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JUBA - 13 Jul 2018

Government defends controversial term extension

Photo: information minister Michael Makuei
Photo: information minister Michael Makuei

South Sudan government defended on Friday a Thursday vote that will allow President Salva Kiir to extend his time in office until 2021, a move that has been criticized by the opposition, the Troika and other Western powers.

South Sudan’s information minister Michael Makuei Lueth contended they were preserving the continuity of the incumbent government until there’s peace in the country.

The outspoken minister said the move will boost the ongoing peace talks with the opposition, denying reports that it will derail the peace process.

“This will actually boost the agreement because it will guarantee the continuity of the government. It will not allow them [opposition groups] to continue to drag their feet because if they continue to drag their feet, then they will continue to be outside,” he said.

“In case we agree on 17 July, this will mean the incorporation of the revitalized agreement into the transitional constitution,” he added.

“So it does have any negative impact on the would be agreed provisions, but it will have positive impact because it will guarantee the continuity of the government instead of creating a constitutional vacuum that we do not require.”

However, the members of the ‘Troika’ — the United Kingdom, United States, and Norway — asked President Salva Kiir to reject parliament’s vote to extend his government’s term until 2021. The three countries said they do not consider this as a legitimate step.