January 19, 2015
JUBA – South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir, says he has no intention of stepping down for the sake of unity between the rival factions of the governing Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM).
Kiir said calls his removal were coming from those seeking to fan discord and instability.
“The demands the others are making are not consistent with the SPLM constitution. Some of them are even calling for the dissolution of the party structure. Their wish is that I must step down, which is a problem if it is not done through proper processes and in [a] peaceful manner,” he said.
“They just want to cause confusion and create enmity within the country … I don’t think I will be in the position to accept stepping down before all the leadership is approved,” he added.
Kiir was speaking at a consultative meeting with Tanzanian president Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete who was in the capital, Juba, on a one-day visit to explore options for securing a peaceful resolution of the country’s ongoing conflict.
South Sudan has been embroiled in conflict since mid-December 2013 when political differences and debate on reforms within the SPLM leadership turned violent.
The conflict has reignited tribal tensions across the country, pitting pro-government troops loyal to Kiir against rebel forces aligned with former vice-president Riek Machar.
Kiir also questioned Kikwete whether he would be willing to accept similar treatment as leader of Tanzania’s ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party.
“The issues they (the rebel faction) are raising shows that they are not interested in peace and unification. They still believe they can change the government through unconstitutional means,” he said.
“There are ways to handle administrative and leadership issues. But in South Sudan, they are mixed up in the name of reforms so that someone is blamed,” he added.
Kikwete’s visit comes after he held a meeting with Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni over the collapse of the intra-SPLM dialogue.
Museveni had earlier personally approached the Tanzanian president to initiate the dialogue on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly held in New York last year.
Machar currently remains in Tanzania and is expected to be briefed on Kikwete’s visit to South Sudan on Monday.