Kiir refuses to set ‘bad precedent’ by quitting
THE PRESIDENT of South Sudan, Salva Kiir, has warned he won’t be forced to step down while one of his advisers, Tor Deng Mawien, said if this happened the world’s newest country would disintegrate.
Mawien, the presidential adviser on decentralisation and intergovernmental linkages, said only the path of reconciliation could “guarantee security, unity and peaceful co-existence of our people, not fighting and campaigning to change the current government by force”.
His comments followed Kiir last week vowing never to give in to military force to relinquish his position, insisting it would set a bad precedent for the war-torn nation.
Civil war has plagued South Sudan since December 2013 as Kiir, and his former vice-president Riek Machar, battle each other politically, while their armed forces, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) and the SPLA-In Opposition, respectively, fight each other.
The fighting has triggered Africa’s worst refugee crisis with more than 3 million people fleeing their homes. Many of those refugees have fled into neighbouring countries with 1 million finding refuge in Uganda, making Kampala Africa’s biggest host of refugees, despite the high rates of poverty in Uganda.
This had led to the refugees condemning the lack of health-care services and the continued shortage of food within the resettlement camps.
A shortage of water points has caused fighting between the newly arrived South Sudanese and the long-suffering Ugandan communities hosting them. A shortage of schools in the refugee camps has further exacerbated the difficulties, with 100 to 200 children sharing one classroom.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) reports that South Sudan government soldiers have killed, raped, and tortured civilians, as well as destroying and pillaging civilian property during counter-insurgency operations in the southern and western parts of the country.
Both sides have committed abuses against civilians in and around Juba and other areas, causing millions to flee, said HRW.