July 27, 2016 (KAMPALA) - The Ugandan Chapter of South Sudan’s armed opposition (SPLM-IO) say they do not recognize Taban Deng Gai as the nation’s First Vice President.
- SPLM-IO Chief Negotiator, Taban Deng Gai, speaking to journalists at Juba airport upon his return from Pagak with his team, 22 January 2016 (ST Photo)
President Salva Kiir replaced SPLM-IO leader Riek Machar with Gai, a move said to be contrary to terms of the peace agreement signed in August last year.
The SPLM-IO chairman in Uganda, Buay Keake described as “unacceptable” the decision to appoint Gai, saying it was a violation of peace accord and against the will of South Sudanese.
“Gen. Taban Deng Gai’s appointment is illegal and it has been condemned by the members, the entire leadership in Uganda and the entire members of the SPLM –IO chapter in Uganda,” said Keake.
“On my own behalf as national coordination and the acting principal representative of Uganda , I would like to bring it into the attention of the general public that our office in Uganda strongly condemns the conspiracy plan,” added.
The official claimed the 8 July shootings, which occurred at the presidential palace in Juba was conspiracy allegedly to kill Machar.
Stephen Wat Bipal, the humanitarian liaison officer in Kampala said Gai’s elevation violates provisions of South Sudan’s peace accord.
Bipal said Gai was no longer an armed opposition movement member.
“Our office remains unshakable and will continue to hold onto the movement’s objectives and vision. The chapter urges all members, supporters, and sympathizers to maintain their continued strong commitment to the democratic movement under the leadership of Dr. Riek Machar,” he told Sudan Tribune on Wednesday.
On Monday, the South Sudanese leader took a unilateral decision after he gave his first deputy Machar an ultimatum 48 hours to report to Juba or else risk being sacked from his vice-presidency position.
Machar, however, insisted he would only return to Juba after regional forces have been deployed in South Sudan to create a buffer zone between his forces and those allied to the President Kiir.
But members of the armed opposition chapter in Uganda are urging the African Union, regional bloc (IGAD) and United Nation Security Council to deploy regional troops and pressure to desist from attacking their forces or risk igniting full scale war in the country.