Voice of America (Washington, DC)

South Sudan: Lawmaker Flees to Kenya, Joins Opposition

Photo: Al Jazeera English
Salva Kiir, president

A South Sudanese member of parliament has fled to Kenya and joined the opposition led by former vice president Riek Machar, saying his life was in danger in South Sudan.

"I was very insecure in my hometown of Mundri," Richard Mulla, the lawmaker for Western Equatoria state, told South Sudan in Focus in a telephone interview from Nairobi.

"On May 6 this year, there were attempts to make me disappear by the security organs of the government, so I had to run for my life," said Mulla.

He feared he would have been killed or lynched had he stayed in South Sudan.

The lawmaker said he knows of no reason why he was allegedly targeted by the authorities in Juba. But As an independent member of parliament with no affiliation to the ruling Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), Mulla said he has been a stern and consistent critic of the government of President Salva Kiir.

After fleeing to Nairobi, Mulla joined the opposition party led by Machar, saying it was the only way to remove what he called the increasingly dictatorial government of Mr. Kiir.

"I had to join (the opposition) because now I'm seeing that there is too much dictatorship in Juba. It has to be removed and the only way to do so is by joining the opposition," Mulla said.

"If my own life was in danger, how could I survive if I come and speak to parliament?" he said.

Mulla said between 10 and 15 other South Sudanese lawmakers have also fled to Nairobi. All of them are believed to have joined the opposition, he said.

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