The controversial current Vice-President of the autonomous government of Southern Sudan.
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Description of Work:
Riek Machar became the new vice-president of Southern Sudan after the death of John Garang. He appointed 90% of the Southern Coordination Council from his tribe (Nuer) excluding the largest tribe in Southern Sudan (Dinka).
There is controversy over the filiming of Machar meeting with leaders of the Ugandan Lords Resistance army in 2006. They are a rebel group labeled a terrorist organization by the US State Department in 2001. The leaders were also indicated as war criminals by the International Criminal court in October 2005. The film shows Machor handing over bundles of cash to the LRA leadership.
Machar mediated peace talks between the LRA and the Ugandan government for nearly two years. Machar said that the preparations for a joint military operation aganist the LRA leader Kony's fighters by Uganda, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo was prematures. Machar urged more talks. However, Machar's hope of a peaceful agreement was crushed when on April 10, 2008 Kony failed to appear on the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan border to sign a final peace agreement.
Shortly after there was another attack by the LRA killing 23 people including 14 Sudanese soliders. While Machar said he wanted an explanation of the attacks he still made it clear that he was open to talking to Kony.
On June 21, 2008 Machar wrote Kony in another attempt to bring him back to the negotiating tabe. In the letter Machar included proposals to help the stalled peace process.
(At a Glance)
Place of Origin: Sudan
In 1984 Machar was one of the earliest memebers of the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA/M) under John Garang.
In 1991 he left SPLA/M and with Lam Akol and Gordon Kong Choul formed SPLA-Nassir that in 1993 became SPLA-United. The group had the intent of overthrowing leader John Garang.
In June 1991 Machar married British aid worker Emma McCune. The marriage was considered controversial both among Machar's SPLA collegues and McCune's NGO community. McCune died in a car crash in Nairobi in 1993.
In 1997 Machar signed the Khartoum Peace Agreement that forced the National Islamic Front (NIF) to adopt a democratic constitution. However, the peace agreement is considered to be propoganda by the NIF government. When the peace agreement was signed by Machar it gave a signal to the NIF to start drilling oil in the South which continues to this day.
While the peace agreement offered self determination to the South on paper it made Machar the Assistant to the President of the Republic of Sudan and the President of the Southern Sudan coordinating council where he served from 1997-2000.
The Southern Sudan Defense Forces of which Machar was leader (later became SSIM) split into factions led by Machar and Paulina Matip. In January 2002 Machar defeated back into Garang's SPLA/M to become number three in the hierarchy, leaving Matip to control the SSDF.