JUBA: South Sudan President Salva Kiir named veteran ex-rebel commander James Wani Igga to be his deputy yesterday, succeeding the controversial former vice-president Riek Machar, state radio said.
Igga, Speaker of South Sudan’s Legislative Assembly since 2005, appears a choice to balance ethnic diversity among leaders of the young nation and shore up support ahead of elections due in 2015.
Deputy Chairman of the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), Igga comes from the Bari tribe, whose homeland surrounds the capital Juba. Last month Kiir took the surprise move of sacking the entire cabinet as well as Machar, a charismatic but controversial leader who fought on both sides of Sudan’s brutal 1983-2005 civil war.
The purge initially created fears of reopening civil war splits between the majority Dinka people of Kiir and the Nuer tribe of Machar, but the fledgling nation reacted calmly. However, Igga’s appointment is seen as a way for Kiir to stem critics who argue too much power has been concentrated in the Dinka people. AFP