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Riek Machar Teny | Riak Machar Teny

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South Sudan’s vice president, Riek Machar (Reuters)

Name: Riek Machar Teny | Riak Machar Teny

Title: Dr.


  • Vice President of the Republic of South Sudan, 2005 - 23 July 2013.

Born: Leer County, Unity State, South Sudan

Education: Engineering, University of Khartoum; PhD in Philosophy and Strategic Planning, University of Bradford, UK, 1984.

Family: Machar is married to Angelina Teny who contested the Unity State gubernatorial election in 2010 loosing to incumbent Governor Taban Deng Gai in controversial circumstances.

He was also briefly married to British aid worker Emma McCune until her death in a car crash in Nairobi, Kenya in 1993.


Rise through the SPLM / SPLA

Riek Machar joined the SPLM/SPLA in 1984 and was soon put in charge of the the movement’s head office in Addis Ababa by the group’s late chairman, John Garang de Mabior.

He was given military training and deployed at the rank of major as a zonal commander in 1985 in Western Upper Nile.

Machar quickly rose to the rank of Alternate-Commander and then to the rank of a Commander before he then disagreed with late Garang in 1991 on how the movement was being run.

Split with Garang

The issues of contention centred on his call for self-determination, democratization of the movement and respect for human rights while the late chairman wanted the movement to maintain its objective for a new Sudan; secular democratic and united.

Tensions between Machar and Kiir

In April 2013 President Salva Kiir issued a presidential ordered the suspension of a proposed national reconciliation conference, until he formed his own committee that would prepare for the event. Machar had been tasked to oversee the event but this was scrapped when Kiir issued a controversial order on withdrawing unspecified delegated powers from his deputy.

Kiir’s decision is believed to have been takem because the two leaders couldn’t agree on the timing and agenda for the reconciliation.

A source told Sudan Tribune the president wanted the process delayed and also restricted to reconciling communities that experienced violent conflicts, while Machar wanted the process to kick off this year and also address issues of tribalism, good governance, justice, development, distribution of resources, land grabbing, among others, which he argued were some of the factors that caused disharmony in the country.

The matter was worsened by Machar’s declaration to challenge the South Sudan leader in the ruling party’s contest for the SPLM’s chairmanship in the upcoming convention. This caused Kiir to be suspect that Machar wanted to use the reconciliation process as a campaign to gain more popularity among the South Sudanese public.

On 23 July 2013 Kiir issued a decree relieving Machar from his position as vice president. On the same day he also sacked Pagan Amum from his position as the Secretary General of the SPLM.

Kiir appointed James Wani Igga as South Sudan’s new vice president on 26 August 2013.

Machar did not attend the ceremony but later told the press that he would have attended if he had been invited.



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