Cover Story

TabanGai replaces Dr. Riak as 1st VP

Taban Deng Gai, Minister of Mining & nominee to replace FVP Dr. RiekMachar
By Oyet Alfonse
The president of the Republic of South Sudan SalvaKiirMayardit has issued a Republican decree relieving his former rival RiekMachar as First Vice President and replaces him with mining minister TabanDeng Gai.
President also issued another decree reliving Finance Minister David Deng Athorbei from his position and replaces him with Stephen DheiuDau.
Dr. RiakMachar who fled from Jubaas a result of the clashes that broke out in the capital Juba between forces loyal to him and government forces was relieved based on the agreement made by the opposition in Juba.
The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in opposition (SPLM-IO) has presented Taban Deng Gai to President SalvaKiir as their candidate to replace Dr. RiekMachar as First Vice President.
The senior member of the opposition including the deputy chairperson of SPLM/A-IO Gen. Alfred Ladu Gore, secretary general DhieuMathok, Chief negotiator Gen. Taban Deng Gai, and Dr. Richard K. MullaMinister of federal affairs submitted the nominee to the president yesterday.
Ambassador Ezekiel LolGatKuoth, secretary for foreign affairs for SPLM/A-IO confirmed to reporters that they have nominated Taban Deng Gai to be the first vice president of the South Sudan because Dr. Machar is not in Juba.
He stated that Taban has been nominated to be the First Vice President of the Republic of South Sudan and will also be the Chairman of the SPLM-IO and will also take care of the army wing of the opposition (SPLA-IO).
“We have resolved as leadership of SPLM/A-IO that the implementation of the peace agreement must continue; we have also agreed that the transitional government of national unity should continue governing the country as a legitimate body as per theagreement,” Ambassador GatKuoth said.
“We are committed to the full implementation of the peace agreement; South Sudanese have suffered a lot because of insecurity; we want to make sure that South Sudan is peaceful. We need to enjoy this country because we have liberated it, and all of us struggled for it,” he continued.
Earlier the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission clarified its stance on the SPLM/IO leadership debate yesterday and said any change in leadership depends on the opposition; the chairperson of JMEC Festus Mogae said.
“As previously stated, a change to the leadership depends on the Opposition itself and we are not here to speculate on such changes. We do not see any value in speculating when the people and friends of South Sudan are working hard to ensure a return to the implementation of the Peace Agreement,” he said.

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