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Riek Machar sworn in as Vice President

Davis Mugume
Riek Machar on Tuesday, April 26, finally returned to Juba to take the post of Vice President, boosting the chances of peace.
President Kiir and his new First Vice President Riek Machar in Juba, April 26, 2016. (photo: The Niles | Samir Bol)
President Kiir and his new First Vice President Riek Machar in Juba, April 26, 2016. (photo: The Niles | Samir Bol)

Machar returns to the capital of South Sudan over two years after a political spat with President Salva Kiir descended into violence. 

It is hoped that his arrival will accelerate the peace deal, signed last August, which seeks to end the civil war that has killed tens of thousands of people and displaced millions.

With his trade mark smile, Machar disembarked from the UN plane, waved to the crowd and was welcomed by senior government officials, members of the opposition, UN Officials and other members of diplomatic corps.

“I have come to implement peace, to make sure peace prevails all over the country,” Machar said at the Juba International Airport. “The first challenge is stabilising the security situation […], without doing that many [South Sudanese] will not taste the importance of this peace.”

He says the two sides must ensure that there is respect of a permanent ceasefire throughout the country which became independent in 2011.

He also says he will work with the government towards economic reforms, allowing access to humanitarian aid to all parts of the country as well as working towards unity and reconciliation.

Over two million people have been displaced since the conflict broke out in December 2013. International organisations, including the United Nations and the World Food Programme have reported a rise in food insecurity, even in places which previously had adequate supplies such as the Equatoria region.

On landing, Machar was immediately sworn in as the first vice president, returning to his previous post. He will be deputised by James Wani Igga. He stressed he would cooperate with President Kiir to resolve outstanding issues.

These include the issue of President Kiir’s controversial plan to have 28 states rather than the original ten, and working on the constitution.

The two sides will now form a new cabinet with members from each side, former political detainees and other political parties.

President Salva Kiir Mayardit said he was glad to welcome his former deputy whom he referred to as “my brother”.

President Kiir said he will cooperate with his Vice President to end the suffering people have gone through. “Our people are tired of war and they need peace now,” he said.

President Kiir also said the two should work towards the peaceful coexistence of all South Sudanese. Both two thanked the International community for their help in the path towards restoring peace.

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