January 19, 2014 (JUBA) - South Sudanese president Salva Kiir is not contemplating stepping down in the 2015 elections, despite mounting pressure against his bid for another term in office, disclosed a senior government official.
- The South Sudanese President Salva Kiir (AFP/Nicholas Kamm)
“As far as I know, the president has not indicated that he would step down in 2015. He is not contemplating that. There are no such plans to stand down”, the official, who asked not to be named, told Sudan Tribune Sunday.
He further explained that it was only the people of South Sudan who had the constitutional right to decide who should lead them.
"We have to appreciate that this country has been in peace because Salva Kiir has been the president. If it were other people I know who resort to violence once removed from power, this country would have gone the Somalia way”, stressed the official.
It is president Kiir who has been a uniting factor for our people, he added.
The senior official also expressed concerns about the integration of militia forces into the national army (SPLA), saying some high-ranking officers within the military were totally opposed to the idea.
Meanwhile, Lual Bol Kuan, who speaks for the business community, said those using force to get to power should be isolated. He, however, said he was not aware of any plan by the president to step down.
"South Sudanese people know our leaders, especially what they are capable to do, how they love this country and their commitment to deliver to their expectations.
President Kiir has been very good, especially when it comes to uniting and forgiving the people,” said Kuan.
He also the South Sudanese leader would still forgive his deputy Riek Machar, should he decide to abandon the current rebellion against the current government.
"He [Kiir] has done that before to other rebels. So I don’t have a reason to believe why he would not do it”, he said, citing previous incidents where rebel groups have been pardoned and their forces integrated in to the army.
"Some of them have been appointed to the cabinet and advisory portfolios”, Kuan explained.
Samson Duku, an executive member of South Sudan business association, said the war had badly affected all commercial activities, with foreign companies repatriating their representatives.
He, however, said talks about President Salva Kiir stepping down should not be the subject of discussion now, but rather how peace and stability could be restored back into the country.
“The most important and urgent issue now is peace and stability. Our people need peace. They do not want war. So focus now is peace not talks about whether the president should step down in 2015. How do you talk about political process when the country is at war”, Duku asked.
Mary Aluel, a national legislator from Lakes state, said the ruling party (SPLM) leadership would decide in their next convention, whether President Kiir should stand in the next elections or not.
"The question you are asking is irrelevant at the moment. It will be answered when SPLM holds national convention. So this issue is not under discussion now," Aluel told Sudan Tribune when asked to comment on western and opposition calls for the president to stand down.
The lawmaker further stated that the question about the future of the country would also be decided by the citizens during elections, instead of individual political party members.
"Only the South Sudan people can decide who should take part in elections”, she explained.