of a split in the historical SPLM. Even Taban Deng Gai defected to the government. These are normal things in politics. We will discuss our leadership issues and address them inside the party. Even if people disagree, they have a right to form another party. What we don’t want is a relapse to war.

Q: So when will you have the meeting to sort out these internal problems?

A: This is something we are trying to push our chairman to convene. As you know our Chief of Staff, Gatwech Dual, wrote to IGAD to allow our chairman to go and meet our forces and explain what is happening because they do not understand what is going on. Even some of us as politicians are not understanding what is going on in Juba. So we also want to write to our chairman to see through IGAD if our leadership can go to any of the neighbouring countries like Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, or Uganda and hold a meeting to determine the future of the party.

Q: If you as political leaders claim not to know what is happening in Juba, what will the common people say? What would you tell the common citizen?

A: Well, since July they have been saying there is a unified army that is supposed to be passed out. Up to now, this has not happened. So I cannot say clearly to the people what is happening.

Q: What do you want to tell your detractors who claim you have resigned from IO or that you are anti-peace?

A: As I said earlier, the public can get all factual information on my website. Many people do not want peace. And these are not only from the camp of President Salva Kiir. Some people in his camp do not want peace and there are people in IO, G-10, and SSOA who also do not want peace. The citizens of South Sudan should open their eyes and see who does not want peace. Not everyone saying on the television that peace has come is genuine. Let them watch all the parties and sides because there are people on all sides who want peace and others who do not want peace.

Q: Are you still the Chairman of the SPLM-IO Information Committee?

A: Yes, I am in charge of the information committee. I want the citizens of South Sudan to know that what made me to go quiet was the crisis within our leadership that I talked about. Some people formed themselves into groups and when you speak officially they say you are anti-peace.

Source: Radio Tamazuj