South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir sacks VP, dissolves cabinet


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South Sudanese President Salva Kiir Mayardit has relieved his deputy, the secretary-general of the ruling party, 17 brigadiers in the police service and every national minister and deputy minister in his government in a series of decrees issued today and broadcast via the state radio in Juba.

Vice President Riek Machar has been relieved of office and it is not clear who will replace him. All of the other national ministers and their deputies are also relieved at this time and no replacements named. The undersecretaries and other officials should continue to work as normal to carry on the functions of government, according to one decree.

Additionally, according to the first decree announced by state radio, SPLM Secretary Pagan Amum Okiech has been suspended and will be investigated by a committee chaired by Speaker of the Assembly James Wani Igga who will be deputized by the former governor of Lakes State Daniel Awet with MP Bashir Bandi as secretary.

The party leader is accused of “administrative mismanagement” within the party, and the investigation will report back within 30 days to the president, who is also chairman of the party.

The president’s move today comes after several weeks of rumours of tensions with the vice president. The two were most recently at odds over the removal of Unity State Governor Taban Deng Gai last week. Vice President Machar was rebuked by an earlier decree in April removing “delegated powers” from him

According to a source at the presidency, the ministers will be replaced in a “very short time, as soon as possible”. The source downplayed possible security implications of the political events, saying that “everything is calm.”

In Bentiu, the capital of Unity State, streets were reported to be calm immediately after the announcement. A witness in Gudele neighbourhood of Juba reported seeing police deploying at a junction where forces are not normally stationed, and saw additional vehicles moving toward Juba

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