July 8, 2015 (NAIROBI) – South Sudanese former vice president, Riek Machar, who leads armed opposition faction of the ruling (SPLM) party, has declared president Salva Kiir illegitimate as of Wednesday, 8 July midnight hour, and called on him to step down or face moves to overthrow his regime.
“The SPLM/SPLA would therefore like to categorically declare the government of Salva Kiir, the national legislature, and the state governments and the state legislative assemblies as unconstitutional and illegitimate as of midnight of July 8, 2015,” declared Machar in a statement extended to Sudan Tribune on Wednesday.
“The SPLM/SPLA appeals to president Salva Kiir to resign from office and dissolve his entire government,” he said.
The opposition leader issued the strong worded warning during a press conference he held in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, on Wednesday on the eve of the South Sudan’s 4th independence day anniversary, which also coincides with the coming to an end of president Kiir’s constitutional five-year term in office.
He said by Wednesday midnight, the term of office of the president and that of the national legislature shall have expired according to the provisions of the transitional constitution, 2011, warning that any decision to extend it unconstitutionally without a mandate from the people would not be recognized.
“According to the aforementioned Transitional Constitution 2011, sovereignty of the country is vested in the people. It is through regular periodic elections after every five years that the people alone can renew the mandate of any legislature, the president, governors and MPs. To do otherwise is to usurp the power of the people, and this is illegal,” the rebel leader said.
President Kiir who took oath of office on 21 May 2010 as an elected semi-autonomous government’s president before independence of South Sudan had his term expired on 21 May 2015. His constitutional mandate given to him on 9 July 2011 also expires by midnight on 8 July 2015. No elections have been conducted due to the war.
The rebel leader said a peace agreement to end the 19-month long civil war would have replaced elections, but not unilateral unconstitutional act by parliament which its own term in office had already expired on 8 March this year.
Machar said both the positions of the executive (president and governors) and that of the national legislature and state assemblies expired on 21 May and 8 March, respectively, pointing out that any move that extended their terms of office by the national legislature after 8 March was also an unconstitutional act and therefore null and void.
He called on the people of South Sudan to rise up and overthrow the regime of president Kiir, which he said was from now on unconstitutionally imposing itself on the people of the new country, adding that the nation was “elapsing into very serious constitutional crisis.”
“Should president Kiir remain adamant and refuse to hand over power back to the people then the citizens have every right to rise up and overthrow his regime,” he declared.
He appealed to the “peace loving member states of the international community to withdraw their support and recognition from the illegitimate and genocidal government of Salva Kiir and isolate it maximally at both regional and international levels.”