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Kiir’s independence day and SPLM House remarks contradictory -Analyst

Author: Kelly Abale | Published: Thursday, July 9, 2020

President Salva Kiir witnessing a separate swearing in of SPLM nominated governors and CHief Administrators at the SPLM House on July 8, 2020. PHOTO//South Sudan Presidential Press Unit

A political analyst has commended the President’s Independence Day speech but expressed regrets over the subsequent remarks at the SPLM House.

On Wednesday, June 8, President Salva Kiir delivered his Independence Day speech on television and separately addressed the SPLM-nominated governors and Chief Administrators during an oath-taking event at the SPLM House in Juba.

In his 9th July remarks, Kiir affirmed his full commitment towards the implementation of the peace agreement.

He announced to the nation that the permanent ceasefire “was largely holding.”

He revealed that the consolidation of the ceasefire through Rome Declaration with hold-out groups will resume, to secure a final political settlement.

The government is negotiating with opposition leaders, Thomas Cirillo and Paul Malong who did not sign the 2018 peace deal.

Kiir acknowledged that peace implementation remains painfully slow and far behind public expectations.

He called on the parties to pick up the pace to resolve sticky issues in the implementation of the agreement.

These issues include; the unification and deployment of unified forces, reconstituting the national parliament, appointment of the remaining governors of Jonglei and Upper Nile states, including their cabinets.  

On a personal note, President Kiir said after the events of 2013 and 2016, he could hardly imagine working with Dr. Riek Machar, the leader of the SPLM-IO.

Machar is now Kiir’s number 2, the First Vice President.

Kiir stated that he made the concessions in the interest of peace by accepting to work with the opposition and dissolving the 32 states.

“I did not make these concessions because of any weakness on the side of the government I lead [but] in the interest of moving forward the cause of peace in the country,” he said.

He called for genuine and meaningful dialogue on peace and other pending issues in the spirit of give-and-take.

“I am appealing to you all on this important day in our history to embrace the message of peace individual and collectively,” Kiir said.

“Let us all work tirelessly irrespective of our political leanings to restore trust among ourselves and to mend the social fabric that was torn apart by war we are now putting behind us.”

But a political analyst, Dr. James Okuk said: “The very day the speech is being read yesterday, something contradictory to the spirit of the agreement was taking place in the SPLM House.”

Kiir as chairman of the SPLM witnessed the swearing ceremony of 6 governors and 3 Chief Administrators he recently appointed.

In his remarks, Kiir directed the new officials to unite their constituents and end the circle of violence.  

Dr. Okuk said the initial speech of the President is commendable, although it has been overshadowed, in his view, by Kiir’s remarks at the SPLM House.

“It was a well-written speech and it makes you happy when you read it. What remains to be desired is the actions to follow from this speech. We need much to what is happening,” Okuk said in reference to the Independence day speech.

He, however, stated that there was no need to give directives exclusively to the SPLM nominated governors while the country is led by a unity government.

“One party tries to complicate what is called the unity government by bringing in their partisan agenda trying to swear in the governors to go and make the states where they are -as the states for SPLM and forget about the other parties,” Okuk stated.

“The speech of the government was very clear on how the country needs to be united regardless of partisan politics.”

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