, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 17 – Newly appointed South Sudan Vice President Taban Deng Gai on Wednesday warned his predecessor Dr Riek Machar that he will be stopped at all costs if he attempts to go on the offensive.
Gai who was in Kenya to brief President Uhuru Kenyatta on the progress of implementing the peace agreement warned that President Salva Kiir’s government would not allow Machar to interfere with peace and security of South Sudan.
- During his meeting with President Kenyatta, Gai said he appealed for assistance to feed the people of South Sudan reeling in harsh times and agreed to send a technical team to dialogue on Kenya's intervention
- Minister of Petroleum Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth who was part of the delegation accompanying the Vice President urged investors to explore the oil industry
- Following the violence of July 8 in which about 300 people were killed, he said production of oil had fallen from 500,000 barrels of oil per day to 130,000
“If he is on the offensive and he is killed, he will be dying a fallen general in the battle. Violence has consequences,” he warned.
In a past interview with Capital FM News, Machar’s Spokesman James Gatdet said the former Vice President would force his way to capture Juba and evict Kiir if a third force does not intervene to assure him of his security once he resumed to his position.
He further alleged that he had gone into hiding because Kiir wanted him dead.
Gai defended President Kiir saying there were no plans to kill Machar as long as he does not engage in any form of violence.
“That Riek claimed that Kiir is about to kill him, is Machar matching to Juba or is he about to be killed?”
“If he is matching to Juba, of course the first thing is that the army in Juba will be prepared to defend Juba. Defending means you don’t sit there, you have to fight. Matching to Juba doesn’t look good,” Gai cautioned.
He advised Machar to surrender to any African country if he was worried over his return to Juba but ensure that he did not involve himself or his army in fighting.
Gai, whose appointment was criticised by sections in support of Machar further said he was ready to step down if Machar returned to Juba and insisted on taking up his position as VP but peacefully.
“If my stepping down can bring peace to South Sudan, I am ready when that time comes. If Riek comes and for there to be peace that he must return back to the Palace, we shall discuss that including Machar if you come back to your office, this time you don’t need a huge army to move with you, this time you need to listen to the people of Sudan – they don’t need crisis anymore,” he said.
He explained that he took up the position to ensure implementation of the peace agreement had not stalled and also to create harmony within the presidency in basis of the sharp tension between Kiir and Machar.