South Sudan new First Vice President Taban Deng Gai has dismissed remarks by his predecessor Riek Machar that his appointment in the unity government was illegal.
“He said, that the process which I have followed with my colleagues in the SPLM-IO by replacing him was illegal, and that there is an article in the agreement that we did not use, this is not true,”
Speaking to the media on his first day in office, Gai said he accepted the appointment in spirit of building unity between the warring factions so as to to end power struggles.
Gai also accused Machar of not being cooperative right from the days of their independent struggle and later breakway from Sudan. He said Machar was not a team builder.
“Riek Machar actually failed to build a team with John Garanga, He failed to make a team with Omar el-Bashir when we went for the Khartoum peace agreement, he failed to make a team with Salva Kiir Mayardit Twice” he said.
Gai said he has been standing with Machar in all his disagreements with but this time would not sell the much needed quest for peace by South Sudanese
“I stood with him during his quarrel with John Garang, I stood with him in 2013, I don’t want to allow the suffering of our people again, for the same reason(s)” a passionate Gai said.
In an exclusive phone interview with Aljazeera, Machar said: “I’m still the first vice president of the republic of South Sudan. The appointment made yesterday by President Salva Kiir is illegal.
“It has no basis because the peace agreement does not give him the powers to appoint a first vice president under the current circumstances.”
Machar fled the capital, Juba, more than two weeks ago and has been in hiding since fighting broke out between forces loyal to him and those of President Salva Kiir.
However, Gai’s appointment as a replacement Machar as brought deeper divisions in the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-In Opposition party which is currently torn into two factions; one loyal to him and another loyal to Machar.