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Rights body wants Kiir and Machar excluded from coalition government

June 23, 2018 (KAMPALA) - A South Sudanese human right entity has urged regional leaders to ensure both President Salva Kiir and rebel leader, Riek Machar are excluded from the coalition government.

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South Sudan’s Kiir and SPLM-Io leader Riek Machar shake hands during the meeting of IGAD head of states and governments on 21 June 2018 (Photo Louis Jadong)

The two rival leaders, the Center for Peace and Justice (CPJ) said, have held the country hostage, urging regional leaders and the international community to stop the “bloodshed” in South Sudan.

“Kiir and Machar meeting did not yield any good fruit as the ordinary citizens and the region expected therefore as this meeting has shown the ordinary citizens that their leaders cannot and will not coexist,” said CPJ’s executive director, Anthony Tito.

President Kiir and Machar met for the first time in nearly two years in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on 20 June, with another meeting scheduled for the Sudanese capital, Khartoum in the coming two weeks or so.

The Addis Ababa meeting was organized by the regional bloc (IGAD) under the auspices of Ethiopia’s Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed.

Tito, however, proposed that both Kiir and Machar needed to appoint their successors to lead the next transitional government.

“If both Kiir and Machar want to lead the country, they can contest in elections after the transitional period had come to an end because contesting an election is a constitutional right for both Kiir and Machar,” he said.

The two rival South Sudanese leaders failed to agree on a number of issues during their meeting attended by the Ethiopian Prime Minister.

The South Sudanese leader was accompanied by Cabinet Affairs minister, Martin Elia Lomuro, Petroleum minister, Ezekiel Lol Gatkouth, Information minister, Michael Makuei Lueth as well as the Gender and Social welfare minister, Awut Deng Achuil.

The last meeting between President Kiir and Machar immediately saw an outbreak of deadly clashes in the South Sudanese capital, Juba in July 2016. Machar was forced to flee the country into exile was later placed under house arrest in South Africa.

The conflict in South Sudan has killed tens of thousands of people and displaced millions.

Last month, the United Nations Security Council gave the two warring sides in the South Sudan conflict a month to reach a meaningful peace deal or face sanctions.