August 15, 2021 (NAIROBI) – A leading member of South Sudan’s armed opposition movement (SPLM-IO) has backed the removal of the group’s chairman and the country’s First Vice President Riek Machar, saying all structures under him are now “null and void”.
“If the army has deposed the former Chairman and Commander in Chief all structures under him are rendered null and void. A deposed leader cannot expel members of a leadership that has already been overthrown,” Garang Mabior said in a statement extended to Sudan Tribune on Sunday.
Mabior, a former SPLM-IO Chairperson for Information and Public Relations said acknowledged the split in the armed opposition faction, saying the group deviated from its search for a dignified peace for our civil population.
“The SPLM-IO (Juba group) claims to be implementing peace despite the fact that after three years, our civil populations are still languishing in PoCs, refugee camps or suffering the brutality of inter-communal violence in our cattle camps and in the villages,” he stated.
On August 3, the SPLM/A-IO military command under the command of Lt. General Simon Gatwech Dual denounced the leadership of Machar and appointed the former as the interim chairman of the armed opposition group.
The decision to oust the First Vice President, it said, emerged after several members held a meeting at the Magenis area in South Sudan’s Upper Nile state.
According to Mabior, the dismal failure to implement Chapter II of the peace agreement, which entails the permanent ceasefire and transitional security arrangements has resulted in fundamental differences in political opinion.
“Chapter II deals with the reform of the security sector. After the former Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Gatwec Dual, called on the former Chairman, Dr Riek Machar, to brief the military on the progress of the Security Arrangements but was ignored, the army deposed Dr Riek Machar as the Chairman and Commander in Chief of the SPLM/SPLA (IO) on 03/08/2021,” he noted.
Last week, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Council of Ministers passed a resolution, calling upon all factions in the dispute within SPLM/A-IO to immediately and unconditionally cease armed confrontation and refrain from any offensive, provocative or retaliatory utterances, behaviours and other actions that will escalate tensions and hostilities and
They further urged the parties to pursue peaceful avenues of resolution of internal differences and disagreements through dialogue, trust and confidence building and demonstrate greater political will and commitment.
“We the SPLM/SPLA-IO (Founding Members) acknowledge the split in the Movement. We are fully committed to a peaceful resolution to the internal political contradictions in our Movement and are ready to make revolutionary corrections,” stressed Mabior.
He added, “We are also committed to the resolutions of the IGAD COMMUNIQUÉ OF THE 73rd EXTRA-ORDINARY SESSION OF THE IGAD COUNCIL OF MINISTERS quoted above”.
In September 2018, the warring factions in South Sudan’s civil war signed a revitalized peace agreement to end the country’s civil war. The peace accord stipulates that there shall be a transitional government formed after eight months of the pre-transitional period.