Taban Deng has been Plotting Against Machar Since February, SPLM-IO thought he can Change—Spokesperson

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South Sudan opposition under embattled ‘vice-president’ Riek Machar says they had detected the double standards of Mining Minister and now new vice president Taban Deng Gai for a long time.

South Sudan President Salva Kiir issued a decree relieving his rival Machar from vice presidency and appointed Mining Minister Taban Deng Gai as the new second in command.

Machar’s spokesperson James Gatdet said Deng’s underhand was seen in February 2016 when he threatened to takeover vice presidency when Machar was still at his base in Pagak.

He said President Kiir with the Jieng [Dinka] Council of Elders (JCE), a group of elites from the Dinka tribe who reportedly influence the president decisions, designed the plot to eliminate Machar from the peace deal using Deng even before Machar returned to Juba in April 2016.

“I had to cover up for Honorable Taban Deng Gai. I had to dismiss his suspected conspiracy as baseless in the media many times because I did not want him exposed. I thought he was going to change,” Gatdet was quoted by the Sudan Tribune.

He said President Kiir and JCE are implementing their “reservations” in the agreement using Deng and that the peace agreement is currently in “very serious danger.”

“This illegal action by President Salva Kiir to dismiss his peace partner, Dr. Riek Machar, who chairs the SPLM (IO) party and commands its army, the SPLA (IO), does not only violate the August 2015 peace agreement, but is also a long time planned conspiracy to put the last nail on the coffin of the peace agreement itself,” James Gatdet said

Gatdet said Deng does not command the opposition army, adding that they disliked him and wanted him removed long time ago, but Machar could not act. He also said over 95% of the political leadership of the SPLM-IO are with Machar.

Government forces according to him have since launched an offensive to hunt down Machar in areas they are suspecting him to be hiding.

“As we speak, thousands of President Salva Kiir’s forces are on the move towards the areas where they suspected Dr. Riek Machar to be situated. Also their helicopter gunships have been bombing randomly in the forests, trying to locate him. Their aim is to kill him so that he never returns to Juba,” he said.

“But this will never happen. Dr. Riek Machar will someday return to Juba whether they like it or not, whether they will be there in Juba to receive him or not,” Dak added.

Gatdet also said some members of the The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) for conspiring with Kiir against the peace agreement. IGAD is the midwife of the South Sudan Peace agreement signed in August 2015.

He said even the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC), which is supposed to monitor and safeguard the peace agreement has been “dumb founded” and could not know what to do.

Credit: Sudan Tribune