August 16, 2016 (JUBA)- August 16, 2016 (JUBA) - South Sudanese President, Salva Kiir, has unexpectedly called for an early election, two years ahead of schedule and before the completion of the implementation of the peace agreement which recommends a lot of institutional and political reforms for two and a half years of the transitional period.
- South Sudanese president Salva Kiir (Photo: Reuters)
President Kiir made the remarks weeks after he dislodged from Juba his former first deputy Riek Machar who is currently on the run in Equatoria region. The President said it was time to renew mandate from the people in an early election, which he believes to have no challenger.
“I believe we need a new mandate and trust from the people. I will therefore consult with other political leaders and pursue our transitional constitution provisions in order to reach general consensus on expediting electoral process," announced president Kiir in a speech on Monday in the national parliament.
He said the reason for calling for an early election is to avoid attempts to ascend to the office by other means than elections, claiming some people may take advantage of lack of new mandate from the people.
"We need to hear the voice of the people. If [we] don’t do so, may be someone will wake up one day and declare a coup,” he told members of parliament.
He also called for public support to continue to press ahead with economics and security reforms, his ambitious plan to kick-start the young nation’s stagnant economic growth using heavy government spending and economic reforms.
The president failed to say whether he would step down or not but called for unity as the only way to ensure success and development in the country.
“The road to prosperity should be paved with unity, not divisions, with goodwill and hard work, not endless futile conflict,” he said.
The head of state expressed optimism that his country would one day overcome challenges it is grappling to address.
“We believed and still believe that we can escape the dreaded curse of Africa: the perpetual ethnic and tribal discord, violence and the political instability and dysfunction which have sad characterized many African countries in the last fifty years. We believe we can do much better than that. We can learn from the experiences of others so that we do not repeat mistakes that constrained so many African leaders and led to their failure to develop their countries and deliver services to their people,” he said while reading it from a text.
“I still believe in that dream. I am confident we can turn our own experiences and challenges into success despite current political instability and insecurity that some people want to make a trade mark of South Sudan,” he added.
Elections in the war-ravaged nation were scheduled to be conducted in 2018 in accordance with the timetable outlined in the August 2015 peace deal.