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Bahr el Ghazal elders asked president Kiir not to stand for another term

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June 29, 2014 (JUBA) – Heavyweight politicians and prominent community leaders from South Sudan’s Bahr el Ghazal region have reportedly asked president Salva Kiir not to stand for another term.

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South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir, addresses the media in Juba on 2 May 2013 (Photo: Reuters/Paul Banks)

Kiir was born in the Bahr-el-Ghazal region of north-western South Sudan, which is widely viewed as a government stronghold.

However, in an exclusive an interview on Sunday, an elderly politician from Bahr el Ghazal’s council of elders told Sudan Tribune that Kiir was approached before the current crisis broke out and asked to “voluntarily relinquish” his position before the next elections, saying the call was intended to preserve unity among the people and prevent further disintegration.

“As elders and older politicians, we advised him based on experiences we have gone through during our political life with different governments and for the benefit of the country,” he said.

“We asked him to swallow the pride of his colleagues and political allies so that he leaves behind [a] good legacy, because we know he has good history and we wanted him to maintain that so that it becomes part of the history for his success,” he added.

The elder, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Kiir had acknowledged the request and although he did not indicate his intentions, the group believed he would act on their advice.

“He said ‘okay, I heard you’, but he did not explain in full, and [we] did not want to bother him because we thought he understood the importance of the message,” he said.

“We did not want to be seen as having groomed a bad leader, which is not our culture. We thought it would be wise and healthier for our son to voluntarily relinquish the power and call on the people of South Sudan to take over the affairs of the country, without allowing his name to be dragged into such [an] unfortunate situation,” he said.

The elder said the group had suggested to Kiir that he either choose a successor from within the region or from another area and tribe. Alternatively, he could also elect to leave the decision on the selection of a new leader to the party.

The group said they also urged the president to call a meeting with current vice-president James Wani Igga and Riek Machar, Kiir’s former deputy who was sacked last July, in order to discuss succession issues and avoid infighting.

The elder claimed they had discussed the three proposals with the president on several occasions during informal meetings and social gatherings, prompting Kiir to cancel his attendance at some events or prevent the group from speaking at such occasions.

The presidency has neither confirmed nor denied the claims made by the regional elders.

However, several government officials, including foreign affairs minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin, have in the past rejected calls for Kiir to step aside before his term expires in 2015.

Benjamin argued Kiir was the elected president and thus the people should decide on whether to give him another mandate or not during elections.

Kiir’s leadership style has come under question since a political split in the ruling SPLM turned violent in mid-December last year, with critics accusing him of mismanaging the country’s affairs.

Machar, who had become increasingly vocal in his criticism following his sacking, now heads the breakaway SPLM in Opposition.

Rebels under his command have been engaged in a brutal armed struggle with government forces loyal to the government for more than six months, despite regional attempts to broker a lasting ceasefire.

Kiir, a former military commander turned politician, became South Sudan’s first president after the country secured its independence from Sudan in 2011, having won elections the previous year in a landslide.

Earlier this month, Kiir said would not to a peace deal unless it guarantees that he will lead the transitional government.

(ST)

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  • 30 June 06:43, by Akol Liai Mager

    Owl says; "Tell your opinion to maintain your hair or go bald" and Jesus says; "Tell the truth and only truth will set you free"

    It’s now time for South Sudanese who are victims of the newly erupted violence to chose, act on Jesus’ advice and be freed from violence.

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    • 30 June 07:11, by Lotodo Awino Odug

      You don’t run away from problems, it better for Kiir to stay the course until the end of his term.

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      • 30 June 09:48, by Mr Point

        When Kiir does go who will replace him?

        Paul Malong Awan or Telar Ring Deng.

        Which would be worse for the people of South Sudan?

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        • 30 June 10:03, by Lotodo Awino Odug

          He will be replace by Ngundeng Bong. follow by Riek and Gatdet as his adjutants.

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  • 30 June 06:46, by Lotodo Awino Odug

    This piece of garbage was written by Nuer from Sudan tribune.

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  • 30 June 07:26, by Emporio

    We all riding the wave of concern about south sudan people Good move from elder to clear themselves of what we call leadership failure of bahr el ghazal let the cowboy go home to look after his cattle

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    • 30 June 07:30, by Gat Gan Kiir

      "You can avoid reality, but you can’t avoid the consequence of avoiding reality"

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  • 30 June 07:44, by Robot

    This is the very reason I say that I do have a lot of reservation in ST news, when u read this article, it doesn’t hold water at all. Kiir can be advised by the elders including his constitutional post holders the advisors. If one looks at its context, it is pretty clear this article unprofessional writing because the Author should write what is convincing.

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  • 30 June 08:15, by Snipper

    Nuer propaganda! Who are those elders? There is nothing like that guys. The most vision-less tribe will never understand the cause of problems in South sudan. Nuers will appreciate Kiir after he is long gone. No one in history of south sudan will give nuer plate full of food despite their usual backstabbing when south moves forward!

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  • 30 June 08:28, by AbuDeng

    I doubt this happened before the War on the RSS People of December 15th. It is quite convenient 6 months later the Elders are saying this, in my view it is political cover for when Pres. Kiir leaves/forced to leave!

    It seems not credible - unless there are some letters stating such from 2013.

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  • 30 June 09:19, by Mapuor

    Hahahah that is abject lie.People of greater Bhar El Gazal liberated the South and will never relinquish power come what may.Those who think that they can take over power and rule comfortably should forget about that,it will always be tit for tat should miracle happen.We are not foolish majority,we are not foolish majority,we are not foolish majority but wise majority.Riek is not new.

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    • 30 June 09:26, by Mapuor

      Nuer rebellions are not new.If Nuers think they can come to power through rebellions,hoo no,they will never come to power by force come what may.It would be unpatriotic to hand over power to Jallaba collaborators,we would better secede instead of being lead by Nyagaats.One of our major principles is never allow Nyagaat to rule.

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      • 30 June 13:49, by Runrach

        Thank to the creator of universe including RSS. What was secrecy has been confessed as elders from Bhar el ghazalians made it crystal clean to president Kiir to relinquish the leadership to anyone from his ruling party. However, who the hell to risk himself/her with Kiir’s mess ?

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        • 1 July 07:33, by Gen.Quack

          Why do the writer say kiir should step down or not stand again in order to give peace a chance I think the one talking was nuer not dinka? Because he never knew the meaning of chance for peace, and kiir have never been hated by the people of south Sudan and now you want to imposed this hate on them which was not intended by the citizens

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      • 30 June 17:41, by Ahmed Chol

        @Mapuor,
        Other tribes will be frustrated if the Dinka hold power without democracy, this will lead to all kinds of wars. Bhar el Ghazal have right to rule but the biggest problem is that you people don’t analyze problems before taking action and whatever you do in this manner will always be bound for failure. you’re 2nd to Nuer.

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  • 1 July 07:21, by Gen.Quack

    This is a big lie by sudantribune, which elder in baht el ghazal should spoke on anonymity, and why do he tried to advice kiir to step down, did he advice kiir during struggle time to leave the movement and enjoy civilian life? ’no ’ this shows that he want to replace kiir politically, but till his death we will not allowed or confused kiir to step Down due to such demand and advice of power seeke

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  • 1 July 07:27, by Gen.Quack

    Any person should be found confusing people would be killed though member of bahr el ghazal, we want to tolerate no body this time wether you create what and what to let kiir step down, he will not, you will just bark and the camel keep going on it way

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