Machar asks guarantors to intervene in deal violations

The main opposition leader Dr. Riek Machar has requested the guarantors to the peace deal to intervene in the escalating tension between his party –SPLM-IO and SPLM-IG over swapping and removal of defense minister.

On March 3, President Kiir removed Angelina Teny, along with Mahmoud Solomon, minister of interior, causing tensions.

SPLM-IO protested the move and held a meeting seven days later with president to discuss  “violation of the peace agreement” but the meeting ended in deadlock. The principals agreed to meet again over the matter.

However, President Salva Kiir did not wait for the next meeting they had agreed upon. On Wednesday last week, he appointed General Chol Thon Balok as a replacement for Angelina Teny who is also the wife to Dr. Machar.

Chol was the deputy of Angelina. Machar termed his appointment as grave violation.

In a letter addressed to the IGAD countries and peace guarantors on March 30, Machar says Kiir has interrupted the negotiation of the matter.

“I am writing to inform you (Chairperson of IGAD) that President Salva Kiir has unexpectedly interrupted the ongoing negotiations to resolve the recent violations by appointing a new Minister of Defense and Veterans Affairs on 29th March 2023, compounding the already existing deadlock,” Machar writes.

He requests guarantors’ intervention to let president Kiir reconsider his decision.

“In the light of this, I am requesting the interventions of IGAD to resolve these grave violations putting R-ARCSS in jeopardy,” Machar continues.

The current political crisis, emerged just few days after the commencement of the 24-Month extended transitional period of the roadmap.

The roadmap was developed to provide time bound guidelines for the implementation of the reaming tasks and the provision of the revitalized peace agreement.

South Sudan was supposed to go for general elections in February 2023 after the end of 36 months of the transitional period but the transitional government did not complete the implementation of the provisions of the peace deal.

As a result, the parties to the 2018 peace deal agreed in August 2022 and extended the transitional period for another 24 months which now makes South Sudan expects its first general elections in December 2024.

IGAD or the Intergovernmental Authority on Development is an eight-country trade bloc in Africa. It includes governments from the Horn of Africa, Nile Valley and the African Great Lakes. It is headquartered in Djibouti.