The Political Bureau of Sudan People Liberation Movement – In Opposition (SPLM-IO) on Wednesday condemned generals who announced the ‘ouster’ of First Vice President Riek Machar from his political and military positions.
On Wednesday, a group of senior generals in SPLM-IO announced they had dismissed Dr Machar as commander of the group, accusing him of reneging on the movement’s vision.
The SPLM-IO generals ostensibly replaced Machar with his previous army Chief Simon Gatwech Dual with immediate effect.
“He [Dr Riek Machar] no longer represents the interest of the wider population in South Sudan – as he has become a part of the national government, compromising fundamental issues, hence his views are not helping the movement [SPLM/A-IO],” said the group spokesperson Brigadier General William Gatjiath Deng then.
But on Wednesday, Dr Machar’s allies dismissed the announcement.
Later in a press statement seen by The EastAfrican on Thursday, the opposition party senior political unit described the generals behind the announcement as “peace spoilers.”
“The bureau condemns in the strongest terms the ill-fated Kit-Gwang declaration. The three generals who met in Magenis don’t constitute SPLA-IO (military force of SPLM-IO) leadership of the Military Command.
“The Military Command is composed of the Commander in Chief, Chief of General Staff and his deputies, commanders of nine sectors, and commander of general headquarters. By the time the pronouncement was issued, Gen Gatwech had been relieved [of his position as the Chief of General Staff] and appointed Presidential advisor for peace,” reads the statement.
The party political bureau added that the generals’ announcement was intended to derail the formation of a unified professional national army.
“However, the situation is calm and we assure the people of South Sudan that it is under control”.
According to the 2018 peace accord, all opposition and government forces are supposed to be trained and unified under one professional national army, a condition that is yet to be fulfilled.