JUBA (HAN) April 19. 2016. Public Diplomacy & Regional Security News. .South Sudan’s first vice president designate, Riek Machar, will be accompanied to the national capital, Juba, by hundreds of officials and staff members of the armed opposition faction of the SPLM-IO, his media official has said.
The top opposition leader skipped his scheduled return to Juba on Monday, 18 April, due to “logistical challenges.”
His press secretary, James Gatdet Dak, said the former vice president is however rescheduled to arrive in Juba on Tuesday, 19 April, following the last minute postponement on Monday.
“Hopefully the logistical challenges will be overcome and he [Machar] will arrive in Juba on Tuesday,” said James Gatdet Dak.
“Hundreds of officials, religious leaders and chiefs, in addition to his bodyguards, are expected to accompany him to Juba,” he told Sudan Tribune on Monday.
Upon arrival in Juba, Machar, straight from the Juba airport, would go to the state house to take oath of office as the country’s second powerful politician, who will also command his own forces as the commander-in-chief.
The transitional government will run the country for 30 months, pending conduct of elections at the end of the interim period.
LANDING CLEARANCE DELAYED MACHAR RETURN
The return of the SPLM-IO leader, Riek Machar, to Juba on Monday was delayed after a plane to pick up the opposition officials delayed to comply with Ethiopia Aviation’s protocol of landing procedures.
An official from the SPLM-IO office in Addis Ababa later on Monday told Sudan Tribune that two planes with one belonging to the Ethiopian airlines and a second one from a foreign airways were supposed to pick up the opposition officials today from Ethiopia’s Gambela Airport to Juba.
However the charter plane, which the official decline to reveal its identity, failed to secure landing permission in time causing delay to Machar’s scheduled flight.
According to the official, the SPLM-IO office in Addis Ababa is now working with the Ethiopian government and aviation officials to secure landing permission.
The first plane due to pick up Machar and the other high ranking opposition officials is already on ground in Gambella Airport.
The two Aircrafts are expected to depart on Tuesday morning, the first at about 7:00 a.m. and the second at around 9:00 a.m.
The trip duration is about 50 minutes.
The SPLM-IO chief of General staff, Simon Gatwech is expected to fly ahead of Machar’s departure.
The opposition official told Sudan Tribune that more than 400 SPLM-IO officials are due to arrive in Juba on Tuesday along with their leader to witness his swearing in to office as First Vice-President.
Members of the opposition advance team who were left behind are also flying tomorrow.
With regard to the delay, other opposition officials have also cited other reasons saying delays were because Machar’s bodyguards were denied to carry weapons into Ethiopia en route to Juba.
Machar’s arrival will be a landmark in the formation of a transitional government but implementing the remaining contentious issues particularly the disputes on 28 states will be a challenge ahead for the two leaders to resolve.
The proposal made by the SPLM-IO is based on the former 21 states which were established by the British.
Arresting the continued fighting and the lack of funds that are needed to implement the peace agreement are also other issues that will be addressed in Juba.