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Kiir swears in Taban Deng as First Vice President

Author : | Published: Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The former SPLM-IO chief negotiator, Taban Deng Gai has been sworn in as the First Vice President.

Gen Taban Deng was appointed in the post by a presidential decree last evening.

This comes after a team led by Mr Taban officially presented their nomination to the President at the palace, J1 yesterday.

Mr Taban is replacing Dr Riek Machar, who assumed the position this year under the peace agreement.

Since Dr Riek fled Juba after clashes between his forces and the SPLA early this month, Dr Machar’s whereabouts remain unknown, but his spokespersons say he is within the country.

According to the decree, President Kiir based his decision to remove his former deputy on the recommendations made by the “top leadership of the SPLM/A-IO” in Juba.

However, members of the SPLM in Opposition loyal to Dr Riek describe the appointment of Taban Deng as a conspiracy by their colleagues in Juba.

The deputy spokesperson of Dr Machar said that the move is a violation of the peace agreement.
“Well our stand is very clear that we as the SPLM-IO leadership we don’t recognize the nomination of Taban Deng Gai as the first vice president,” Nyarji Germaleli Roman said, speaking to Eye Radio.

“The whole procedure is totally illegal, and according to the peace agreement, it is the first vice president to mandate the person who can act in his behalf, the whole process that took place in the hotel of Juba is a conspiracy between Taban Deng Gai and Ezikiel Lul and few members of the SPLA-IO.

Some IDPs at the POC3 in Juba demonstrated against the appointment of Mr Taban to the position. They told Eye Radio that they were surprised of the move and had wanted Dr Riek to remain in the position because “he has been standing with us.”

For his part, the spokesperson of the SPLM-IO in Juba, William Ezikiel dismissed the claim that the appointment of Mr Taban is a conspiracy and a violation of the peace agreement.

He said the appointment of Taban Deng is an internal decision within the SPLM-IO.

“It was a wise decision by the SPLM in Opposition to replace Dr Riek Machar with Taban Deng Gai, in our convention, the meeting we held on Saturday this decision was taken by the SPLM top leadership, this is our internal decision and it is something internal,” he said, speaking to Eye Radio this morning.

The Peace Agreement says that in the event that the post of the First Vice President falls vacant during the Transitional Period, for any reason, the replacement shall be nominated by the top leadership body of the SPLM in Opposition.

It further says that in the event of temporary absence of the First Vice President, he may delegate a senior Minister of the IO to carry out functions and duties as stipulated in the agreement.

The First Vice President Taban Deng Gai says he will work with President Salva Kiir to address the issues of IDPs and humanitarian needs in the country.

Taban could be seen wiping away tears as he spoke after taking oath of. Meanwhile, president Salva Kiir assured the incoming deputy of his cooperation.

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