October 16, 2016 (JUBA) - South Sudanese government under the leadership of President Salva Kiir on Saturday said it was working with foreign powers to find a country where the armed opposition leader, Riek Machar, should stay in exile without involving in political activities and affairs of the country.
- First Vice President Riek Machar greets SPLM-IO officials at Juba airport upon his arrival, April 26, 2016 (ST Photo)
Information Minister, Michael Makuei Lueth, said the government has slapped a political ban on the rebel chief, Riek Machar, following his call for armed resistance against President Kiir.
Lueth, who speaks for the government as its spokesman told reporters in Juba on Friday evening that Machar will not be allowed to talk politics in South Sudan, instead advising him to seek asylum in a country of his choice.
He claimed that the government is working with foreign powers to identify a country where Machar can live in peacefully away from politics.
"He is being exiled. He will not be coming back to South Sudan and he will never be allowed to talk politics any longer," Lueth told reporters.
The Minister’s remarks followed comments by President Kiir in which he conditioned return of his main political rival to the country, saying he would only accept his return if he denounces violence and come back to the country as a normal citizen without official assignment.
Kiir said he was now enjoying good working relationship with the new first vice president, Taban Deng, whom he controversially appointed in the place of Machar.
Machar fled Juba in July after fierce clashes between his forces and those loyal to president Kiir, leading to his ouster as first vice president in a unity government formed in April.
Machar has since declared war on Juba in a bid to topple Kiir’s government, a move condemned by the international community.
His opposition officials described the call to exile Machar as “rubbish”, saying he is the chairman of the SPLM in Opposition party and commander in chief of the SPLA in Opposition army inside the country and said the government has no power to ban him from South Sudan.