Riek Machar and National Dialogue Participation

Riek Machar Teny Dhurgon

Mr. Machar is a South Sudanese politician who served as the inaugural Vice President of South Sudan, from its independence in 2011 until 2013, and again briefly in 2016. Mr. Machar leads the rebel faction opposing the government of South Sudan known as SPLM-IO. What about Riek Machar and National Dialogue of South Sudan?

While he holds no official role in the organizing bodies of the National Dialogue, Mr. Machar’s participation in the South Sudan National Dialogue is widely viewed as crucial to its success. While Mr. Machar has so far declined to participate in National Dialogue talks, he remains interested in peace for South Sudan and is understood to support the concept of National Dialogue.

Mr. Machar has an open invitation to participate in the National Dialogue process and continues to be in informal communication with National Dialogue organizers via intermediaries.

“As much as we believe national dialogue is an important process for the people of South Sudan to engage in, however, it is our considered opinion that the priority is to end the raging genocidal war in the country.”
– Riek Machar, June 2017

Biographic Info

Machar obtained a Ph.D. in strategic planning in 1984 and then joined the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) during the Second Sudanese Civil War (1983–2005). Riek fell out with the SPLM/A leader John Garang in 1991 and formed a splinter group, the SPLM/A-Nasir. In 1997 Riek made a treaty with the Government of Sudan and became head of the government-backed South Sudan Defense Force (SSDF). In 2000 he left the SSDF and formed a new militia, the Sudan People’s Defense Forces/Democratic Front (SPDF), and in 2002 rejoined the SPLA as a senior commander. After the death of John Garang in July 2005, Riek Machar became vice-president of the autonomous Southern Sudan. He became vice-president of South Sudan on 9 July 2011 when the country became independent.

His vice-presidency in conjunction with Salva Kiir’s presidency has was viewed as a show of national unity. South Sudan is looking forward to Riek Machar and National Dialogue coming together.

Riek Machar and National Dialogue
Vice-president Riek Machar and President Salva Kiir marching together in a show of South Sudan national unity.