September 8, 2016 (JUBA) – The United States Special Envoy to Sudan and South Sudan says it is “not wise” to re-install South Sudan’s ex-first vice president, Riek Machar to his post, but warned President Salva Kiir against what he called "power monopoly".
- U.S. Special Envoy Donald Booth, speaks at the U.S. House Subcommittee on Africa, on April 28, 2016 (ST Photo)
Ambassador Donald Booth told a U.S. House of Representative during a hearing held on Wednesday that South Sudan’s peace agreement has to be implemented.
"Given all that has happened, we do not believe it would be wise for Machar to return to his previous position in Juba," said Booth.
"But this cannot become a justification for President Kiir to monopolize power and stifle dissenting political voices," he told the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Africa Subcommittee.
Machar returned to Juba in April to take up position in the transitional government of national unity (TGoNU) as first vice president in accordance to the August 2015 peace agreement that ended 21 months of conflict. He fled Juba for his in July after his 1,300 bodyguards clashed with thousands of President Kiir’s forces. Machar’s former peace negotiator, Taban Deng Gai, was selected in controversial circumstances in Juba as his replacement.
But regional bloc, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) which mediated the peace agreement demanded Gai’s resignation for Machar to return, a position supported by the international community including the United States.
Booth’s comments followed Secretary of State John Kerry’s assertion last month that Gai’s nomination to replace Machar was “legal.” The SPLM In Opposition (IO) under Machar has decried the comment.
The United States also support establishment of Hybrid Court to try war crimes suspects as provided for in chapter five of the peace agreement.
"There must be consequences for those who are found guilty," New Jersey Republican Representative Chris Smith, also the subcommittee’s chairman told Voice of America (VOA).