South Sudan: President Kiir Fires Ministers Allied to Machar
South Sudan President Salva Kiir has fired at least four ministers loyal to former vice president Riek Machar, raising further questions about the country’s peace process.
This comes after Kiir sacked rival Riek Machar from his position as vice president last month, prompting a backlash from his supporters. His government insists Machar’s dismissal was in line with the peace agreement, however it’s understood this latest round of sackings violate the deal.
Machar allies forced out
Varying reports say anywhere between four and six ministers loyal to Machar were sacked on Tuesday. Kiir filled the vacant posts with allies close to new vice president, Taban Deng Gai – including South Sudan’s interior and petroleum portfolios.
Among those sacked were water resources minister, Mabior Garang, and the minister for higher education, Peter Adwok – both prominent figures in former rebel movements.
Aside from creating renewed tension within the newly formed transitional government, the sackings contravene the power-sharing agreements between rival parties.
More uncertainty ahead
Riek Machar was sacked in July after he fled the capital amid renewed violence between his forces and government troops. The president ordered a ceasefire soon after, which held without any major incidents – however, Machar refused to return to Juba.
This time, when Kiir decided to sack his rival, he had backing from the opposition SPLM-IO party. This, in theory, keeps the move within the terms of the peace agreement signed last August.
However, Kiir taking the initiative to sack ministers from rival parties clearly breaks terms set out by the deal. The concern is fighting could break out once again between rival forces in the country. South Sudan’s civil war broke out in December 2013 after Kiir fired Machar and a group of ministers for the first time.
By White House photo by Eric Draper – whitehouse.gov, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5658632