South Sudan Minister Resigns As Tension Heightens

As tension heightens in Juba, the South Sudan minister of Agriculture has resigned, calling for President Salva Kiir to step down, all the while accusing the peace deal brokered by President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar of being dead.

Lam Akol, the South Sudan minister of Agriculture was an influential member of the opposition party, Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-Democratic Change (SPLM-DC). He also rebuked rebel leader, Riek Machar for having no control over his forces.

“There is no more peace agreement to implement in Juba,” Akol said at a press conference in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

Akol added that there was no political space in South Sudan that could facilitate an effective recuperation of the state. He said that this could only happen outside Juba.

SEE ALSO: South Sudan Musicians Sing For Peace

“The only sensible way to oppose this regime, so as to restore genuine peace to our war-torn country, is to organise outside Juba,” he said.

A peace deal was brokered between opposition members, Kiir and Machar in 2015. However, when fighting resurged in Juba between loyalists of Riek Machar and President Salva Kiir, Machar fled the country. The sustainability of the peace deal was threatened further when President Salva Kiir appointed a new Vice President to succeed Machar.

SEE ALSO: U.N. Warns Salva Kiir Over South Sudan’s VP Replacement

President Kiir’s decision was born out of the failure of Machar to meet his ultimatum. He had called on his former deputy to return to Juba or risk having his position filled by someone else.

Machar did not, saying that he will only return when international forces are deployed to help salvage the problem in Juba. Kiir kept to his word and appointed General Taban Deng Gai who used to be an ally of Machar to be his new deputy.

The United Nations warned the South Sudanese government to be wary of actions that might threaten the peace deal, urging them to use the peace deal as a guideline when making important government decisions.