JUBA (HAN) April 26, 2016. Public Diplomacy & Regional Security News..South Sudanese government has announced on Monday that it was preparing to receive the first vice-president designate, Riek Machar, in Juba on Tuesday, and to be sworn in as first vice-president, the second most powerful position in the country.
- The announcement comes following the arrival of General Simon Gatwech Dual, chief of general staff of the armed opposition faction of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA-IO), ending weeks of speculations about when he (Dual) and Machar would return to the national capital.
Machar is expected to form a transitional government with President Salva Kiir while General Dual is to participate in the overseeing of the transitional security arrangement matters with his counterpart, General Paul Malong Awan. General Awan was not in the country when his counter-part arrived.
The opposition leader, besides being first vice-president, will also command a separate army and police in the country for over one year before his faction’s national army is reunified with the army commanded by President Salva Kiir.
He will also nominate 10 cabinet ministers from his faction in addition to governing oil-rich states of Unity and Upper, while the government will have 16 ministers and other political parties and former detainees, 2 each in the 30-member cabinet.
The Monday return of General Dual follows a week of delays caused in part by disagreements over numbers of troops and weapons they were permitted to carry. The government on Saturday issued clearance permitting the landing of two flights on Monday.
But Machar’s flight could not land on Monday as it was initially announced. But government officials say they are preparing for his reception planned for Tuesday so that he will immediately be sworn in as first vice president upon arrival.
“He (Machar) wants to be sworn in on arrival but now it is already late. If he comes now, you think it will be possible to speak to the media upon arrival at Juba international airport in less than two minutes, go to J1 (presidential palace) and be sworn in in less than two minutes and go to the mausoleum of late John Garang to pay his respect as it is in his itinerary plan?” wondered a presidential aide on Monday.
“This is inconceivable and impractical. The preparation which we are making now is for tomorrow [Tuesday],” he revealed.
Presidential spokesperson, Ateny Wek Ateny, also confirmed in a statement that the government was on Monday planning for Tuesday, 26 April, 2016, to receive Machar.
General Taban Deng Gai, opposition’s chief negotiator during the peace talks with the government and who has been in the national capital, Juba, since December last year as part of the advance teamm did not make any public comments regarding the coming or not coming of Machar on Tuesday.
Gai has, however, been heard talking on telephones and holding meetings with different officials from the government and at the meetings of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) about the return of Machar.
The internal bureau of the national security service has issued a green light authorizing officials at the airport to allow the landing of two flights on Monday which brought in a total of 195 troops of the opposition with their army chief.
But security and protocol officers at Juba airport said they would require another permit for Tuesday’s flight to bring Machar and would expect to receive a go ahead from the presidency.