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Army officers warn of “chaotic” transition in South Sudan

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President Kiir speaks to the SPLM retreat in Lobonok on 6 December 2018 (ST Photo)

March 25, 2021 (JUBA) – A group of the organized forces in South Sudan have warned of an imminent “chaotic transition”, if President Salva Kiir fails to manage his political exit from power.

The warning is contained in March 17, 2021 letter to the South Sudanese leader.

The letter was authored by "patriotic" officers of the mother army (SPLA), who now serve in various units of the national army (SSPDF), national security service, police and on reserve.

“Your Excellency, we have critically read the situation and the citizens of this country are ready for a popular democratic political transition. Our advice is that you should preempt this impending uprising with the available limited window of opportunity to manage your political exit from power, otherwise a chaotic transition is imminent, and we are afraid this may be harmful to your person and the country,” it reads in part.

The group also urged Kiir to delink himself from the National Congress Party (NCP) operatives with immediate effect, saying failure to do so may “precipitate a violent desire for change”.

“Along with the NCP spies are the businessmen who surround you who should be asked to leave the corridors of state power or face the wrath of this country,” stressed the 7-page letter.

Analysts say the tone in the letter addressed to the president signal a growing discontent in the ruling party (SPLM), almost a decade after South Sudan’s independence from Sudan.

Last week, ex-presidential advisor for military affairs Gen. Daniel Awet Akot urged Kiir to step down and hand over leadership to the minister for the presidency, Nhial Deng Nhial.

Speaking during a meeting of the Jieng Council of elders in the capital, Juba Awet said Kiir is mentally incapacitated and does not have the capacity to serve citizens of the young nation.

Earlier on, senior presidential advisor, Kuol Manyany Juuk accused the country’s ruling party of failing to deliver services to the country’s citizens as promised during the liberation struggle.

South Sudan has been struggling to recover from five years of a civil war that killed almost 400,000 people, according to reports. A coalition government formed last year between President Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar is implementing a peace deal behind schedule, while deadly violence continues in parts of the country.