Machar forced by circumstances to accept Angelina job, says Baluang

The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO) broke its silence over the appointment of Angelina Teny as the minister for interior, and her subsequent swearing-in yesterday, saying the new role has not solved the issues the party raised when she was fired.

The Spokesperson in the Office of the First Vice President, Puok Baluang, said, that despite the swearing-in of Teny to take over the new docket, the opposition party is still focused on having its grievances resolved.

Baluang told The City Review after Teny took the oath of office yesterday that the SPLM-IO would not give up until President Salva Kiir meets the committee that was tasked with addressing the issues agreed upon.

“The deadlock is not only about the swap of the ministry of defence, but there are a lot of issues about the agreement that need to be discussed,” Baluang said.

“The appointment of Angelina does not change the deadlock, so the deadlock is still in place until the two parties meet and discuss the issues of the deadlock.”

According to Baluang, it took massive sacrifice and compromise by the First Vice President Dr Riek Machar to accept the appointment of Teny as the minister of interior. Machar had observed that the Ministry of Interior had been without a minister for a long time and it is such a crucial docket that should not be fallow for such a long time.

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He said that despite all the challenges around deadlock, and the perceived violation of the implementation of the peace agreement, Dr Machar decided to submit the name of Teny for the appointment.

However, Baluang argued that the president was supposed to consult the SPLM-IO and give the party time to think about whether to agree on the swap of ministries or disagree. He said there was no consultation made.

He maintained that the head of state ought to have consulted the SPLM-IO on the issue of swapping the two ministers because what transpired was a unilateral decision to “grab the minister of defence and exchange it with the minister of interior,” which they still consider a violation of the peace agreement.

“The two parties agreed to form a committee composed of the minister of petroleum, Puot Kang from SPLM-IO, and Bol Mel, the presidential advisor so that they could discuss the issues of the deadlock, until now the meeting has not taken place,” he said.

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Pledge made

Teny was sworn in as the new minister alongside Marial Gumke who will deputise her in the ministry.

Speaking during the swearing-in event, President Salva Kiir instructed Teny and her deputy, Maria Gumke, to collaborate to steer the docket into its set achievements.

Teny affirmed her commitment to improving the working environment between the ministry and personnel to improve its performance.

Gumke stated that he will collaborate with colleagues in the ministry to achieve the overall political leadership direction.

Dr. Isaiah Akol Mathiang, the Deputy Governor of Lakes State, was among those who took the oath of office. Chief Justice Chan Reec Madut presided over the inauguration event.

Teny and Gumke were appointed in a presidential decree read out last week at the state broadcaster, SSBC.

Teny was relieved in March 2023 in a presidential decree that also saw the dismissal of former minister of interior, Solomon Mahmoud. The SPLM-IO bitterly disagreed with the changes, arguing it amounted to a violation of the revitalised peace agreement signed by the parties. According to the main armed opposition party, President Kiir ought to have decided in consultation with Dr Machar as envisaged in the agreement but that did not happen. The SPLM leaders jumped to the defence of the head of state, with the government spokesperson, Michael Makuei, and SPLM Secretary-General, Peter Lam, arguing that Kiir exercised the powers within the transitional constitution as the appointing authority.

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