Renewed tensions as Kiir appoints new defense minister

By Bida Elly David

A renewed political tension and disagreement has reignited between the two principals, President Salva Kiir and his longtime deputy and rival, Dr. Riek Machar as the SPLM-IO rejected President Kiir’s unilateral decree appointing a new Minister of Defense in replacement of Angelina Teny following the previous disparity that ended in deadlock.

Speaking to No.1 Citizen Daily Newspaper yesterday, Puok Both Baluang, the acting press secretary of the SPLM-IO leader Dr. Riek Machar condemned the decree noting that the SPLM-IG should correct the situation by adhering to the agreement if they don’t want to plunge the Country back to crisis.

Puok said President Kiir’s appointment of the new Minister of Defense is a continuous violation of the revitalized peace agreement saying Kiir did not inform the SPLM-IO as a party to have knowledge that the unresolved Angelina’s saga will not have future but was done off notice.

“All these violations made by President Kiir and the SPLM-IG always take the Country back. The President did not inform us about the appointment of the minister or the relief of Hon. Angelina Teny. The President should respect the revitalized agreement in both letter and spirit as well as follow the footsteps of the SPLM-IO,” Baluang said. 

The SPLM-IO criticized President Salva Kiir on the account of using his military powers as the Commander in Chief of the army and all the organized forces to remove Angelina noting that her position was through an SPLM-IO political ticket not military.

“Madam Angelina is not a soldier and the ministries are not ranked or positioned within the army, yes she is the head of SSPDF security organ but it was a constitutional political position that cannot be removed by powers of Commander in Chief of the army,” he protested.

Machar mouthpiece said the President does not have powers whatsoever based on the revitalized agreement to remove or appoint any one in a position that does not belong to his party SPLM-IG. 

Baluang noted that the former minister of defense Angelina Teny was a member nominated through SPLM-IO ticket being her own party and that it should be SPLM-IO to revise her status of competency.

“President Kiir has no right according to the agreement to remove any member from a different party because the agreement is a supreme source of the land. The presidential decree issued for the appointment of Balok as the Minister of Defense was unconstitutional and out of the agreement,” he reiterated

He echoed that Kiir’s decision on the appointment was a unilateral decision as well as total disrespect of what was signed and agreed upon.

“The recent appointment of Chol Balok as the new Minister of Defense and Veteran Affairs was a unilateral decision by Gen. Salva Kiir and also violation to the revitalized agreement. The SPLM-IO rejects the new appointment and also condemns it”.

“The SPLM-IG would have waited for this issue to be resolved before going ahead violating the agreement. If the SPLM-IG wants to correct the situation, they need to adhere to the agreement and refrain from this circle of violating the agreement,” he stressed.

“We would like to repeat our previous call to President Salva Kiir to re-instate Hon. Angelina Teny as the Minister of Defense and Veterans Affairs and also to revoke presidential order adhering to the implementation of the agreement fully,” he said.

Machar acting press secretary underscored that the leadership of the SPLM-IO party is going to sit and come with a clear vision and a clear position concerning the continuous violation of the agreement by President Salva Kiir.

He concluded that the unrevised decision of president Kiir on the appointment of the minister was a way to create more problems that will affect the on-going roadmap.

The two principals formerly agreed in a spirit of dialogue and cooperation to convene another meeting at a later date to find amicable solutions to removal of the former Minister of Defense as well as swapping of the ministries of defense and interior but the hope for prosperity hangs in the air.

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