Home | News    Wednesday 20 January 2010

Gen. Salva Kiir should relinquish his military position - SPLM’s Amum

January 20, 2010 (JUBA) – A senior official of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) has said that the incumbent president of southern Sudan and the party’s candidate for presidency in the South, Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit, will have to relinquish his military position in order to run for the elections.

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Gen. Salva Kiir Mayadrit, Sudan’s FVP and President of S. Sudan government

The SPLM Secretary General Pagan Amum was quoted by a local newspaper, The Juba Post, as saying that his party’s chairman will step down from being the army chief as the law requires.

Amum also added that the party’s candidate for the position of the President at the national level, Yasir Saeed Arman, will also resign from his current position as party’s Deputy Secretary General for Northern Sector and focus on the presidential campaigns.

This statement by the party’s Secretary General on Kiir’s military status came after two contradicting statements issued by the minister for presidential affairs, Luka Biong Deng.

Biong in his initial reaction to law requirement defended his boss’ position by saying Kiir would not relinquish his army position because the constitution allowed him to maintain it, but later on said that Kiir had already retired from the army since 2005.

He did not however explain the reason why Kiir continued to publicly appear in military uniform and use military title even up to 2010.

However, a military source revealed that Kiir, who was actually retired by late Dr. John Garang in 2005 at the rank of Lt. General, silently reinstated himself in the military in 2007 and promoted himself to the rank of 1st Lt. General.

He currently heads the recently formed SPLA Command Council and he is also the Commander-in-Chief of the army by the virtue of being the President of the semi-autonomous Southern Sudan.

Biong earlier criticized a letter sent to Salva Kiir from the National Elections Commission (NEC), warning that they would not accept his candidature unless he resigns from military positions.

He described the letter as “premature” because the SPLM had not yet presented Kiir’s nomination and supporting documents to the NEC.

NEC has set January 22 as the deadline to receive the nomination by Friday this week.

Anonymous voices among the government officials defend the law saying Kiir should completely retire from the army and step down from heading the military Command Council.

Officials however have conflicting views and interpretation of the Southern Sudan Interim Constitution, 2005, over whether Kiir should also relinquish his other position as the SPLA Commander-in-Chief by the virtue of being the President of Southern Sudan at least after his immediate nomination to run as presidential candidate and during the elections campaigns.

Article 111(1) of the Interim Constitution of Southern Sudan, 2005, states that the President of the Government of Southern Sudan shall be the Commander-in-Chief of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army "prior to the elections that shall be held during the interim period."