- South Sudanese president Salva Kiir (L) and former vice-president turned rebel leader Riek Machar
Feb. 6, 2016 (JUBA) – South Sudan’s Salva Kiir said appointing rebel leader Riek Machar as the country’s first vice-president was unconstitutional, saying he should occupy another position instead.
“The transitional constitution is very clear. It has a provision of one vice president which is occupied by comrade James Wani Igga. The IGAD (Intergovernmental Authority on Development) proposal seeks creation of the first vice president position for Riek,” Kiir said at the inauguration of a new building in Juba on Wednesday.
“We said our constitution does not allow but if it is because of peace, we say the arrangement should not be at the expense of the current vice president and I will not be ready to violate the constitution,” he added.
The South Sudanese leader further said his administration was totally against the culture of rewarding those who rebel against a democratically-elected government.
“The culture of people staging rebellion as a way to get appointment into senior government positions will not continue,” said Kiir.
“People who rebel should not continue to be rewarded because it is becoming a business,” he told the function, also attended by Igga.
Mediators from the East African regional bloc have proposed Machar as the first vice president to replace the incumbent Igga during the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGNU) period.
GOVERNORS BACK IGGA
Meanwhile, governors from Greater Bahr el Ghazal region have rejected IGAD’s proposal, saying Igga’s removal from the vice-presidency will create discontent and internal divisions.
Kuel Aguer Kuel, the caretaker of Northern Bahr el Ghazal state said he shared with president Kiir concerns of people from Equatoria region on the proposal to remove Igga.
“I came to meet the president on three things; to brief him about the general situation in the state of Northern Bahr el Ghazal and to discuss with him about the peace process,” Kuel told the state-owned SSTV on Thursday.
“We also discussed the way we could resolve political issues in the state. “The president asked us to work together and to resolve these issues peacefully and amicably,” he added.
Governor Kuel further assured Kiir of the support his regime enjoys from the population in Northern Bahr el Ghazal state during this crisis.
Rizik Hassan Zachariah, the governor of Western Bahr el Ghazal state said the proposal from IGAD not only creates discontent, but could further divide the ruling party’s (SPLM) leadership.
“A lot of people have expressed different views, very strong views. They think this proposal is another attempt to divide the SPLM leadership and the government, which is correct. Comrade James Wani Igga should be the first vice president. The rebels should not be rewarded,” the governor told reporters on Friday.
He said the government was big enough to accommodate people in other posts.
“They will be accommodated in different capacities, but not those which would undermine the status of our current vice president. It will be unwise to do so,” said Hassan.
Governors from the country’s states convened in Juba to consult president Kiir on recent proposals and how peace can be achieved.
Lakes state caretaker governor Maj. General Matur Chut Dhuol said his people totally rejected IGAD’s proposal to have Machar appointed as first vice president in the country’s transitional era.
“The people of lakes state have spoken. You have seen them already. They went out to the street to reject this proposal. As the state government, we stand with the people,” Dhuol said on Friday.
“Comrade James Wani Igga will be the first vice president and other people should be given different assignments in different capacities,” he added.