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JUBA - 15 May 2019

Kiir urges return to democracy

South Sudan President Salva Kiir has urged political leaders to ensure a quick return to democracy during a speech on the occasion of the army celebration.

Kiir said the five-year civil war, which broke out in 2013, is extremely petty because it is a struggle for power.

“Enough is enough. Let us set aside the greed for power, stabilize our country, return to democracy and give our people a chance to live in a country they deserve,” Kiir said in his address on Wednesday.

The warring parties signed a peace deal in September 2018 which was meant to culminate in a unity government on 12 May.

However critical issues such as the creation of a unified army have yet to be implemented with and the formation of the transitional government has been delayed another six months.

The South Sudanese leader said the only way to stability is through democracy and democratic elections. “Violent attempts to usurp power from the people would, of course, be met with violent resistance and the cycle of violence cannot end,” he stressed.

The peace deal provides for a new unity government in November 2019 before elections three years later.

According to Kiir, democracy is simply a system of government based on compromise where those who are in the minority accept the choice of the majority.

“In fact, majority is not permanent because people always defect, and so in another election cycle, those who were once in the majority may become a minority, and a new majority takes power. This is what is so reassuring about democracy; no one loses permanently, and no one wins indefinitely. All things depend on the interest and the will of the majority,” he said.

“This is the path we chose in 2010 to go for elections. And another election was due in 2015, but those who think violent usurpation of power as the short-cut ruined this opportunity and dragged the whole country into war, in pursuit of self-gratification. We have now seen seeking power in this way is not viable and not tenable,” he added.

The president has called on the country’s political leaders to return to the path of democracy so as not to delay development activities in the world’s youngest nation.

“We should abandon investing in power wrangling. Instead, we should all invest in peace and democracy, and spread the benefits of freedom and independence to our people who deserve so much more from us,” he said.

“I strongly believe that South Sudan can rise as a dominant economic force in the region and in the continent. All we need is peace and democracy to achieve this,” he added.

Kiir admitted majority of the people of South Sudan are currently living in poverty.

South Sudan has some of the largest reserves of crude oil in sub-Saharan Africa, only a third of which have been explored so far.