South Sudan’s new First Vice President Taban Deng Gai, a senior member of the SPLM/A-In Opposition, says South Sudan cannot have two armies – security arrangements and foreign relations topped Deng’s inauguration speech. He replaces former First Vice President Riek Machar, whose whereabouts remain unknown. This comes two weeks after fighting between rivalling forces in Juba left hundreds dead and thousands displaced.
Deng says he will work with President Kiir to have one army only. “I will work with you your excellency the president. We must cooperate with the international community, provided that they respect this country has a constitution, this country has a president and has a law to be followed,” Deng says adding that South Sudan cannot have two armies and the very first task at hand is “to finish the integration and unification of our forces”.
#SouthSudan | #Juba – Taban Deng Gai sworn in as First Vice President, replaces Riek Machar whose whereabouts remain...Posted by theniles.org on Tuesday, 26 July 2016
Deng says his priority is to end the country’s fighting, allowing the displaced citizens of South Sudan to return home, adding they haven’t deserved to be displaced in their own country.
President Salva Kiir says he will cooperate with the SPLM-IO leadership to end the country’s conflict. He welcomes Deng’s decision to cooperate with international friends, but says there is no need to deploy more foreign troops in the country, as proposed by the United Nations and African Union. Kiir describes additional foreign troops in South Sudan as “invading the territory of the country”.
“Let’s go to the drawing board and we start implement this agreement so that we don’t disappoint the friends that have been already disappointed,” Kiir says.
Government officials and diplomats were among those who gathered at the Presidential Palace known as J1, to witness the swearing in ceremony, conducted by Chief Justice Chan Reec Madut.
Vice President James Wani Igga says Taban’s appointment to replace Machar is legal under article six subsection four of the IGAD brokered peace. The article reads “in the event that the post of the First Vice President falls vacant for any reason, the replacement shall be nominated by the top leadership of the SPLA-IO”. Igga says Taban Deng Gai is now the legitimate South Sudan First Vice President as per the August 2015 peace agreement.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, including our friends in the IGAD, our Friends in AU, our friends in the UN and in the international community as whole, the IO have not done this illegally,” Igga says, adding that the replacement is “in accordance with this agreement”.
President Kiir has tasked the SPLM-IO leadership to write to the stakeholders of the August peace accord, informing them about the current changes in the country.