South Sudan opposition faction of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM-IO) chief negotiator, Taban Deng Gai, has landed a ministerial position in the new transitional government of national unity.
James Gatdet Dak, Riek Machar’s spokesperson, confirmed the appointment of Taban as mining minister.
Gatdet dismissed the rumour that was circulating claiming Taban had resigned from the party all together.
“It is not true that H.E. General Taban Deng Gai, Mining Minister, has resigned from the SPLM-IO as rumoured and circulated on social media,” Gatdet said.
“He just feels that his direct role as Chief Negotiator should come to an end and be replaced with another official.”
Taban has been the SPLM-IO’s chief negotiator under the leadership of the newly sworn in First Vice-President Machar, for two years since peace negotiations with President Salva Kiir’s government began in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in January 2014 to end the civil war which erupted on 15 December 2013 in the country.
Taban, a former governor of the oil rich Unity state, was also appointed as minister of mining in the newly sworn in transitional government of national unity per nomination by Machar.
Taban Deng Gai served as governor of Unity State since 30 September 2005.
In the April 2010 elections the state electoral body announced that Taban Deng Gai won by 137,662 votes, beating runner-up Angelina Teny who won 63,561 votes.
The defeated parties said in a joint statement that there had been widespread rigging and called for a review by the National Elections Commission.
Angelina Teny said she would not accept or recognize the results.