South Sudan: Kiir Threatens to Oust Machar Once Again

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South Sudan President Salva Kiir has threatened to replace Vice-President Riek Machar, according to reports.

Sudan Tribune says the president handed out an ultimatum to his deputy on Sunday. If Riek Machar doesn’t return to Juba immediately, he will be replaced by someone else from withing his faction, the online publication says.

 

Machar flees again

Riek Machar fled Juba on Monday, 11 July,  after a confrontation outside the presidential palace. Amid fears that war could return to South Sudan, Machar’s departure reminds of his escape when civil conflict first broke out in 2013.

Meanwhile, the prospect he could be ousted from his position as vice-president – the same move that sparked that civil war – is another parallel. Except, this time, the president is lining up members from Machar’s party to replace him.

“There are many members of the SPLM-IO here in Juba. The minister of Mining, Taban Deng Gai, who was chief negotiator during the peace talks can be appointed,” an unnamed official told Sudan Tribune.

 

A difficult choice

If these reports are true, the threat to replace Machar with one of his officials is significant. It would single out Machar for fleeing Juba when South Sudan needs its leaders most. However, doing so in a way that doesn’t alienate his party or contravene the nation’s transitional government.

Taban Deng Gai is one name already linked with the post – a popular man amongst the SPLM-IO. But there are concerns over his reputation with the ethnic Nuer group, who are significant allies to President Kiir.

Either way, none of this can happen without the consent of Machar’s SPLM-IO party. Under the newly formed transitional government, President Kiir has no power to replace leaders unless top leaders from their party request it.

 

Featured image: YouTube

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.