The leadership of the South Sudanese faction of the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) loyal to President Salva Kiir has extended invitation to the leaders of the rival factions, asking them to participate in the upcoming extraordinary convention scheduled to take place tomorrow, January 7.
Bol Makueng, deputy minister of education and head of information, culture and communications at the national secretariat of SPLM announced that the leadership had approved the invitation and participation of Riek Machar, leader of armed opposition Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO) and Pagan Amum, head of the former political detainees at the upcoming national convention.
“An invitation was extended to the leader of the SPLM-IO, Dr Riek Machar, and SPLM secretary general Pagan Amum,” Makueng told reporters on Tuesday.
Other senior members who were dismissed and reinstated in compliance with the reunification agreement which the SPLM factions signed in the Tanzanian town of Arusha last year have been invited to attend the second party convention.
It remains unclear whether the two leaders, Machar and Amum, both of whom are out of Juba, where the convention is slated to be held, will participate in the meeting in which they are not constitutionally expected to be represented.
Machar’s leading officials, including the secretary general of the movement, Dhieu Mathok Diing Wol and General Taban Deng Gai, chief negotiator of the group, are in Juba and it is not clear whether they will attend in their individual capacities and not in their official capacities as members of the opposition.
Stephen Par Kuol, a member of the advance team of the opposition said his group would not participate because they did not take part in the preparation and that holding convention was not the priority.
The factions, according to the Arusha agreement, were supposed to work out details on the reunification process including endorsement of the party’s basic documents such as constitution, manifesto, rule and regulations and code of conduct.
The government’s party faction however decided to unilaterally call for the party convention.