2nd April 2020
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Kiir dissolves gov’t, appoints Machar, others in new unity gov’t

Author: Jale Richard | Published: Friday, February 21, 2020

President Salva Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar shake hands in Juba on Sept. 9, 2019 | credit | Garang Abraham/Eye Radio.

President Salva Kiir has issued several decrees this evening, dissolving the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU), and appointed new officials as part of forming the long-awaited government of national unity.

In several other decrees, President Salva Kiir appointed Dr. Riek Machar as the First Vice President. Kiir also maintained Taban Deng Gai and Dr. James Wani Igga as vice presidents in the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity.

Rebecca Nyandeng is also appointed as one of the vice presidents.

Tut Gatluak is appointed Presidential Advisor on National Security Affairs in the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity. He also appointed Mayiik Ayii Deng as Minister of Presidential Affairs in the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity.

The decrees were broadcast on state-owned South Sudan Broadcasting Corporation (SSBC) TV this evening.

One vice president from the South Sudan Opposition Alliance and cabinet members of the unity government are yet to be appointed.

Before the RTGoNU was dissolved, Michael Makuei, who was the government spokesperson said the vice presidents will be sworn-in tomorrow.

He said Ugandan President, Ethiopian and Sudanese Prime Ministers are expected in Juba to witness the swearing-in ceremony.

The opposition leader had lost his position to Taban Deng Gai after the renewed conflict in July 2016 but efforts by the region led to a new peace deal-the Revitalized Agreement on Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan signed in September 2018.

According to the deal, the peace parties should have established a coalition government in May 2019. But two postponements meant South Sudanese had to wait for February 2020 to have a unity government.

The opposition had feared taking part in a government in Juba without implementing critical security arrangements such as training and unification of forces, which would drag the country back to war.

Under the 2018 revitalized peace deal, the government and opposition groups are required to establish a unified national army to avoid a repeat of the violence that destroyed the 2015 peace agreement. The opposition and the government had separate armies.

However, to date, the Necessary Unified Forces have not graduated from their training centers across the country. But on Thursday, Kiir said he will provide security to Machar as the VIP protection force awaits graduation and deployment.

Another impediment was the dispute over the number and boundaries of states. The opposition wanted a return to ten states, arguing the 32 were “illegally” decreed by president Kiir during the civil war. But the government insisted on maintaining, or creating more states, saying it was responding to “popular demand.”

A body set up by the peace deal to solve the dispute-the Independent Boundaries Commission did not succeed as the peace parties brushed away its recommendations.

But as the extended deadline drew closer, the two principals-Kiir and Machar bowed to immense pressure by the international community. In a sharp u-turn, Kiir announced last Saturday a return to the ten states, a key compromise that opened the way for the formation of the long-awaited unity government.

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