South Sudan Legislative Speaker Forced to Resign

A South Sudan flag blows in the breeze at the airport in Malakal, South Sudan.

The speaker of South Sudan’s transitional legislative assembly, Anthony Lino Makana, has been forced by his party members to resign.

Makana resigned during a meeting of the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) caucus held in Juba on Sunday.

“You [President Salva Kiir] requested me to do so through the emissaries that you sent to me. Therefore...I hereby humbly and respectively tender my resignation as [the] speaker,” Makana said in a speech Sunday.

The now-former speaker refused to resign in November when lawmakers from the SPLM threatened to vote him out office.

The SPLM lawmakers accused Makana of allegedly embezzling funds and approving a $400 million loan from Afrexim Bank without bringing it first to the house as required by law.

Makana denied wrongdoing and threatened to sue lawmakers for tarnishing his image.

“I am ready to launch a legal case before a court of law if need be against anyone for character assassination and defamation," Makana warned Sunday.

President Kiir appointed Makana the speaker of the assembly in August 2016 following the signing of the first peace deal between the government and rebels led by former vice president Riek Machar.

Makana said the reason for tendering his resignation is an act of deep and sincere respect for Kiir’s leadership. The former speaker read his resignation letter during a meeting attended by Kiir, who is the chairman of the SPLM.

SPLM lawmakers have accused Makana of being too loyal Kiir and his cabinet, making it difficult for parliament to hold allegedly corrupt ministers accountable.

Makana is the first house speaker to resign in the eight-year history of South Sudan. The SPLM has yet to nominate his replacement.

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