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Fighting poverty in South Sudan should be SPLM’s top priority: Salva Kiir

Salva Kiir speaks to the SPLM retreat held in Lobonok county on Sunday 2 Dec 2018 (ST)
December 3, 2018 (JUBA) - South Sudan President and leader of the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) Salva Kiir called to rebuild the historical party to liberate the country from poverty.

Speaking before an SPLM retreat organized in Lobonok county of Jubek State on Sunday, President Kiir said the conditions in which South Sudanese lived before the independence did not change. " Did we liberate our people from Jalaba (North Sudanese) only to starve in our hands?" He wondered.

In his speech to the party members for the first time since the end of the 5-year civil war, Kiir said the revitalized peace agreement should herald the beginning of struggle liberate South Sudanese from poverty.

"From my perspective, the greatest enemy of the people of South Sudan is poverty, which is the mother of illiteracy, poor health, fighting, corruption and nepotism, hatred and jealousy. We must, without fail, confront poverty head-on and the SPLM must lead," said.

However, Kiir admitted that the SPLM is at its weakest point now since its founding in 1983.

He further pointed out that this weakness can be explained by the division of the party which lost its common vision.

"We have paid too much attention to the pursuit of power and personal gratification and we have taken our eyes off the ball," he said.

"We must return our focus on the continuing work of liberation to liberate our people from poverty, from backwardness and from destitute," he further stressed.

The South Sudanese leader called on the holdout rebels to lay down their arms and to join the peace process.

Also, he called on the people of Lobonok to distance themselves from the rebel activities which may jeopardize South Sudan peace and stability.

The SPLM conference will discuss and adopt a roadmap to rebuild the historical party ahead of the 30-month transitional period which will be concluded by general elections.