The SPLM in Opposition has welcomed the appointment of Dr Riek Machar as the first vice president.
Meanwhile, James Wani Igga, who has been relieved and reappointed as the vice president, has taken oath of office.
President Salva Kiir made the appointments in separate decrees last evening as part of the implementation of the peace agreement.
Dr. Riek Machar was the vice president since 2005 until mid-2013. A political dispute within the ruling party led to the outbreak of the conflict in December 2013.
The spokesman of Dr. Riek Machar says the appointment of Dr Riek is a ‘step forward’.
“We welcome it because it is a step forward in the implementation of the peace agreement,” Mr James Gatdet told Eye Radio this morning.
“But there was no need for him (Kiir) to rush with a decree by appointing the first vice president because this will be redundant anyway.
“We thought he would concentrate on deployment of joint forces in Juba, withdrawal of the government troops from Juba. These should have been prioritized so that when Dr. Riek arrived in Juba, then he can now appoint him.”
On its part, the National Alliance has described the appointment of Dr. Riak Machar as a ‘positive move’ towards peace.
The alliance is a stakeholder in the peace agreement and will be represented at the national level by a minister.
The chairman of the group, Dr Lam Akol, has urged the government to speed up preparations for the return of Dr Riek to Juba.
“We want the government to allocate the place and tell people that this is where these people will stay when they come, and then after that, they can look for funds,” Dr Akol stated.
Some civil society organizations have also welcomed the appointments.
Edmond Yakani is the Executive Director for Community Empowerment for Progress Organization.
“This big news will pressure Dr Riek to come to Juba and at the same time, it will create an opportunity for Riek to pressure the government to quickly react or act on what he created as a precondition that makes him not to come to Juba”.
Dr Riek recently said he needs the transitional constitutional to be in place before he returns to Juba.
(Additional information by Memo)
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