South Sudan: President Kiir Sacks Machar Once Again
South Sudan President Salva Kiir has once again sacked his deputy, Riek Machar.
The move comes after Machar fled Juba following renewed clashes between his opposition forces and the government. South Sudan’s mining minister has replaced Machar as the SPLM-IO’s leader and vice president of the country.
Machar out again
The obvious concern is Machar’s dismissal could reignite South Sudan’s civil war. It was his first sacking in 2013 that initiated the country’s civil war to begin with, although the terms are very different this time around.
Riek Machar claims this breaks the nation’s peace deal, yet the government insists it’s acting within the law. Machar’s own SPLM-IO party came up with the decree to replace him with Deng, which is understood to be in line with the agreement signed last year.
The UN seems to think otherwise, hinting that Machar’s replacement is a violation of the deal. The security council warned Kiir this week that all political appointments must be in line with the agreement he and Machar signed in August.
“Any political appointments need to be consistent with the provisions outlined in the peace agreement,” a UN statement said.
However, it’s understood the agreement says the country’s vice president must first be chosen by the SPLM-IO. And that, if the position becomes vacant, the SPLM-IO must also nominate the replacement. Both of these terms appear to have been met so it’s not clear what stance the UN is trying to take on this.
Some allies of Machar claim he was forced out of the country, fearing for his life. They claim Kiir’s move to replace him is a political conspiracy and without a guarantee of safety upon return, Machar is a marked man in Juba.