South Sudan President Salva Kiir on Wednesday sacked the foreign minister, the president’s spokesperson said, less than a week after the dismissal of the ministers of defence and interior and he did not provide an explanation.
Foreign minister Mayiik Ayii is a close ally of Kiir, and previously served as the minister of the president’s office.
It wasn’t immediately clear if Ayii’s termination was linked to those of the defence and interior, which have threatened to destroy a fragile peace deal with opposition leader First Vice President Riek Machar.
“It’s a normal business. People can be relieved and replaced,” Kiir’s spokesperson Lily Martin Manyiel said.
Kiir and Machar’s forces signed a peace agreement in 2018 that ended five years of civil war that killed 400,000 people and caused Africa’s biggest refugee crisis since the 1994 Rwandan genocide.
Implementation of the deal, known as the Revitalized Peace Agreement for South Sudan, has been slow and the opposing forces have clashed frequently over disagreements about how to share power.
Kiir and Machar were expected to meet on Thursday to try and resolve their differences, following the dismissal of defence minister Angelina Teny, who is also Machar’s wife.
Kiir handed the defence ministry to his party, a role which, under the terms of the agreement, is meant to be appointed by Machar’s party.
Machar condemned the move and called on Kiir to reinstate Teny, but did not threaten to walk away from the peace agreement.