President Salva Kiir has on Thursday directed the new Minister of Defense and Veteran Affairs General Chol Thon Balok to carry out disarmament in Juba and other states across South Sudan.
“President Kiir directed the new Minister to reorganize the army and disarm the civil population in Juba and other parts of the country,” a statement from the office of the president reads.
Following his appointment on Wednesday March 29th, 2023, Chol was sworn in the following day Thursday 30th March 2023 as the new Defense Minister replacing Angelina Teny.
Angelina was dismissed on March 3rd, 2023 together with the Minister of interior, Mahmoud Solomon by the president. Kiir also swapped the security ministries by taking the Defense and Veteran Affairs ministry to SPLM-IG and Interior ministry to SPLM-IO.
The opposition party SPLM-IO led by Machar protested the move calling it unilateral and a violation.
Dr. Riek and Kiir held a meeting to discuss but no consensus was reached resulting in the adjournment of the meeting for a later day.
“Appointment of Hon. Chol Thon as Minister of D & VA, is unilateral & a blatant new violation of R-ARCSS” said Puok Both Baluang, Spokesperson of the first vice president Dr. Riek Machar who leads the party which Angelina, his wife represented in the RTGoNU.
“No breakthrough was reached at all meetings between President Salva Kiir & FVP Dr. Riek Machar Teny-Dhurgon in order to overcome the current deadlock,” Baluang added.
Despites the opposition rejection of the appointment, President Kiir urged the new minister to carry out his duties diligently and to go ahead with the implementation of security arrangement provided for in chapter two of the 2018 revitalized peace deal.
The new Minister of Defense was appointed and sworn in, in less than 24hours.
In the security arrangement, the first phase of the unified force was graduated but the deployment has not yet been done.
The second phase is still expected to commence as the delayed deployment of the first phase has hindered its commencement.