President Kiir Officially Replaces First Vice President Machar with Taban Den Gai

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…Gai: I ‘ll Step down as soon as Machar returns

South Sudan President, Salva Kiir, official replaced First Vice President, Riek Machar, who refused to return to the capital after a 48-hour ultimatum issued by President Kiir expired.
In a Presidential decree read on State TV, SSBC, President Kiir relived Machar and officially named Taban Den Gai as the First Vice President in the transitional government of national unity.
Gen. Taban, Mining Minister and a former negotiator of SPLM/A-IO in the August peace deal brokered by IGAD-plus countries, emerged Friday after a faction of four opposition ministers nominated him as a replacement for Riek Machar, who said he would not return to the capital until a third force is deployed to the country.
A delegation of SPLA-IO presented the nomination to Kiir in Juba on Monday.
Gen. Taban’s group include four out of nine ministers. They are: Dhieu Mathok, Gen. Lado Gore and Ezekiel Gatkouth Lol. They are accused by Machar’s group of collaborating with the President Kiir in order to weaken the opposition. Five ministers are with Machar.
Gen Gai had said he would step down as soon as Machar returned in order to allow peace to reign. But Machar had dismissed him Thursday saying the SPLA-IO was intact and that“the illegal attempt by outsiders to claim it has been aborted.” His spokesman, James Gatdet Dak, said Machar had asked his commanders to cut all communications with Gai and his team.

South Sudanese opposition figure General Taban Deng Gai (L), at a meeting in Sudanese capital Khartoum on January 12, 2015. He has been appointed by an opposition faction to stand in for absent Riek Machar as first vice president.EBRAHIM HAMID/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

South Sudanese opposition figure General Taban Deng Gai (L), at a meeting in Sudanese capital Khartoum on January 12, 2015. He has been appointed by an opposition faction to stand in for absent Riek Machar as first vice president.EBRAHIM HAMID/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

“The SPLM-IO is for peace 100 percent, all the generals of the SPLM In Opposition, all the citizens, the population, they support peace and they want to continue with the implementation of the peace agreement.
“They also know me, that I can deliver. But I’m only filling a vacuum. If the man comes back, if Riek Machar comes back tomorrow, I will gladly step aside if that can bring peace to South Sudan.”
Officials maintain the decision was in line with the provision of Chapter 1, Article 6-4 which states that when the position of the First Vice President becomes vacant, the leadership of the SPLM-IO shall have right to nominate the replacement.
Mediators in the peace process led by former President of Botswana, Festus Mogae, said his team was not bothered about the change in the opposition leadership as it was pushing ahead with the implementation of the agreements.
“We are in South Sudan for the implementation of Agreement on Resolution to the Conflict in South Sudan and look forward to the return of peace. The change of leadership in opposition depends on their arrangement,” he said in a statement.

 

 

 

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