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Kiir reneges on affirmative action promise, peace pact

Author: Emmanuel Akile | Published: Tuesday, June 30, 2020

President Salva Kiir speaks at a past function in Juba | Credit | Eye Radio

The President has both violated the revitalized peace agreement and failed to fulfill his promise to respect the 35 percent representation of women in the unity government, an activist has said.

On Monday, President Salva Kiir appointed eight governors – six from his ruling party SPLM – and two from the SPLM-IO.

The SPLM-IO appointed one female governor from its share of three states.

All the six appointees of the SPLM are male governors.

“We would like to congratulate IO for appointing a female governor for Western Bahr el Ghazal, but we are so disappointed by the government,” Edmund Yakani of CEPO, told Eye Radio on Tuesday.

According to several observers, the appointment of only male governors by the ruling party is a violation of the peace agreement, and a failure by the dominant party to live up to its promise of the affirmative action.

In 2019, President Kiir promised to offer women 35 percent representation as provided for in the new peace deal.

He also assured the women that he would protect the provisions of the constitution that demands women be involved in decision making process.

“The 35 percent women representation is something enshrined in the constitution and nobody will temper with it,” Kiir said while addressing women during the closing of South Sudan women peace campaign at the State House in February.

“Any change in that percentage will be to increase, not to reduce it. That will be the only acceptable change that can be done.

“Let us join together and we fight for peace. The time for peace is now; we don’t need to spend it for tomorrow. It is today. The whole world is looking at us.”

But Yakani argues that the President’s party has backtracked on that promise following last night’s appointments.

“We are aware that….there are renowned women in SPLM; there are influential women. There is no vacuum that there is absence of women in the party. We know they are there and they are many,” he continued.

“Obviously from the government side, it is a total violation.”

He called upon the President to reconsider appointing more women in the positions left, to make up for the violation of the 35 percent representation.

The parties are yet to nominate and appoint deputy governors for the states.

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