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South Sudan president officially replaces 'absent' first vice

South Sudan president officially replaces 'absent' first vice

South Sudan

South Sudan President, Salva Kiir, has officially relieved his first vice president Riek Machar of his post in the transitional government of national unity.

In the presidential decree read on the state-based TV, SSBC, President Kiir relieved Machar and appointed the Mines minister, Taban Deng Gai as first vice president in the interim government. With the appointment of Taban, the position of Minister of Mining is now vacant.

Gen Taban Deng is a former chief negotiator of the SPLM/A – IO in the August peace deal, which was being brokered by the IGAD-Plus countries.

Even though the move is seen as one that could potentially undermine last year’s peace deal and reignite war in Africa’s youngest nation, Kiir in the decree said the current decision is in line with the resolution of the leadership of SPLM-IO, to nominate Taban Deng, as first vice president. A delegation of SPLM-IO presented the nomination to Kiir on Monday in the capital, Juba.

A power sharing deal between President Kiir and Machar to end over two years of civil war broke down, as renewed fighting erupted in July 8 at the Presidential Palace compound.

Machar left Juba after the clashes which claimed over 300 lives and led to the fighters loyal to the former rebel leader fleeing the city.

Officials said this decision of the SPLM-IO is in accordance with the provision of the agreement, Chapter 1, Article 6 – 4, which states that when the position of the First Vice President falls vacant, the leadership of SPLM-IO shall have right to nominate somebody.