SPLM-IO demands reinstatement of its sacked members

By Gladys Kole

The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO) party led by Dr. Riek Machar is calling for reinstatement of its member who were fired by the president from various post in the revitalized transitional government of national unity (R-TGONU) in what the SPLM-IO termed as unilateral decision.

This call comes after President Salva Kiir on Wednesday evening issued a presidential decree read over the state-run SSBC radio and TV reinstating embattled speaker of Jonglei state transitional legislative assembly, Amer Ateny Alier, three months after she was dismissed.

Ateny who is also the chairperson of SPLM-IO in Jonglei state was fired by Kiir in January under unclear circumstances, sparkling outcry from Machar SPLM-IO which accused Kiir of “blatant” violation of the revitalized peace agreement.

Three months later, Kiir went on to sack Angelina Teny the former Minister of Defense and Veterans Affairs, who is Machar’s wife and a senior member of the SPLM-IO political party hierarchy, and swapping of the Ministry of Defense with that of interior, a move SPLM-IO protected, demanding reinstatement of Angelina back to the defense docket which Kiir party now claims with a new minister already appointed.

These political changes among others affecting SPLM-IO portfolio in the interim unity government triggered some political standoff between President Kiir and his first deputy and chairman of the main opposition party. First attempts for the two leaders to sit to resolve their impasses however ended in deadlock without any consensus reached on the matter.

Meanwhile, Puok Both Baluang the acting press secretary in the office of the First Vice President, told No.1 Citizen Daily Newspaper yesterday that the second meeting held on 4th April between President Kiir and Machar discussed about the SPLM-IO relieved members and range of issues pertaining to the revitalized agreement.

“The two principals have discussed the numerous violations and also the outstanding issues in the agreement and solutions of removing, appointing and swapping in the Ministry of Defense including civic and the political space,” Baluang said.

According to presidential affairs minister, Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin, the meeting of the two principals has resolved the differences between Kiir and Machar.

“The meeting resolved challenges and outstanding issues of concern,” Marial said, adding that the two principals have also agreed to urgently meet whenever issues arise to resolve them amicably.

A positive impact of the Wednesday presidency meeting was signaled immediately by the reinstatement of suspended Jonglei state assembly speaker Amer Ateny which comes just hours after a closed-door meeting between Kiir and Machar.

Machar’s mouthpiece however said they wanted more reinstatement of their fired members from the R-TGoNU.

“We also call upon the president to grab that momentum and to continue making the right decisions by reinstating all the officials of the SPLM-IO that are removed by the President.”

“And also, to hear a call to reinstate Agelina Ateny. Also revoke the presidential order where by the President has swapped the two ministries,” Added Baluang.

Besides the reinstatement of the speaker of Jonglei, the commissioner of Twic county of Warrap state was also reinstated.

“We call upon the President to correct the decision and continue with the same spirit and commit himself and his party in the implementation of the revitalized peace agreement,” Puok noted.

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