The widow of the founder of the ruling party of South Sudan and recent contender for the chairmanship of the party has denied that there was ever any coup plot.
Rebecca Garang is among those accused of involvement in the alleged coup attempt in Juba. On orders of the president she has not yet been arrested.
From her house next to the presidential palace in the Amarat neighborhood of Juba she told BBC Africa that the President Kiir “created the situation where he can do what he’s doing now.”
“This is what they want because they want to continue the dictatorship,” she continued. “I’m not really safe, because the government claims I’m one of the people who is making a coup,” she added.
“But I don’t know how a civilian or a politician can make a coup? A coup is always being made by an army officer. But those people they have arrested were not army officers – we are politicians,” noted Garang.
“We were calling for democracy within our party. But this is what they want, because they want to continue with dictatorship.”
Spokesmen of the government including the president’s press secretary and information minister have described the recent conflict in the capital as stemming from a “foiled coup plot.”
They announced the names of ten senior politicians, most of them former ministers, accused of involvement in the ‘coup’. The development comes in the wake of meetings of the SPLM National Liberation Council last week and this past weekend, during which some key party officials walked out.
At least two governors, those of Upper Nile and Unity State, are present in Juba with the president. No current governors are accused of involvement in the alleged plot, but one former governor was among those arrested.
Pag’an Amum reportedly arrested
Garang pointed to the suspension and more recent removal of the SPLM Secretary-General Pag’an Amum as a sign of authoritarianism in the party.
“Pag’an Amun was suspended… and we have been calling for restructuring and democratization of the party, and our chairman has been resisting. That is why there is this problem,” she said.
She also stated that the SPLM former secretary-general was arrested: “Pag’an Amun was taken by National Security this morning.”
This development was not independently confirmed elsewhere, and on the government’s website on Tuesday afternoon he was listed as still at large.
Amum in remarks on Monday was defiant and harshly critical of the president.
For her part, Rebecca Garang has not been ordered arrested. “Even yesterday they want me arrested too but they think it will bring repercussions on them so they said: ‘Let her stay in the house, she will not go anywhere, we will get her.’
She added she that intermediaries had been gone between herself and the president, but no audience was arranged.
Audio: Listen to the full interview with Rebecca Garang here.
*Source Radio Tamazuj