Defense minister was unilaterally sacked, says Machar’s camp
The SPLM-IO faction led by First Vice President Riek Machar revealed that President Salva Kiir’s decision to sack the defense minister was not made in a proper manner.
On Friday evening, Kiir issued a decree removing Defense Minister Angelina Teny, a leading member of the opposition SPLM-IO, a principal party to the 2018 peace agreement.
Angelina Teny is also Machar’s wife.
The South Sudanese leader also removed Interior Minister Mahmoud Solomon, a member of the SPLM party. No reasons were cited for the sacking of the two ministers.
The defense ministry was under the SPLM-IO faction under Riek Machar whereas the interior ministry was under the SPLM party led by Kiir per a previous agreement reached by the parties before the formation of the transitional cabinet in March 2020.
The president issued another order that switched the two ministries, saying the ministry of defense will now be led by his party SPLM whereas the ministry of interior will be controlled by the SPLM-IO faction under First Vice President Riek Machar.
Kiir, Machar and other opposition leaders signed a peace agreement in 2018 that ended five years of civil war. But implementation has been slow, and the opposing parties have frequently disagreed over how to implement the key provisions of the deal, sparking speculation that such controversies could delay general elections in December 2024.
Puok Both Baluang, director of information and acting press secretary for Machar, said on his Twitter account that the decision issued by the president to remove the defense minister and switch the two ministries was taken unilaterally.
“The republican decree issued this evening by President Salva Kiir on the relieve of Hon. Angelina Teny, and the switching of ministries of defense & veterans affairs and Interior is unilateral and a new cycle of violating the Revitalized Agreement,” Puok said.
There was no immediate comment from Kiir’s camp.
In January, the SPLM-IO condemned and rejected a decision by President Salva Kiir to dismiss the speaker of the Jonglei State legislative assembly, saying it was illegal.
Amer Ateny Alier, a member of the SPLM-IO faction, had her appointment revoked in a presidential decree. Both sides are yet to resolve their dispute over the matter.