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South Sudan president declares two top party positions vacant

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February 7, 2014 (JUBA) - President Salva Kiir Mayardit the chairperson of South Sudan’s ruling party - Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) - has declared two senior positions are now vacant after weeks of conflict triggered by party infighting.

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South Sudan president Salva Kiir waits for the arrival of his Kenyan counterpart Uhuru Kenyatta, in Juba on 23 May 2013 (Photo: Reuters)

One of the positions in question is that of deputy chairperson, Riek Machar Teny who is currently leading a rebellion - known as the SPLM/A in Opposition - against the government. The other position, which is vacant, according to Kiir, is that of the party secretary-general previously held by Pagan Amum Okiech.

Amum was dismissed at the same time as Machar for alleged corruption and other charges and now faces treason charges for alleged involvement in coup attempt.

This announcement comes as the government said it holds former SPLM vice-president accountable of treason and will be tried for organising a rebellion against the legitimate leadership of the country.

Kiir’s remarks also confirm statements made by the information minister Michael Makuei Lueth who told the Arabic language Asharq Alwsat on Thursday that the SPLM Liberation Council recommended to sack Machar from the ruling party and the parliament.

In his announcement Kiir did not name any immediate replacements.

The president said he would decide on the status of membership of members of the SPLM National Liberation Council - the party’s highest decision making body - and members of parliament who have defected to the SPLM/A in Opposition in protest against the killing of civilians in Juba, allegedly at the hands of soldiers from South Sudan’s army (SPLA) loyal to the president Salva Kiir.

It remains unclear who he will name as Machar’s replacement as first deputy chairperson, although many have speculated that the current second vice chairperson, James Wani Igga could be promoted to the post. Igga was appointed as Machar’s successor for the position of Vice-President of South Sudan in August.

The acting SPLM secretary-general, Anne Ito, also appears interested in becoming the next secretary-general should the leadership endorse her bid, but it is not guaranteed.

Multiple party officials have expressed a need to ensure an equitable regional distribution of power in all the SPLM’s structures across South Sudan’s three regions. Kiir is from Bahr el Ghazal, while Igga hails from Equatoria.

"I don’t know what criteria the leadership would use to make appointments into these positions which the chairman had declared vacant. But I guess the appointment would reflect regional distribution of power and resources in all the structures" said a senior SPLM member on conditions of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss such matter with the press, on Friday.

"If comrade James Wani Igga [who is from Equatoria] takes the position of the first deputy chairperson to replace Riek Machar, then the position of the Secretary-General will definitely be given to the people of Upper Nile region to fill. If this reading becomes the criteria, then I think comrade Anne Ito may definitely not be able to become the Secretary General", he added.

(ST)

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  • 8 February 09:08, by AUGUSTINO DENG

    Salva Kiir, let your masterminded Museveni, the president of Uganda hold the position of Vice president, and then give the position of general secretary to your wife Ayen Wasila. Salva Kiir, although you are Dinka like me,you are the most bonehead leader in Dinka Community.
    By AUGUSTINO DENG. Jech la mer from Tharpam.

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  • 8 February 09:13, by Piny Amec Abethool-Jesus

    It is a good idea Mr President and Chairperson of SPLM.

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  • 8 February 09:16, by Konkooc

    the position of first deputy SPLM should not be given to fifth columns nuer nor any regionalism. need a good person that will work with president well. i urge president Kiir not to put a wrong person that will again put him in problem like riek looter destroyer and food lover nuer.
    ’nuer may win a battle but not War’

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  • 8 February 09:33, by Kus al-Junub

    Wise decision president Kiir,
    The so-called SPLA/M in oppositions, were in government for 8 years looting and always encouraging war between South Sudan and Sudan. Upon failing to ignite the war between two Sudans, they started to defamed Kiir and worst they turned their back on people of South Sudan. However, the real setback came when they made coup and subsequently rebelling against the People

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    • 8 February 09:34, by Kus al-Junub

      Continue.....
      of two Sudan for the sake of pleasing imperils Masters, namely, USA, UK and France.

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  • 8 February 10:38, by Bauer

    The alleged coup which the president created has come to it’s climax.It was all aimed at removing Machar and his counter part Amum.Am sure the next person is Rebecca Nyandeng and she will be removed from her post in a tactical way.Once this has been done the Dinka Bhar-el-Ghazalians will jubilate because power will belong to their hands.Just my opinion otherwise I love Africa and wish SS well.

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    • 8 February 10:52, by jijury

      Who give a damn about positions right now you idiot? Pick one of those political opportunists to carry your illegal call for party vacancies. Your days are numbered in Juba starting from today.

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    • 8 February 10:58, by Wicdail

      To be honest, SPLM as a historical party is dead. full stop. Kirr and his group killed him (SPLM) because of the hatred against Kirr’s critics particularly against Dr. Rick Machar.

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      • 8 February 11:30, by Adodi Jotuwa

        Please, take your biased piece of journalistic scrap to Dr. Fool Riek Macahr’s supporters who are excited to read it. How much do you know about Dr. Fool Riek Machar’s political profile or his contribution to this free nation of South Sudan? How do Dr. Fool Riek Machar and his tribal defectors know more about the word “democracy” than the other South Sudanese 63 tribes…

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        • 8 February 11:30, by Adodi Jotuwa

          …who know transfer of power always comes through democratic elections but not through the use of power based on tribal sentiments? IGAD, AU, and international community failed to blame the rebellion or to understand who is Dr. Fool Riek Machar because they have no idea that another Riek Machar might have appeared in the past or will soon emerge in their own country trying to…

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          • 8 February 11:31, by Adodi Jotuwa

            …take power by force by mobilizing his tribe which is well noted in African context. IGAD, AU and international community fell short of branding Dr. Fool Riek Machar the leader of terrorist organization formed in South Sudan because of the massive loss of lives in Juba, Bor, Akobo, Malakal and Bentiu, and including infrastructural destruction and massive displacement…

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            • 8 February 11:31, by Adodi Jotuwa

              …within a short period of time. How do all these regional, continental and international bodies condone these acts by keeping silence and failing to pressure Dr. Fool Riek Machar to negotiate peace in good faith without preconditions? To make it worst, how and why did you pick up the so-called political analyst Dr. Solomon Mokonnen to publicize his…

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              • 8 February 11:32, by Adodi Jotuwa

                … biased negative analysis? Dr. Fool Solomon and Dr. Fool Riek might have gone to the same school of thought - how to use violence to transfer power from elected government to a violent rebel leader since 1991 instead of waiting for democratic elections. The presence of UPDF in South Sudan has not closed the mouths of Dr. Fool Riek negotiation team members to discuss and agree…

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                • 8 February 11:32, by Adodi Jotuwa

                  …on peace deal without preconditions. Although every human being has his own negative, Ugandan President M7 has done the right thing to stop more bloodshed since South Sudan has just come out from decades of war. President M7 deserves a lot of credits not only for making Uganda remained politically stable for nearly 28 years compared to his predecessors.

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                  • 8 February 11:33, by Adodi Jotuwa

                    Why do IGAD, AU and international community justify Ugandan military role in Somalia, Rwanda, DRC and CAR and not in South Sudan? How much destruction or how many lives needed to be lost so that they begin blaming Dr. Fool Riek Machar and his associates that it has already reached unimaginable proportion? How do Dr. Fool Solomon and the Dr. Fool Riek’s negotiation team…

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                    • 8 February 11:33, by Adodi Jotuwa

                      … comment on these double standards? Do these bodies need peace only in other countries but not in South Sudan? Or because they think that this kind of rapid loss of lives, massive infrastructural destruction, displacement and humanitarian cost will never happen in their own countries? Few African countries remained politically stable since the final departure…

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                      • 8 February 11:34, by Adodi Jotuwa

                        … of colonialists from the continent in the 60s but the political future of many countries often hang in the balance. Believe me or not. Why should blood be shed for no reasons because of Dr. Fool Riek Machar’s interest? Why don’t we some Africans leaders agree that we’re weak politically, culturally, socially and economically? So long as we keep relying on foreign aids,…

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                        • 8 February 11:35, by Adodi Jotuwa

                          … (no matter how it’s channeled) without waking up that there is string attached for potential political mess or stability, it will be hard for us to see clearly the invisible hands. Wake up guys. Dr. Fool Riek Machar cannot make treason twice with impunity, during the war and after independence of South Sudan. No, not acceptable.

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  • 8 February 14:18, by hellonearth

    Mr. soon to be Ex President,

    why don’t you do as a favor and resign yourself. you are clearly a dictator, and all dictators end up dead before their time. you will die soon too

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  • 8 February 19:44, by Majongdit

    James Wani Igga - Deputy Chairman

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