March 10, 2014 (JUBA) – The spokesperson for South Sudan President Salva Kiir on Monday dismissed as untrue reports that the latter had formed a high level committee to reconcile rival factions within the country’s ruling party (SPLM).
- President Salva Kiir announcing that SPLA forces had retaken Bor from Peter Gatdet troops, JUBA, on 24 DEC 2013, (Photo AFPTV Soundbite)
“There is nothing like that. I spoke to the president about this development and he told me clearly that he did not form any committee involving Taban Deng Gai and Deng Alor because these people are not under his authority,” Ateny Wek Ateny exclusively told Sudan Tribune.
The official, however, stressed that the South Sudanese leader was strongly committed towards ending the ongoing conflict through dialogue and reconciliation.
It emerged last week that President Kiir had instituted an eight-member committee tasked with making arrangements for an upcoming meeting expected to bring together rival groups within the leadership of the ruling party.
A number of party officials also confirmed the formation of this reconciliation body.
Daniel Awet Akot, a senior member of the country’s ruling party said the current leadership was ready for any internal reconciliation, provided it does not undermine the legibility and the supremacy of the existing SPLM structures and institutions.
“It has always been the interest of the SPLM to ensure that this country enjoys peace and tranquility by enhancing harmony through dialogue among different ethnic groups. It is our hope that each must try to understand the other,” said Akot.
“Our people should understand that we need to be and live together as one people in one country by building a common future. South Sudan is bigger than any tribe,” he added.
Akot, a former deputy speaker of the country’s national assembly, further said the past civil wars fought when the country was still part of Sudan sought to bring about peace and stability and that it was embarrassing to see the new nation engaged in another “senseless” conflict.
“The wars which our people fought to get this country were about democracy, freedom, social justice, spirituality, life and potential of each individual citizen. These are common values of the national progress,” he said, but urged people to embrace unity and love one another.
The senior party member also claimed that the country’s ongoing conflict showed that some countries, which he declined to name, were allegedly South Sudan’s legitimately elected government.
“The highly prejudiced behavior by some countries to give negative attention to the December 15 failed coup attempt by Riek Machar and his group made these rebels more intransigent,” he further told Sudan Tribune.
Akot said democracy would have lost its meaning long time ago if the need for its achievement was done through violence and killing of innocent people, especially women and children.
“It is unfortunate that democracy has been misunderstood in this country. There are people who claim to be advocates of democracy but fail to live by the principles of democracy,” he stressed.
“If efforts to achieve democracy are carried out through violence action and agony. I think democracy would have lost its meaning long ago”.