Former South Sudanese Mines Minister, Taban Deng Gai who was sworn into office on Tuesday has promised to end the suffering of citizens who continue to live in internally displaced persons (IDP) camps.
“I love you all my people. I will struggle to bring you out from the suffering in the IDP camps. You don’t need to be there. You don’t deserve to displaced in you own country,” Gai said fighting back tears.
Until his nomination by a group of South Sudanese opposition officials, Taban Deng Gai served as the country’s Mines Minister.
I will struggle to bring you out from the suffering in the IDP camps. You don’t need to be there. You don’t deserve to displaced in you own country
Gai was however fired from the position by Reik Machar, the first vice president-at-large, a day before his nomination and was accused of ‘defecting’ to Kiir’s party.
“Today having taken a swearing in as the first vice president of the republic, I have never aspired for this position or even dreamed of it but the circumstances force us to fill a vacuum so that we save our nation,” Gai said after taking the oath of office.
President Salva Kiir confirmed Taban Deng Gai’s appointment on Monday following the vacancy created by Reik Machar who fled the capital after days of violence between his troops and those of president Kiir earlier this month left nearly 300 people dead.
Salva Kiir last week issued an ultimatum for his estranged first vice president to contact him within 48 hours and return to Juba to salvage the peace deal or face replacement, the Reuters new agency reported.
Kiir however said his appeals to Machar have fallen on deaf ears.
“I have been appealing to him to come back to Juba so that we continue with the implementation of the agreement. Of course this agreement cannot be personalized. That is as he is away the agreement will be held until when that person comes. That cannot happen.”
The South Sudanese leader also sought to make it clear to the international community that he was not involved in any plot to ‘remove’ Machar.
“Talk to everybody in the international community because some circles will take it that it is me in person in the SPLM SPLA who has really conspired for the removal of Dr. Riek Machar, it is not me. Those who would go and conspire, they will do it but not really from our side.”
Taban Deng Gai, who was the chief negotiator for Machar’s SPLM- in opposition group during the peace talks has broken ranks with the latter but still has the backing of some opposition members.
Machar has said he would only return to Juba after international troops have been deployed as a buffer force to separate his forces from the president’s.
The United Nations has meanwhile warned Salva Kiir that “any political appointments need to be consistent with the provisions outlined in the peace agreement” which ended the nearly two year civil war.
An August peace agreement states that the vice president must be chosen by the South Sudan Armed Opposition.