The First Vice-President of South Sudan, H.E Taban Deng Gai, has reportedly applied for asylum in the United States under the grounds that he has reasonable fear for his life, his job and his livelihood.

He told the UN General Assembly that IGAD gave his job to the other SPLM-IO leader Riek Machar during the transitional period in the Revitalised Peace Agreement – and that is not cool!

“How can I go back to South Sudan and share the same government with Machar? I told President Kiir that I am not coming back, he is aware” Deng said.

The Crown Hotel-based controversial South Sudanese politician sees himself starting a new life in America, enjoying the comforts of cheap fuel in his car and the affordable spoils of air conditioning in the diplomatic condo. Deng said South Sudan will not be peaceful going forward “we will not experience peace as long as Machar and Kiir are under one roof, I mean have you ever seen a hyena and a goat sharing the same house?”

Saakam during their tourist visit to the United Nations headquarters in New York obtained a copy of Taban’s last speech to the UN General Assembly in which the First Vice President appeared to be struggling to pronounce English words as he delivered his speech. [Also see ‘Hire Nuer Translators or…’]

The deputy head of South Sudan’s Embassy in Washington Ambassador Gordon Buay confirmed Taban’s decision to apply for asylum “we thank the Americans for looking favourably on this request to grant asylum to him. You see, Taban Deng Gai cannot go back to Juba because we don’t want part two of the J1  fighting. I have ordered the new Ambassador Phillip Jada Natana to share his residency with the former First Vice President.”

Deng is the second South Sudanese politician who has applied for asylum in the United States. Former Governor of Western Equatoria Joseph Bakasoro applied for asylum in 2016, which was granted. Bakasoro later formed his political party the South Sudan National Movement for Change (SSNMC) from a good samaritan’s basement and who also offered to accommodate Bakasoro.

“If they refuse to give Taban asylum, we may look at closing our embassy in US and go back to South Sudan. The US gave a rebel asylum, why not Taban who has a legitimate fear for his life?” Buay said.

The South Sudanese diplomat warned “We are a government. We can decide what is good for us. I am waiting to see how US will treat Taban’s request for asylum. He even met President Donald Trump.” The Trump administration has controversially cut down the number of refugees entering and seeking asylum in the United States of America.

As Saakam goes to press we are awaiting for clarification from the US Department of Homeland Security, as usual Saakam will keep you posted.

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