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Rebecca Garang says Kiir bears responsibility for South Sudan famine

Rebecca Garang (Al Jazeera Photo)
February 26, 2017 (JUBA) - South Sudanese former Presidential Adviser, Rebecca Garang, Sunday called on President Salva Kiir to step down saying he is responsible for the famine that hits the country and war crimes.

In an interview with UpFront show on Al Jazeera TV on Friday, the widow of SPLM founder John Garang said Salva Kiir is to blame for the recently declared famine in the country

“Of course it’s the leader, President Salva Kiir” she said. Because it is a manmade famine. So anything been done in the country good or bad is always go to the President," she said.

Last week, United Nations that than 100,000 people in South Sudan are experiencing famine, and millions are threatened by starvation if the international community fails to act soon.

The South Sudan government have officially declared the famine in Leer and Mayendit counties in Unity State, with a combination of war and drought having a devastating impact on those affected.

But Garang disputed this figure saying it is very little. "The estimate is higher than that".

Asked about the perpetrators and victims of the three-year conflict in South Sudan; she said that troop loyal to the President Salva Kiir from the Dinka tribe targeted the Nuer people of the former First Vice President Riek Machar.

"But when the crisis of July 7th started (the conflict) engulfed the whole South Sudan," she added.

Developing her view on the way out of the current political crisis, Garang called for a genuine and inclusive dialogue that gather all the political forces to discuss matters of concern, pointing that the government is not doing anything for them.

Also, she was keen to distinguish between her call for a national dialogue and that of President Salva Kiir.

"President Kiir called for a dialogue and he appointed himself to be the patron of the dialogue when he’s a party to the problem," she said.

When Garand further was asked if she calls on Kiir to stand down she said "Yes. He has to".

Regarding the bad human rights record of the South Sudanese government before the December 2013 crisis, Garand who was the presidential adviser on Human Rights and Gender said Kiir refused to listen to her advices.

"Event to get an appointment it was very difficult, very hard. it can go sometimes for six months," she disclosed.

Before the eruption of the armed conflict in South Sudan by the end of 2013, Rebecca joined Machar and the former SPLM Secretary General Pagan Amum in their call for political reforms and to fight corruption in the country

(ST)