South Sudan

Observers: South Sudan Opposition Free to Replace Machar

Generals Kiir and Taban at a function in Juba (Internet photo)

The Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) has clarified its stance on the SPLM/iO crisis, more about saying it was not opposed to any changes in the leadership of the armed opposition in South Sudan.

The comments come high on the heels of SPLA/IO’s statement this weekend that they had replaced Dr Riek Machar with General Taban Deng Gai as the country’s First Vice President.

The JMEC is responsible for monitoring and overseeing the implementation of the Agreement and the mandate and tasks of the Transitional Government of National Unity.

“As previously stated, visit this a change to the leadership depends on the Opposition itself and we are not here to speculate on such changes, ” JMEC said in a statement to ChimpReports on Sunday.

“We do not see any value in speculating when the people and friends of South Sudan are working hard to ensure a return to the implementation of the Peace Agreement.”

The JMEC is a crucial body whose reports shape the policy of the international community.

A successful ousting of the rebellious First Vice President would be a major political and military victory for President Salva Kiir.


Machar’s overthrow came just days after President Salva Kiir urged him to return to the Capital Juba after spending over a week in hiding following clashes of forces loyal to both politicians.

Gen Taban is a widely respected military officer in South Sudan, having fought side by side with Gen Kiir in the succession war against Sudan Khartoum.

Gen Taban was the chief negotiator representing Machar’s forces in the peace talks with Juba. He has previously condemned the violence in the country and affirmed his loyalty to President Salva Kiir.

Machar recently sacked Gen Taban for the perceived defection to Kiir’s side, an order that has been disregarded.

Machar’s spokesperson, James Gatdet Dak on Friday said Gen Taban had ceased being a member of the opposition.

“Dr. Riek Machar has dismissed Taban Deng Gai from the SPLM/SPLA (IO). He has also withdrawn and recalled him from Minister of Mining,” said Dak.

“Since Hon. Taban Deng Gai has defected from the SPLM/SPLA (IO) and has therefore been relieved by the Chairman and Commander-in-Chief of the SPLM/SPLA (IO) from his positions and membership of the party, all officials (senior and junior) of the SPLM/SPLA (IO) are hereby directed by the top leadership not to have official contacts or meetings with him with effect from July 22, 2016.”

Sources in Juba say Machar’s failure to return to Juba citing security reasons could lead to his political demise.


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