South Sudan president says will run for 2018 elections

Juba, South Sudanese President, Salva Kiir, said there is a possibility he will run for another term in office after 2018, saying the decision will however be decided by the people and not “others with intention to install puppet government to exploit resources.”

He said the opposition faction leadership was returning to Juba with a new strategy to take over power from his and his supporters, calling on his government’s officials and supporters to work hard as an internal front.

“They are coming, yes we have accepted them to come but this should [not] be construed to mean we have surrendered or have accepted what they are after. The regime change has not changed. They have not abandoned [it]. They are coming in as part of another strategy,” said President Kiir.

“This requires more work with the internal front. We need to consolidate rank and forget whatever small issues that may be there,” he added.

The head of state was speaking on Saturday at his residence to a select group of his political allies, including his long-time military and political ally, General Paul Malong Awan, chief of general staff of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), the official army of South Sudan.

Kiir said he is in power because he has been elected by the people and that no person will tell him to go unless it is a decision of the people.

“You know this slogan of so and so must go is not something new. The people who coined this slogan are coming, others are with us; but did it work even when it was sung like a song? I don’t believe in this thing, somebody waking up in the morning and say so and so must go, go where?” asked President Kiir.

He said the officials were in power in different capacities because they have been given mandate by the government elected by the people.

“If the people come and say go’, we will go. But if the people say ’no, we still need you’, we stay on. It is people who decide not some people. If the people want us to stay, then [who] are these people with this slogan? Let them and we work together as brothers and sisters so that we see together how we can address issues in a way that will not polarize our people,” he added.

The president accused his political rivals and potential successors of wishing him dead and told supporters to unite against foreign enemies whom he said wanted to destroy the youngest African nation.

“They have been spreading lies and negative propaganda even before they left. Now they have not stopped. They are coming back with it. You know they have been saying I am sick, oh I am dying. I am not dying. Instead they are blessing me and my family. They even claimed in 2015 General Malong was in a critical situation yet he was with me here and there was nothing with him,” he explained.

Kiir, a former rebel commander turned politician and became president of the new country after seceding from neighbouring Sudan in 2011, assured supporters to not panic if they are not appointed in the new government, saying they would be appointed in other capacities in the government.

He spoke after presiding over a special session of the cabinet on Saturday which was attended by all ministers and their deputies. Information and broadcasting minister who is the official government spokesperson, Michael Makuei Lueth, told reporters that the government is optimistic that the opposition leader, Riek Machar, will come on Monday to allow the start of implementation of the peace agreement.

“It is worth mentioning that, this may be if Riek Machar comes, then this will be the last meeting of the current cabinet and I hope that by next Friday then, we are going to have the meeting of the cabinet of transitional government of national unity,” said Lueth.

He revealed that they have received information from Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission [JMEC} that Machar will arrive at 10:00am on Monday and he will take the oath of office upon arrival on the same day.

The opposition leader, according to minister Lueth, will also go to the mausoleum of founding leader of the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), late John Garang, to pay his respect.

He will not address any public rally but he will speak to the media on arrival at Juba international airport.

Source- Sudan Tribune

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