South Sudan: Rebel Leader Machar Reappointed as Vice-President
South Sudan President Salva Kiir has reappointed Riek Machar as the country’s vice-president, in a move that could bring an end to civil war in the nation.
Riek Machar returns to his role as vice-president for the first time since he was ousted by President Kiir in 2013. The president accused Machar of orchestrating the December 16 coup attempt, sparking civil war in the country and a bitter rivalry between the pair.
Machar returns, peace terms agreed
Machar’s return to his former post comes as fresh talks between his rebels and Kiir’s government agree terms on a peace deal. Previous agreements had failed to end violence in the country and both parties have been accused of prolonging the conflict for their own interests.
Pressure will now be on President Kiir and his returning deputy to enforce the terms of this latest agreement and ensure peace is established in South Sudan. Questions have already been asked over how much control the former rival leaders have over their warring parties – a concern the pair will be keen to put to rest.
The announcement also places pressure on Machar to return to South Sudan from exile and reclaim his role as vice-president.
The prospect of peace in South Sudan
The concept of peace in South Sudan is a strange one in many ways. The world’s youngest nation only broke away from Sudan in 2011 and little more than two years later returned to civil war as Kiir and Machar’s rivalry broke out.
This isn’t the first peace deal that’s been agreed since then either, but it will be the first that makes any real impact, should peace be successfully implemented. However, analysts have been quick to warn that, while the decree may end conflict on a national scale, violence will most likely continue at a local level.
Following the death of tens of thousands and the displacement of millions over the last two years, what the prospect of peace means for the people of South Sudan remains to be seen.