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JUBA - 14 Jan 2020

Renovation of Machar's home underway

Progress was unveiled today on the refurbishment of the main opposition leader’s official residence in the capital Juba.

The residence of Riek Machar in the Amarat neighborhood of central Juba has been neglected for six years. The house was attacked in December 2013 when a political dispute between President Salva Kiir and Machar, his then-deputy, escalated into a military confrontation.

The September 2018 peace deal brokered by the East African bloc IGAD reinstates Machar as first vice-president, one of five vice-presidents. The ongoing renovations come as a 22 February deadline for forming a transitional government approaches.

A.F.K. Concept Ltd, a Lebanese company undertaking the project, told Radio Tamazuj that work is now underway to complete several structural renovations at the home of the first vice president designate.

Maaz Hamza, an engineer responsible for refurbishement, said the opposition leader’s official residence is undergoing significant renovations and they are expected to hand it over to the national government next month.

“The government wants the house to be ready within a month. I am sure the house will be ready before mid-February because our working going on well,” Maaz said.

Following the 2015 peace pact that fell apart, Machar was appointed as first vice president in April 2016 and was staying in the neighborhood of Jebel on the west side of Juba.

Machar, who lives in Sudan, is currently in Juba to hold talks with President Kiir on the contentious issue of the number of states and their boundaries.

The rival parties have twice failed to form the unity government, first in May 2019 and then in November the same year, when they agreed to give themselves100 days to resolve disputed issues and form a unity government by 22 February 2020.

Under the terms of the peace deal, the parties are to create a unified army to reduce the chances of fighting again and agree on the number of states and their boundaries.

The process of gathering government and opposition troops into joint military training camps is underway.