South Sudanese Minister Resigns, Declares Peace Deal 'Dead'
A South Sudanese minister resigned from his position on Monday, citing the end of the peace deal that was meant to put an end to the conflict between President Salva Kiir and Vice President and opposition leader Riek Machar as the reason for his resignation.
Lam Akol, who was the leader of the opposition Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-Democratic Change (SPLM-DC) party, was the agriculture minister in Mr. Kiir’s administration.
According to The Guardian, at a press conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Mr. Akol said, “There is no more peace agreement to implement in Juba.”
This is in reference to the peace agreement signed in August 2015 by the ruling party and the opposition party to end a civil war that had lasted two years and led to the installment of Mr. Machar as Vice President of the youngest country in the world. But with the appointment of the new Vice President, Tabang Deng Gai, the minister of mining, the status of the peace deal remains uncertain.
“All of us agree that the regime in Juba must change,” he was quoted as saying.
“I went into the cabinet to implement the peace agreement,” he added. “If the peace agreement has died, I have no moral justification to continue in that government.”
After a clash between the opposing parties earlier in July, Mr. Machar has been hiding in the capital since the violence erupted earlier in July, saying that he feared for his life. He stated he would only return after more international troops are deployed to act as a buffer between the factions.
Mr. Akol stated, “If you don’t have the first vice president, then who is your next partner in the peace agreement?”
Mr. Kiir is yet to make a statement indicating whether the peace deal is annulled.
He resigned from his ministerial position, his role as chairman of the Democratic Change Party and the National Alliance of opposition groups.
“Since the agreement is dead and there is no free political space in Juba, the only sensible way to oppose this regime so as to restore genuine peace… is to organize outside Juba,” Mr. Akol said.
Mr. Akol was the Minister of Agriculture and a member of the commission that monitored implementation of the peace deal of 2015.