South Sudan’s vice president Riek Machar has been ousted as head of his party and its armed forces, say rival leaders who accused the rebel-turned-politician of no longer representing their interests…
Machar, a pivotal figure in South Sudan’s bloody road to independence and subsequent civil war, was deposed following a three-day gathering of senior SPLM/A-IO leaders inthe country’s far north, the party’s military wing said.
Its chief of staff, First Lieutenant General Simon Gatwech Dual, was declared interim leader of the opposition movement that governs the troubled country in a shaky alliance with former enemies.
The military wing said Machar had “completely failed” to show leadership and greatly weakened the party’s position in the post-war coalition government formed between the warring sides in early 2020.
Machar had engaged in a years-long “policy of divide and rule” and favoured nepotism over unity or advancing their cause, according to a statement signed by the SPLM/A-IO military leadership and dated August 3.
“As a result, the meeting saw there was no option rather thanto come up with the decision and finally prompted to declare the denouncement of Dr Riek Machar Teny Dhurgon from the chairmanship of the SPLM/A-IO,” the statement said.
The political disunity comes as South Sudan faces economic disaster and its worst hunger crisis since independence, with tens of thousands of people enduring famine-like conditions in the world’s youngest nation.