Equatoria warms up for President Kiir’s endorsement

Equatoria warms up for President Kiir’s endorsement

The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) in the Equatoria region will soon flock to the streets of Juba for the endorsement of President Salva Kiir as the sole presidential candidate for the party in 2024 general elections.

The presidential press unit had disclosed on the eve of the 12th Independence Day commemoration that the head of state would pay a visit to all three regions across the country to preach peace, unity, and reconciliation parallel to his endorsement as the party flag bearer.

Yesterday, the governor of Eastern Equatoria State, Louis Lobong, the deputy governor of Western Equatoria State, Kennedy Gaaniko and the Deputy SPLM Chairperson in Central Equatoria State, Clement Kulang, briefed the president on the preparations for the rally.

The governor of Eastern Equatoria State Louis Lobong called for a huge turnout of party members and citizens in the Equatoria Region.

“We are informing SPLM members and the people of Equatoria to turn up in big numbers for the historical rally due to take place in Juba in the coming days”, Lobong said.

Last month, the supporters of the ruling party endorsed the head of state in Wau, Western Bahr El-Ghazal State, as the SPLM leaders in the four Bahr El-Ghazal States and Abyei Special Administrative Area mobilized the rally.

The chairman of the organizing committee, who doubles as the governor of Northern Bahr el Ghazal State, Tong Akeen Ngor, assured Kiir that the people of Bahr el Ghazal region would rally behind him in the 2024 polls.

“All the Bahr el Ghazal are behind you; you can go ahead, and the people of Bahr el Ghazal region will follow, because you will make SPLM strong,” Tong stated in a courageous voice in a short video shared by the office of the governor of Northern Bahr el Ghazal State.

“As the chairman of the organising committee, we had the plan for Kiir to come to Bahr el Ghazal because you people of Bahr el Ghazal said they don’t have anybody else apart from Kiir to stand for the presidential election,” he reiterated.

The head of state said he was confident that the party would plan for the general elections in 2024 and finish the transition.

“I am deeply touched by your endorsement, and your continued support to our historic party gives me confidence that we will stand together as we go towards elections next year”, Kiir noted, as quoted by the presidential press unit.

Kiir also promised the completion of the outstanding tasks in the revitalised agreement on the resolution of the conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS).

The roadmap for the extension of the revitalised agreement on the resolution of the conflict in South Sudan states that general elections will be held in December 2024, two months before the transitional period ends in February 2025.

But there have been doubts whether the government is fully committed to the elections, with the two leading parties exhibiting contrasting views. While SPLM holds a firm view on the prospects of having a poll next year, SPLM-IO has emphasised on accomplishing crucial chapters of the deal before the elections.

In July 2022, Regina Joseph Kaba, the Interim Secretary General of SPLM/A-IO stated that the SPLM-IO was far from preparing for elections.

The Director for Information and Public Relations in the office of the first vice president, Puok Both Baluang, had been quoted as saying SPLM-IO the election was the last item in implementation of the Revitalised Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS).

 “Elections are the endpoint of the agreement, and this was not a rally. After the graduation of the unified forces, we will transform from SPLM/SPLA-IO to SPLM-IO,” he explained.

According to Puok, his party’s main priority is to push for an exhaustive implementation of the revitalised peace agreement. On Thursday, the executive director of Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO), Edmund Yakani, called on the parties to the peace agreement to work on a common goal of holding the elections. Yakani accused the SPLM-IG and SPLM-IO of working in parallel to avoid holding the polls. However, the ruling party has for the umpteenth time, maintained that there will be no extension of the term of the transitional government next year.