October 11, 2013 (JUBA) – South Sudan’s former vice-president, Riek Machar Teny, has called on the European Union (EU), as well as the wider international community to support ongoing efforts on democratic transformation processes and preparations for the upcoming 2015 general elections.
- South Sudan’s former vice-president, Riek Machar (Photo Reuters/Thomas Mukoya)
Machar, who is the first deputy chairperson of the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), made the appeal on Friday during a meeting at his residence in Juba with an EU delegation, led by the special representative to South Sudan, Rosalind Marsden.
His press secretary, James Gatdet Dak, told Sudan Tribune that the two-hour discussion touched on several issues that constituted challenges in the country.
A consistent advocate for the introduction of democratic principles throughout South Sudan’s decades-long liberation struggle, Machar has since declared his intention to contest for the party’s chairmanship and the presidency.
He has been mobilising support within the SPLM to unseat the incumbent chairperson, Salva Kiir Mayardit, in the party elections due to take place during its as yet unscheduled third national convention.
Machar has spoken critically of what he calls a tendency towards dictatorship in South Sudan, warning that the new country remained volatile and that society risked being polarised unless it was founded on solid democratic principles, such as free and fair elections, that would not give room to discontent and violent conflicts.
He said the 2010 elections, which consequently produced rebellions, some of which continue to date in Jonglei state, is an example of how poor democratic practices can lead to unrest and instabiity.
He said a credible election for 2015was vital for the country’s future, calling on the EU to provide financial and logistical support to help build a solid base for democracy and political stability in the young country.
Machar has expressed concern that some South Sudanese leaders merely pay “lip service” to democratic ideals, while at the same time shying away from actually implementing its principles, adding it was therefore a collective responsibility involving the international community to help put South Sudan on the right path.
SPLM AND ANC TO REACTIVATE MoU
Machar also commended a recent visit by the leadership of South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC), saying the ANC delegation had shared important experiences with the SPLM on transformation processes during a two-day seminar in Juba.
He explained that the delegation, led by ANC deputy chairperson Cyril Ramaphosa had conducted fruitful presentations and discussions with the SPLM leadership, which was attended by both Machar and new vice-president James Wani Igga, as well as members of the political bureau and the national liberation council.
Ramaphosa provided insight on issues likely to confront transforming political parties, as well as how to rise above such challenges, citing the ANC as a good example.
Kiir was not in attendance at the two-day seminar but was reportedly later briefed in his office on what transpired during the party-to-party interactions by deputy secretary-general Ann Itto and the visiting delegation.
The SPLM and ANC signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in 2009 on party-to-party cooperation based on the sharing of experiences.