Gen. Gathoth Gatkuoth tells IGAD to forget him in HLRF.A senior South Sudanese former rebel officer, Maj. Gen. Gathoth Gatkuoth Hothyang, a man who has defected four times in the last four years has finally found where he belongs.
“My loyalty to the chairman and the C-in-C of the SPLM/A(IO), H.E. Gen. Taban Deng Gai is unwavering and unquestionable. The SPLM/A(IO) has one chairman and that is Gen. Taban Deng Gai” said Gen. Gathoth Gatkuoth Hothnyang in a statement extended to Nyamilepedia Press
Gen. Gathoth was responding to a report of pre-forum consultation of the IGAD’s High Level Revitalization Forum which calls on all stakeholders to provide position papers.
General Hoth is currently holding a ministerial portfolio as the Minister of Labour, Public Service and Human Resource Development, a position which comes as the highest designation he ever served in his political career and for that he is ever thankful to Gen. Taban Deng Gai, a man he once held as his sworn enemy.
When Gen. Gathoth defected from the SPLM/A(IO) in mid 2015, he scourged Gen. Taban Deng Gai through the international media accusing him of corruption, mismanagement of SPLM/A-IO resources and for interference in logistic which was assigned to him by Machar.
All that bitterness now is gone and Gen. Taban is the absolute decider on his behalf. Mr. Gatkuoth wants IGAD and the international community to be thoroughly educated on this new turn of events, however, no one knows exactly for how long the party will last.
“The International Community should be educated to know that the legitimate chairman of the SPLM/A(IO) is Gen. Taban Deng Gau, who is currently implementing ARCISS with H.E President Salva Kiir Mayardit to restore peace in the country. My unwavering loyalty is to these two leaders” Gathoth continued.
Responding to Gen. Gathoth on social media, his critics argue that if the International Community haven’t known and recognized Gen. Taban since he overthrew a main peace partner, Dr. Riek Machar more than one year ago, then it’s likely that Gen. Taban will never be accepted as legitimate replacement of Dr. Machar.
On the other hand, IGAD approached Gen. Gathoth and other dissidents groups as possible stakeholders since they held such believes at some point within the last 4 years of South Sudan civil war but Gatkuoth has vividly clarify his position this time round.
“I’m not a stakeholder that has a separate Movement or a party apart from the SPLM/A(IO) under the chairmanship of Gen. Taban Deng Gai.” He said.
Like Brig. Gen. Lul Ruai Kong and other dissidents groups who returned to Juba, Gen. Gathoth once had his own rebel movement on papers when he landed at the Juba International Airport, and although he fought his colleagues, Gen. Peter Gatdet and Hon. Changson Lew Chang, tooth and nail to own their party’s legitimate name, logo, stamps and letter head all that hard work has found its place in the garbage bin.
The dissident groups have given up their parties in Juba and all the political returnees are now loyal to President Kiir, who has given them temporary positions in his government; however, Gen. Taban Deng Gai opts to claim ownership of the SPLM/A(IO) to attract supporters from the SPLM/A under the leadership of Dr. Riek Machar Teny.
Like Gen. Gathoth Gatkuoth, Gen. Taban has refused to be consulted separately by IGAD as a separate stakeholder claiming that his loyalty is in the defunct Transitional Government of National Unity headed by president Salva Kiir.
This new development is likely to streamline the revitalization of the peace process to the original signatories of the Agreement of Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan(ARCISS) and again focus attentions to President Kiir and his former deputy, Dr. Riek Machar.