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S. Sudan Kiir sacked labour minister over difference with FVP Taban

August 25, 2018 (JUBA) - South Sudanese President Salva Kiir sacked the General Gathoth Gatkuoth Hothnyang from his position as the minister of labour on the background of a letter his issued against the First Vice President Taban Deng Gai.

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Former Labour Minster Gathoth Gatkuoth Hothnyang (file photo)

On Friday, President Kiir appointed former SPLA chief of staff General Hoth Mai as Minister of Labour, Public Service and Human Resource Development and removed Hothnyang from the position without any explanation.

On Saturday Sudan Tribune learnt that the ministerial change intervened after a letter written by Minister Hothnyang on a headed-paper of the labour ministry calling on the Nasser Youth to support him in his conflict with the First Vice President Taban.

The letter seen by Sudan Tribune accused Taban of causing conflicts within the government in order to weaken President Kiir when he runs for president in 2022. Furthermore, he called on Taban to step down from his position and to cede it either for someone from Bahr El-Ghazal or Eastern Nuer (Greater Fangak, Lou Nuer and Jikany).

Hothnyang went further to claim that Taban excluded the SPLM-IO officers of Nasser during the integration process in the army and other regular forces of the former rebels when they joined the government. He added that Taban did the same thing when it came to the appointment of ambassadors in the ministry of foreign affairs.

He further said the FVP interfered in affairs of the Nasser community in Latjor State and caused a conflict between them before to add that Taban worked to splitting "the Nuer Leadership by creating a group loyal to him".

Taban and Hothnyang were part of the unified SPLM-IO under the leadership of Riek Machar but the two split from Machar after the bloody clashes of July 2016. Taban joined the government under the label of the SPLM-IO but Hothnyang created his own party before to sign a separate deal with President Kiir.

In a statement released Saturday, Latjor State Youth refuted the accusations Hothnyang made against Taban and reiterated their support for the First Vice President. Also, the welcomed the appointment of General James Hoth Mai as Minister of Labour.

" General Gathoth Gatkuoth Hothnyang is known for being a man of indiscipline, chaos and disorganised behaviour. One can just revisit the history of Gathoth Gatkuoth Hothnyang starting from SPLM/SPLA 1983 and different factions he joined until today," said the statement.

The statement said Nasser Community is well represented at all the levels thanks to the efforts exerted by Taban. Also, they urged the former minister to apologize for the first vice president and to "withdraw his statement immediately".

For his part, Hothnyang didn’t issue any statement after his sack on Friday.

However, he released on the social media a news article dated on 19 July about the rejection of the Nuer Council of Elders for the election of General James Hoth Mai as chairman of the Nuer Community.