President Salva Kiir has dismissed his critics’ claims that he has tightened his grip on power and does not want to leave anytime soon.
He said there are those who say he has stayed for too long as the President of South Sudan and should step down without due process.
In 2013, there were calls by senior SPLM members for Kiir to handover the chairmanship of the party to new contenders who intended on challenging him during party primaries.
According to the Transitional Consitution of South Sudan, a general elections was supposed to be held in 2015.
But the years that followed were characterized by violent clashes across the country with the opposition demanding that President Kiir resign. They said his tenure has been characterized by rampant corruption, underdevelopment and stifling of democratic space, a claim the government strongly denies.
This was however later addressed through a negotiated settlement in 2015, and recently in 2018.
Kiir will continue to remain as the President until a general election is held in South Sudan.
But the President said he has no desire to cling to power.
He says that those who take up arms to wage wars with the intentions of violently removing him from power are the ones prolonging his stay.
“I want to tell you that it is not my wish to stay for long in this office. The people who have made me stay for long are those who have refused for there to be peace in the country so that people can go for elections. Violence cannot bring about change of systems in South Sudan,” the president said.
He was speaking at the launch of the Civil Registry at the Department of Nationality, Passport and Immigration yesterday in Juba.
Kiir said those calling for him to step down should use constitutional means, and other forms of democratic processes practiced across the world.
“What will bring genuine change is elections where people organize their political parties and accept to contest in the elections. I didn’t come into this office by force, I was elected. We campaigned with those of Dr. Lam Akol, Bashir and others, and the SPLM won.”
The constitution states that the President can only be removed from office if his term expires, resign in a public address to the people through the National Legislative Assembly; gets impeached in accordance with the provisions of the constitution; has a mental or physical incapacity based on an official medical report submitted by the Medical Commission to the Assembly for information; or death.
President Kiir said he is ready to handover power willingly, but only through a democratic election that reflects the will of the people.
“So let these people put down their guns and let’s go for elections, I may be defeated by anybody. And if they are elected, I will welcome it and hand over power to them, and I go,” Kiir said.
The transitional constitution also says any person aggrieved by an act of the President may contest such act before the Supreme Court, if the alleged act involves a violation of this Constitution, a state constitution, the Bill of Rights, or the decentralized system of government; or contest before any other competent court of law, if the allegation is based on any other legal grounds.
President Salva Kiir has ruled South Sudan since 2005.
He is the first democratically elected President, after defeating Dr. Lam Akol in 2010. Kiir is also the founding President of the Republic of South Sudan.
South Sudan is expected to hold general elections on March 13, 2022 as stipulated in the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict.
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