It wasn’t my wish to extend term of transitional gov’t – President Kiir

It wasn’t my wish to extend term of transitional gov’t – President Kiir
President Salva Kiir Mayardit. [Photo: Courtesy]

‘‘I did not accept the extension of the transitional period because I wanted to hold onto power.’’ Those were the words of President Salva Kiir as he took to floor at Freedom Hall in Juba Thursday evening to announce the extension of term of of the transitional government by nearly two years. 

President Kiir was responding to criticism from a section of leaders and citizens that the extension was a plot by the political elites to stay in power without facing electorates in the ballot.

The decision to extend the term of the agreement by 24 months, according to President Kiir—was made to prevent recurrent conflicts before elections.

 “I’m informing the people of South Sudan that the political parties who signed the revitalised peace agreement to resolve the conflict have unanimously agreed to the 24-month extension of the interim period,” said Kiir.

“I want you to understand why we reached this decision. We are not extending the transition because I want to stay in the government longer. We don’t want to rush you into an election that will take us back to war. “

“I have been fighting since I was a teenager. You can see me now where I have reached and how many months are still left for me to spend in this world.”

Kiir claimed that the fighting in 2013 and 2016 was caused by internal disputes within the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), resulting in a bloodbath conflict than the liberation struggle itself.

 “When we founded the government of the Republic of South Sudan, we had the opportunity to build a country we will all cherish and defend but as your leaders, we lost the direction after independence. Instead of building an effective state and cohesive nation, we began fighting among ourselves for power. As a result, we took you back to an even bitter war where brothers fought themselves for seats”.

The revitalised agreement, according to the president, was “a chance for us to correct our mistakes.’’

According to the head of state, unforeseen forces derailed the process of implementation of key tasks from being.

Some of the factors, Kiir said, was luck of funds adding that the government was left alone to fund the agreement.

Speaking over the unimplemented tasks, Kiir said:  “We must prioritise some to succeed as a country. I consider the constitution making, the unification of the army, and the conduct of the census necessary to implement decisions and establish a new government without reverting to war. “

‘‘Unifying the army will protect the outcomes of elections against spoilers who would use it as an occasion for violence. The constitution-making process will also determine what type of government the people of South Sudan want, be it decentralized, centralized, federal, parliamentary, presidential, and others.’’

“These choices, if wisely decided, will set a record of progress for centuries to come. The census will provide details upon which we will determine the details of voting, state formation, and nation building. We will redouble our reform to complete these to lead you to a successful election and build an effective government, “he remarked.

Key tasks pending

According to the First Vice President, Dr Reik Machar, 72.7 per cent of the tasks of the agreement are not implemented. This means that only 27.3 per cent of the provisions are implemented and 31.3 per cent are in progress. He said the extension was genuinely for implementing the agreement.

“We have no choice; we have to extend.” Our concern was if we extend, how do we send it to the South Sudanese because some people extend for the sake of being in power, but what choice do you have if you don’t extend? “

“We are going for an extension of 24 months and we will implement it.” Machar committed.