South Sudan President Salva Kiir Swears-in New Vice President Taban Deng as Opposition tears apart

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South Sudan has sworn in its new vice-president Taban Deng Gai who replaces Dr. Riek Machar in the Transitional Government of National Unity.

His swearing in comes a day after the country’s President Salva Kiir issued a decree relieving Machar of the position and replacing him with Deng.

Earlier, Kiir had issued a 48 hours ultimatum to his rival to return or risk being fired. Machar fled Juba following four days of fighting between his forces and those loyal to president Kiir which saw his residence bombed. Over 300 are reported dead and thousands displaced.

However, there is still riffraff in the opposition which is also now divided into two factions; one group loyal to Machar and another reportedly small group under the new Vice president Taban Deng Gai.

Machar’s faction accuse Deng of plotting against the opposition leader. Deng was the chief negotiator for the opposition during the peace deal that gave birth to the Transitional government of national Unity.

The deputy spokesperson of Machar said that the move is a violation of the peace agreement.

“Well our stand is very clear that we as the SPLM-IO leadership we don’t recognize the nomination of Taban Deng Gai as the first vice president,” Nyarji Germaleli Roman told Eye Radio.

“The whole procedure is totally illegal, and according to the peace agreement, it is the first vice president to mandate the person who can act in his behalf, the whole process that took place in the hotel of Juba is a conspiracy between Taban Deng Gai and Ezikiel Lul and few members of the SPLA-IO.

For his part, the spokesperson of the faction under Deng, William Ezikiel dismissed the claim that the appointment of Gai is a conspiracy and a violation of the peace agreement.

“It was a wise decision by the SPLM in Opposition to replace Dr Riek Machar with Taban Deng Gai, in our convention, the meeting we held on Saturday this decision was taken by the SPLM top leadership, this is our internal decision and it is something internal,” he said, speaking to Eye Radio this morning.

The Peace Agreement says that in the event that the post of the First Vice President falls vacant during the Transitional Period, for any reason, the replacement shall be nominated by the top leadership body of the SPLM in Opposition.

It further says that in the event of temporary absence of the First Vice President, he may delegate a senior Minister of the IO to carry out functions and duties as stipulated in the agreement.

Deng says he will work with President Salva Kiir to address the issues of IDPs and humanitarian needs in the country.

Taban could be seen wiping away tears as he spoke after taking oath of according to Radio Eye. Meanwhile, president Salva Kiir assured the incoming deputy of his cooperation.

Credit: Radio Eye