According to Machar’s side, the defense minister was fired unilaterally.
The SPLM-IO group, headed by First Vice President Riek Machar, disclosed that President Salva Kiir’s decision to fire the defense minister was done improperly.
Kiir signed a decree on Friday evening ousting Defense Minister Angelina Teny, a key member of the opposition SPLM-IO and a signatory to the 2018 peace accord.
Machar’s wife is Angelina Teny. South Sudan’s leader also fired Interior Minister Mahmoud Solomon, an SPLM member. The two ministers were fired for no apparent cause.
According to a previous agreement struck by the parties before the establishment of the transitional government in March 2020, the military ministry was under the SPLM-IO group headed by Riek Machar, while the interior ministry was under the SPLM party led by Kiir.
The president signed another order switching the two ministries, stating that the ministry of defense would now be governed by his SPLM party, while the ministry of interior will be led by the SPLM-IO group commanded by First Vice President Riek Machar.
Kiir, Machar, and other opposition leaders signed a peace accord in 2018 that brought the five-year civil war to a conclusion. Nevertheless, implementation has been delayed, and rival parties have regularly differed on how to execute important terms of the agreement, generating fear that such squabbles might prolong general elections in December 2024.
Puok Both Baluang, Machar’s director of information and acting press secretary, said on Twitter that the president’s decision to dismiss the defense minister and swap the two ministries was made unilaterally.
“The republican edict published this evening by President Salva Kiir on the relieving of Hon. Angelina Teny, as well as the switching of ministries of defense and veterans affairs and interior,” Puok stated.
Kiir’s camp did not respond immediately.
The SPLM-IO opposed and rejected President Salva Kiir’s decision to fire the speaker of the Jonglei State legislative assembly in January, calling it unlawful.
Under a presidential order, Amer Ateny Alier, a member of the SPLM-IO group, had her position cancelled. Both parties have yet to reach an agreement on the topic.