October 10, 2013 (JUBA) - South Sudanese president Salva Kiir Mayardit says he still enjoys support from the majority of the leadership council of his ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM).
Kiir said that he has not been shaken by the former rebel group’s internal squabbles, despite the wrangling drawing significant public and media attention.
The president made the remark in his office on Thursday during a meeting with the visiting delegation from South Africa’s ruling African National Congress, led by its vice- chairperson, Cyril Ramaphosa.
"You are welcomed to South Sudan and I hope you appreciate the weather and time. We look forward to working together with you so that we learn from each other. Our two parties share a lot in common. They are almost the same, economically, socially and politically", said Kiir as he offers a seat to the leader of the delegation.
Kiir was accompanied by the SPLM’s deputy secretary, Anne Ito. The secretary general of the SPLM, Pagan Amum has been suspended indefinitely since July for allegedly inciting violence and criticising Kiir’s leadership.
The ANC, which has remained the dominant force in South African politics since it came to power in 1994, has itself faced numerous internal power struggles and battled endemic corruption.
Kiir said his party and the country would certainly learn a lot from the exchange visits and dialogue.
"We will continue to work together so that we learn how you deal with your issues. The challenges you faced are similar to what we are facing but we are managing. The SPLM leadership is working hard to deliver services to our people while we consolidate peace and unity to guarantee stability. The recent changes in the government were meant to address some of the challenges. It was for the interest of our people and does not shake my leadership", he said.
He further added "I have a strong team and hard working comrades. I continue to get support from the leadership. The vice president you were together yesterday is part of the leadership. He is a committed person", said president Kiir referring to his new deputy, James Wani Igga.
Kiir sacked Riek Machar, who had served as his vice president since 2005, after he put himself forward for the SPLM nomination in the elections planned for 2015 and criticised Kiir’s record as president.
Igga spent the whole of Wednesday discussing and reviewing the status of the memorandum of understanding which the two parties signed last year to strengthen cooperation and accelerate learning.
Speaking to the press after the meeting, the deputy secretary general, Anne Itto said the delegation held a fruitful meeting with the president to brief about the whole purpose of the visit and convey greeting from his South Africa counterpart, Jacob Zuma.
Kiir, Itto said, "expressed support and appreciated our working relationship with African National Congress. There are a lot of things we have done with together. The training of cadres who have been going to South Africa is one of the benefits of having such bilateral relations. Our relations with ANC are historical."
Meanwhile, Cyril Ramaphosa, the vice chairman of South Africa’s ruling African National Congress expressed happiness and thanks to the leadership and the president for keeping peace in the country.
"We share similar history. We came out from a situation where we fought against racism and oppression, which is similar to what you experienced. So we have a lot in common to share", said Ramaphosa.