South Sudan rebel leader appointed vice president

AFP/File / Majak Kuany, Majak Kuany Hands together: South Sudan President Salva Kiir, left, and rebel leader Riek Machar in Juba on December 17 last year

South Sudan President Salva Kiir on Friday appointed rebel leader Riek Machar as vice president, after the two men finally agreed to form a long-delayed unity government — a crucial step towards ending six years of war.

A presidential decree included “the appointment of the vice presidents and the dissolution of all institutions at national and state levels,” Information Minister Michael Makuei told AFP.

The decree was read on state television, the South Sudan Broadcasting Corporation, appointing Machar as the first of five vice-presidents in a bloated cabinet to accommodate various warring parties.

But consensus has only been reached on three of the four others, including current first vice president Taban Deng Gai — a former Machar ally who defected.

James Wani Igga from Kiir’s ruling party, and Rebecca Nyandeng, a former minister and Kiir ally-turned-critic are the other named vice-presidents as part of the long-awaited unity government..

The swearing-in ceremony will take place on Saturday, Makuei said. Kiir had initially said his longtime rival would be sworn-in on Friday, after they had reached the unity deal

“The vice presidents will take oath tomorrow and thereafter we will continue to process the appointments of the cabinet and appointment of the governors of the 10 states and three chief administrators of the three administrative areas,” Makuei told AFP.

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