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Machar rejects ‘prepare ground for elections’ remarks

Machar rejects ‘prepare ground for elections’ remarks
Dr Riek Machar, first vice president; and Angelina Teny, Interior minister, during the swearing-in ceremony for Ms Teny and her deputy, Marial Gumke at the state house on Monday, October 4, 2023 | Credit | Presidential Press Unit

The First Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar Teny, has denied asking the new minister of Interior to “prepare ground for elections”.

On Monday, the presidential Facebook page alleged that “Dr. Riek Machar Teny urged the new officials to prepare a conducive environment for the conduct of elections next year,” adding that the main opposition leader made the remarks during the swearing-in of the officials in Juba on Monday.

In response, the acting press secretary in Machar’s office says his boss did not make such “unfounded” remarks.

‘‘We wish to state categorically that these claims are unfounded and have no basis,” said Puok Both Baluang in a statement seen by The Radio Community.

South Sudan is expected to for its first ever general elections on December 22, 2024.

However, the two main signatories to the September 2018 peace deal – President Salva Kiir and First Vice President Dr Riek Machar – have expressed opposing views on the conduct of election.

In September, Kiir made it clear that South Sudan will not return to war and that the elections will be held as planned.

“There are people who say there is no election; when they say there is no election, no one is tired like me; I have five deputies, and no country has five vice presidents,” Kiir said at the first National Economic Forum in Juba on September 8.

But Dr Machar, who is also husband to Ms Teny, differs, arguing that elections cannot be held without implementation of the key requirements, particularly security arrangements.

“It is important for us to implement the requirement that should take us to the election because if we do not implement it, we will know what will happen,” Machar said at the same event.

Also read: Elections will be held without constitution – Makuei