July 31, 2014 (JUBA) – South Sudanese president Salva Kiir has renewed calls for peace with rebels led by his former deputy Riek Machar to end seven months of fighting in the country.
- South Sudanese president Salva Kiir speaking at a press conference at Khartoum airport on 5 April 2014 (Photo: Reuters/Mohamed Nureldin Abdalla)
“We don’t want to form a nation of disabled people. Peace is a must,” president Kiir said during the 30 July Martyrs day celebrations.
The event is commemorated to mark the July 2005 plane crash in which Dr John Garang de Mabior, the founding leader of the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) and others perished. Garang led the over two-decade conflict with North Sudan which saw over two million people killed and many more displaced.
South Sudan got its independence three years ago, but has since December last year been embroiled in a conflict that threatens to tear the country apart. While thousands have already died, nearly 1.5 million people have been displaced internally and into neigbouring Uganda, Kenya, Sudan and Ethiopia.
“After we got our independence as South Sudan, we don’t want to increase the number of orphans. We want peace with rebels led by Riek Machar. This fighting we will not benefit any South Sudanese. Let us agree and so that we develop our country,” said Kiir.
“We are committed to ending this conflict. We want our people to live in peace and now we have given our delegation to make sure they do anything within their powers to bring peace when they come back,” he added.
The president told the crowd of mainly his supporters that the war was caused by people wanting short cut ways to the presidency through illegal means.
“We say no, wait to contest when time comes for elections, because this is the system we agreed and put into the system but they said no, we want power now. If you were me, knowing that I elected you and the period of the term I elected you to serve has not finished, will you accept,” said Kiir.
The South Sudanese leader also accused some unnamed countries of having a hidden agenda on his country.
“There are people who have their own agenda; an agenda that the government must be changed by all means. Any person who wishes to change an elected government using other means, what result is he or she expecting?” he said.
Kiir cited the undemocratic changes of some governments in Africa, including Somalia and Libya, which resulted in failure.
In June, Kiir drew a “red line” for an interim government with opposition that threatens his position or that of other elected constitutional post holders.