August 3, 2016 (JUBA) – The recent replacement of some South Sudan’s national ministers and members of the transitional national legislative assembly is “illegal”, says the armed opposition faction of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM-IO) under the leadership of former First Vice President, Riek Machar.
They said the action was furthering the violation of the August 2015 peace agreement signed between President Kiir and Machar, the leader of the SPLM-IO.
“President Salva Kiir has no power in the peace agreement to singlehandedly replace and appoint SPLM-IO’s national ministers. He also has no power to replace and appoint members of the Transitional National Legislative Assembly who are members of the SPLM-IO. He would only act upon a recommendation given to him by the legitimate leader of the SPLM-IO, Dr. Riek Machar, who is also the First Vice President,” said James Gatdet Dak, Machar’s spokesperson.
“The action is illegal. This is the continuation of the same illegal process which self-appointed Honourable Taban Deng Gai as First Vice President. This short-lived illegal process will however be corrected soon,” he further told Sudan Tribune on Wednesday.
Dak was reacting to the Wednesday’s announcement of new list of names of national ministers belonging to the SPLM-IO in which President Kiir dismissed four national ministers and replaced them with new faces.
President Kiir in another decree reconstituted the 50 membership of the SPLM-IO’s additional members to the parliament by replacing some, appointing new faces and reappointing some members previously nominated by Machar to the legislative body in Juba.
The opposition leader’s spokesperson added that Machar is still the legitimate First Vice President, as his “temporary” absence from Juba imposed by attack on his residence did not warrant appointment of a replacement per the Article 6.5 of the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (ARCISS).
However, Dak said the peace deal was collapsing as President Kiir’s forces have continued attacking Machar’s forces to try to hunt him down around Juba.
He said the opposition faction may soon be forced to march on Juba to stop the “lawlessness” and dismantle the source of the “orders to attack” to restore peace and stability in the heart of the city and beyond.