South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit has relieved his First Vice President Riek Machar Teng of office, leading to speculation that the country may slowly slide into chaos again.
Announced through a presidential decree ‘appointment of the first vice president of the Republic of South Sudan’, Mr Kiir appointed General Taban Deng Gai the new vice president.
South Sudan became independent five years ago, but two years down the road the country broke out into war that was temporarily contained when the two warring factions signed a peace deal in August 2015 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
However, two weeks ago forces loyal to Kiir and Machar engaged in a bitter exchange of fire, forcing the latter to flee Juba and go into hiding.
But Kiir gave him an ultimatum to go back to the city by last Saturday, a ‘directive’ Machar ignored, leading to the Monday announcement of Deng Gai as vice president.
Over the years since Independence in 2011 the relations between President Kiir, Machar and Deng Gai has not been a rosy affair, and in July 2013, Kiir dismissed Machar as his deputy and also fired Gen Deng Gai from the governorship of Unity State.