August 5, 2021 (JUBA) – The Political Bureau of the armed opposition movement (SPLM/A-IO) has in the “strongest” terms condemned a decision by its military wing to oust chairman Riek Machar.
On August 3, the SPLM/A-IO military command under the Chief of General Staff First Lieutenant General Simon Gatwech Dual denounced the leadership of Machar and appointed the former as the new interim chairman of the armed opposition movement.
The decision to oust Machar, it noted in a statement, emerged after several members held a three-day meeting at Magenis (Kitgwang) Sector One headquarters in South Sudan’s Upper Nile state.
But Machar’s office, in a statement extended to Sudan Tribune on Thursday, said the three generals who met at Mangenis do not constitute the military command leadership of the SPLA-IO.
The military command council, it said, comprises of the commander in chief, chief of general staff and his deputies, commanders of the nine sectors and commander of the general headquarters.
“At the time if this [Kitgwang] declaration, General Simon Gatwech Dual has already been relieved from command and appointed as presidential advisor for peace,” partly reads the statement signed by the armed opposition leader.
“However, the military command does not make political decisions of the movement, but the political bureau or the national liberation council in the absence of the national convention,” it added.
The office of the First Vice President described those who issued the Kitgwang declaration as peace “spoilers,” whose actions were condemned by the political bureau.
“The declaration was intended to derail the formation of the unified command, graduation and deployment of the unified forces, which remain an outstanding priority after the conclusion of the reconstitution of the national legislature,” the statement stressed.
Meanwhile the armed opposition movement reiterated its commitment to the full implementation of the peace agreement in letter and spirit, urging other parties to the accord to do the same.
In September 2018, the warring factions in South Sudan’s civil war signed a revitalized peace agreement to end the country’s civil war. The peace accord stipulates that there shall be a transitional government formed after eight months of the pre-transitional period.