Friday, January 26, 2018

South Sudan’s Taban Rejects Stepping Down of Salva Kiir From Power
SPLM-IO Chief Negotiator, Taban Deng Gai, speaking to journalists at Juba airport upon his return from Pagak with his team, 22 January 2016. (ST Photo)

January 26, 2018 (JUBA)- Taban Deng Gai, whom President Salva Kiir appointed into the position of the first vice president in replacement of his main political rival and former first vice president turned rebel leader, Riek Machar, said he does not advocate the removal of his boss from power.

“I don’t advocate for Salva Kiir to leave power. He is an equilibrium of peace and unity just like Dr John Garang. If Dr John was to be alive, when will he leave power, asked Gai?"

“There is what we call a leader such Salva Kiir”, he added.

The remarks sparked debates in social media, with many people asking the cause for joining armed resistance with Machar at the start of the conflict in the country in 2013.

Taban made the remarks at a news conference at which he was updating the media of the objective of his two-week visit to Jonglei following his return to the capital, Juba.

The state-owned South Sudan Broadcasting Corporation repeatedly played the clip carrying the remarks after he held the press conference on Thursday. Gai said a liberator and liberators don’t leave power in Africa voluntarily. He compared South Sudan to Uganda, asking why President Yoweri Museveni changed the constitution to stay in power because liberators leave power voluntarily.

“If he leaves power, what will happen to Uganda? I am among those who advocate president Salva Kiir should continue in power leading the nation because he is equilibrium, he said.

The former chief negotiator of the movement under the overall leadership Machar before the split in July 2016 after he was forced to flee the country following the resumption of hostilities in the capital, Juba, declared his intention never to step down from power.“I will not step aside Riek Machar. Replacement of Taban Deng or Wani Igga can only be something that adds value”, said Gai.

Observers underlined Gai joined the rebellion in protest for removal from a gubernatorial position and was now willing to stifle the checks and balances of government to pass his agenda. Gai, according to the same analyst, was paranoid and willing to go to criminal means to hold on to power. Gai used power to level personal grievances.


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