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South Sudan deserves better than Salva Kiir, says activist


October 8, 2020 (WASHINGTON) – South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir may have been commended for his successful mediation in Sudan’s conflict, but his own management of affairs in the world’s youngest nation has largely been “disastrous”, a leading political activist said.

President Kiir waves hand to greet the Sudanese during the signing ceremony of Sudan democratic transition deal on 17 August 2019 (Reuters Photo)

In an op-ed published in The Washington Post on Thursday, Peter Biar Ajak said under the leadership of Kiir, quality of life has deteriorated.

“South Sudan cannot address its enormous challenges and thrive with Kiir in charge. Any hope for a better future lies with finding a rapid path to credible elections, which will finally allow the South Sudanese people to vote for leaders of their choice,” he said.

An estimated nearly 400,000 people in South Sudan lost their lives following the outbreak of a civil war in mid-December 2013, while millions were displaced internally and into the neighboring countries.

According to the activist now living in exile, Kiir has shown little interest in implementing the revitalized peace agreement reached in September 2018.

“Although it brought many of the warring factions back to Juba, Kiir’s unwillingness to deliver on the specific commitments within it, the merging of warring militias into a national army, the reconstitution of the parliament and the establishment of sub-regional governments has created great risks of a new conflict emerging,” he argued.

The activist blamed the South Sudan leader for the inter-communal violence in many parts of the country, weak economy, rampant corruption practices and numerous cases of human right violations.

“South Sudan cannot improve the quality of life for its people with Kiir in power. He knows that the South Sudanese people will never reelect him in free, fair and credible elections. He sees conflict, endless negotiations to nowhere and severe repression as the only way of maintaining his grip on power,” further wrote Biar.

He added, But if the people can finally vote, they will undoubtedly send him home and elect visionary leaders who will rebuild South Sudan and restore enduring peace, development and human rights for all its people,”.

Last week, African leaders gathered in South Sudan’s capital, Juba to witness the signing of the Juba Peace Agreement, which promises to end decades of conflict in Sudan’s Darfur, Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile regions. The agreement, brokered by Kiir, is yet another milestone in Sudan’s gradual transition to peace and democracy.


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