Juba — South Sudanese new Vice President James Wani Igga on Sunday swore to fulfil his duties as stipulated in the country's constitution. "Comrade President, since you have bestowed your confidence upon me, I will not let you and our great people down. I shall do my best to render the highest service I can to my country and people with unshakably dedication and commitment", Igga said.
The swearing in function was attended by senior members of government including President Salva Kiir and Chief Justice Chan Reec Madut who swore in the new Vice President.
James Wani Igga replaces Riek Machar as Kiir's Deputy. Machar, along with the entire cabinet were fired by the President last month.
Igga thanked the people of South Sudan for electing Kiir as their President. He described Kiir as 'full of wisdom' and 'talent' which he said will be useful in ushering South Sudan out of misery.
"I congratulate our people for electing an able president, a president full of wisdom and energy and a leader who will surely usher this nation out of misery and cohesively keep our people united, a number one requirement for any country", Igga told the audience at the swearing in ceremony. Loyalty to the country, peace with Sudan and other neighbours, he added. The Vice President said he will remain loyal to the country and its people.
"I will never let you down and will live up to the trust and expectations of people of all ethnics groups," he said. He also said he would work with the president to promote strong and peaceful relations with all the neighbouring countries including republic of Sudan.
"If you ask any of our people on the street here now, they will definitely tell you they need peace so that they can consolidate efforts to rebuild this country and nothing else. So for us as government, peace is more important than anything else. Our goal is to build an economic power and improve the standard of living of our people. Lack of peace caused war", he said.
The Vice President said he would work with the President whom he constantly referred to as "Comrade President", a term commonly used during the liberation struggle, to do "every thing possible to prevent a new war" within and outside the country.
Abraham Kuany Chol, a native of Northern Bahr el Ghazal who attended the swearing in ceremony expressed happiness for the appointment of James Wani Igga as vice president.
"I am happy that I witnessed today the swearing in of our new Vice President. I admire Wani for his jokes and humility", Chol told Sudan Tribune on Sunday.
Joseph Ngere Paciko, former deputy governor of Western Equatoria State and now a member of the National Legislative Assembly in Juba commended the appointment of his former boss in the house.
"Honestly speaking, the president has now found a good workmate. Comrade James Wani Igga is a humble man by nature. It is hard for him to do you wrong. He stays guarded and focused on his job assignment. I know him from the bush days and in the assembly where he served as the Speaker for eight years. He is simple and reconciliatory leader", said Ngere.
.Daniel Awet Akot, the deputy speaker of the national assembly said Igga was a popular choice.
"This is one of the happiest days for members of the general public. You can see and judge for yourself how his swearing ceremony has been attended. The level of attendance, some people were fighting security officers because they were not allowed to attend this function. This shows the popularity of the decision which comrade Salva Kiir Mayardit has taken", Akot said.
"Comrade James is an asset to this country. You know that he is well known for loyalty and demonstrated clear commitment to the vision and the mission of the SPLM. He is humble man and a true freedom fighter. He exhibited his patriotism many times in the way he handled national issues. He handles them with care and respect. He has strong leadership skills and team work. I wish him well. Comrade President had chosen a right comrade", Akot added
DIVIDE AND RULE POLICY
But critics of the new Vice President say Igga presided over a parliament which gave overwhelming powers to the President under the transitional constitution.
"It was in his time when we saw the house approving the current transitional constitution which gives the president all these sweeping powers. For me, I see nothing will change and this was why he was chosen. I do not know what he will do differently that his predecessor could not do. I also don't know what he would do differently that he could not do while a speaker of parliament," said a native of Central Equatorial, who preferred to remain anonymous.
The source also said the current leadership in South Sudan is growing intolerant to divergent views adding that Igga's appointment is a divide and rule policy by Kiir.
"His appointment is the advancement of the divide and rule policy. It is a trick to divide and rule our people. If they wanted Equatoria to lead, they should have asked our views. We have people, very strong people who have excellent leadership skills, experience and political knowledge", he argued.
However, James Pitia Morgan, South Sudanese deputy head of mission in India, downplayed the views held by the critics and commended the appointment of Igga stressing that the Vice President has all that takes for someone to be a leader.
"Comrade Wani has all that takes to be a leader. During the 21 bitter years of our struggle, he never crossed lines, his resolve was determined once and for all. Like Dr. John Garang de Mabior onetime said in Mundri, Western Equatoria: We can lose everything in our possession, but we would not lose our land. Comrade Wani James shared the same view," said Morgan