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South Sudan’s Rebecca Garang calls on President Kiir to step down

Rebecca Garang (Al Jazeera Photo)

December 20, 2017 (JUBA)- Rebecca Garang de Mabior, widow of the founding leader of South Sudan’s ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) said the conflict in the country would never be resolved unless President Salva Kiir steps down.

Speaking at the IGAD-brokered forum to revitalize the implementation of a peace deal signed in 2015, Rebecca described the government of President Kiir as “ineffective and should be replaced”.

“If you are afraid to say it, I am saying it, because there is nothing they are delivering. Three weeks ago, hundreds of people died. How many people do we need to die in order for us to see this government is not delivering and should be replaced?”

The former presidential adviser on gender and human rights before falling out with President Kiir, leading to her sacking, quoted her late husband to describe the inability of the government to deliver.

“The way forward for the government in Juba is to go because there is nothing that they can deliver. Dr John (Garang) used to say the government in Khartoum is too deformed to be reformed. It is this government in Juba which is too deformed to be reformed,” said Rebecca.

Rebecca was one of the senior party officials who showed interest in the leadership of the ruling SPLM in 2013. Their calls for Kiir’s resignation built tensions that escalated into a full-scale war when presidential guards of the deputy SPLM chairman and Vice President Riek Machar clashed with their colleagues who backed President Kiir in the army caserns outside Juba.

The two men later signed a peace deal in 2015 but could not work together to implement what they signed. Their forces fought each again in July 2016, unravelling the deal and forcing Machar to flee the country.

As a result of the war, tens of thousands may have died. More than two million people have also fled the country to neighbouring in search of peace and security. A humanitarian organization described the movement out of the country to neighbouring states as the largest national exodus in Africa in 20 years.

This week, however, another round of regionally brokered peace talks began in Ethiopia on Monday.

Since last year’s collapse of the peace deal, government forces in collaboration with an SPLM-IO splinter faction led by the First Vice President Taban Deng Gai scored significant military victories across the country. While other armed groups have failed to unite their ranks.

The East African regional bloc has failed to convince them to unite or form an alliance to negotiate with the government. Each group is negotiating as an independent and a separate group