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Machar's replacement illegal and a violation of peace deal - Spokesman

Machar's replacement illegal and a violation of peace deal - Spokesman

South Sudan

James Gatdet Dak, spokesperson of former South Sudan First Vice President, Riek Machar, has described the decision by President Salva Kiir to dismiss his peace partner and appoint a replacement as an illegal act and one that violates the peace deal both parties signed last August.

Gatdet Dak told the Sudan Tribune on Monday that the action of Kiir was a long expected conspiracy which Machar mistakenly thought would be shelved in the interest of peace in Africa’s youngest country.

“This illegal action by President Salva Kiir to dismiss his peace partner, Dr. Riek Machar, who chairs the SPLM (IO) party and commands its army, the SPLA (IO), does not only violate the August 2015 peace agreement, but is also a long time planned conspiracy to put the last nail on the coffin of the peace agreement itself,” he said.

This illegal action by President Salva Kiir to dismiss his peace partner, Dr. Riek Machar, who chairs the SPLM (IO) party and commands its army, the SPLA (IO), does not only violate the August 2015 peace agreement, but is also a long time planned conspiracy .

According to him, the Machar camp had long sensed the plan in February 2016 when he (Machar) was still in Pagak, his headquarters before returning to Juba in April, adding that President Kiir with a tribal group from his ethnic Dinka, had designed the current plot to destroy the peace deal using Taban Deng Gai – Machar’s replacement and former Mines Minister.

President Kiir on Monday officially replaced his former First Vice President who left the capital Juba in the wake of heated combat between his troops and those of the president. His spokesperson is reported to have said Machar was not returning to the bush or preparing to restart a war. He however admitted that with the current turn of events, the peace agreement was in ‘‘very serious danger.’‘

Dak also noted that the newly appointed First Vice President does not command the opposition army, adding that they disliked him and wanted him removed long time ago, but Machar failed to act. He also said over 95% of the political leadership of the SPLM-IO are with Machar.

The opposition’s spokesperson further emphasized that President Kiir was aware of the fact that Gai was never popular in the SPLM-IO political and military establishments, but liked his unpopularity so that the peace agreement can die.