Senior opposition leader rejoins S. Sudan’s ruling party 

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September 11, 2014 (JUBA) – Members of South Sudan’s ruling party (SPLM) received a former senior opposition figure at the party’s headquarters in the capital, Juba, on Thursday, in a move officials claim reflects the growing influence of the former rebel movement.

Michael Mayom Bol (pictured), who is the former deputy chairman of the South Sudan Democratic Forum (SSDF), said he had decided to rejoin the SPLM due to the vibrant leadership shown by he party.

“You have to join a party that has the strong leadership and vision for the country,” said Bol while speaking to reporters at the SPLM secretariat.

Bol said he abandoned SSDF, which is without a single elected lawmaker to the national parliament, to work towards the country’s development.

“When we are united we can develop our country,” he said, flanked by Antipas Nyok, the SPLM secretary for mobilisation and orientation, and Martin Majut Yak, secretary for syndicate organisation.

WORK FOR THE PARTY

Bol declined to comment on how many other SSDF members would be defecting with him to the SPLM, however about 20 youthful supporters, who had gathered at the news conference to cheers his reception on Thursday.

Meanwhile, SPLM leaders say the party’s door is always open to new members.

“Anytime is appropriate to join the SPLM,” said Nyok, adding “You don’t join because there is something to get. You join the party to work for it.”

The SPLM itself has been hit with a number of high profile defections since conflict erupted in the country in mid-December last year following a political dispute within the party.

POWER STRUGGLE?

Analysts blame the crisis on an internal power struggle between the SPLM leadership and former vice-president Riek Machar, who was sacked last July by the president and now heads a rebel faction fighting against the government.

However, Majut said dismissed suggestions of a power struggle, saying “True SPLM leaders don’t fight for power”, adding that opposition parties in the country are well-organised to compete with the SPLM.

“We don’t want a one-party system in the country. That is not our intention as [the] SPLM,” said Majut.

“We are a multi-party system, but that multi-party system must be effective [and] must work for the interests of this country,” he added.

Source: Sudan Tribune

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