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South Sudan Legislative Speaker Forced to Resign

FILE - A general view shows the building of the National Legislative Assembly of South Sudan, in Juba, June 11, 2012.

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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    John Tanza

    John Tanza works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters and is the managing editor and host of the  South Sudan In Focus radio program.
    Before joining VOA, John worked in Nairobi, Kenya where he established the first independent radio station (Sudan Radio Service) for the people of Sudan. He has covered several civil wars both in Sudan and South Sudan and has been engaged in the production of civic education materials for creating awareness about post conflict issues facing Sudanese and South Sudanese. John has interviewed South Sudan President Salva Kiir, former Vice President Riek Machar, Vice President Wani Igga, leader of Sudan’s Umma Party Sadiq Al Mahdi in addition to other senior United Nations and U.S government officials in South Sudan and Washington. His travels have taken him across to Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Egypt, Ethiopia, Syria, DRC Congo and parts East Africa where he reported on the South Sudanese diaspora and the challenges facing them.
    A South Sudanese national, John enjoys listening to music from all over the world, reads academic books, watches documentaries and listens to various radio stations on the internet.  You can follow John on Twitter at @Abusukon