14 May 2019

South Sudan's Kiir Says Ready to Hand Over Power

South Sudan's President Salva Kiir has expressed willingness to quit power if need be.

He rubbished claims levelled by his political critics alleging he was unwilling to leave power anytime soon.

President Kiir said there were individuals who have accused him for grip in power and advocated for unconstitutional means to force him out of power.

He made the revelation at the Civil Registry at the Department of Nationality, Passport and Immigration in the capital Juba.

Blocked peace

President Kiir disclosed that those who took up arms to wage wars with the intentions of violently removing him from power were the very ones prolonging his stay.

"I want to tell you that it is not my wish to stay for long in this office. The people who have made me stay for long are those who have blocked peace in the country so that people can go for elections. Violence cannot bring about change of systems in South Sudan," he said.

Last week, the Red Card Movement, a youth group, declared nationwide mass protests against President Kiir's regime for failing to restore permanent peace and stability in the young nation.

The group accused the Juba administration of persistent corruption, gross human rights violations and killing of human rights activists, journalists and anyone deemed critical of the Kiir rule.

But President Kiir urged everyone against his regime to use constitutional means and other forms of democratic processes to unseat him.

"What will bring genuine change is elections where people organise their political parties and accept to contest in the elections. I didn't come into this office by force, I was elected. We campaigned against others and the SPLM won.

"So let these people put down their guns and let's go for elections, I may be defeated by anybody. And if they are elected, I will welcome it and hand over power to them, and I go," President Kiir said.

Mass youth protests were expected to take place from Wednesday.

The government has deployed troops across the city to counter the protests.

Meanwhile, the South Sudan press watchdog, the Union of Journalists of South Sudan (UJOSS), has slammed the governor of Western Lakes State, Mr John Mamer, for arbitrarily arresting a their member in Rumbek town.

Military experience

Police in Rumbek arrested Mr Gabriel Mabor on orders from Governor Mamer last Saturday.

Mr Mabor is a Western Lakes State correspondent for the national broadcaster in Juba.

Mr Mabor was arrested for coming late to cover a road launch officiated by the governor in Rumbek.

Mr Isaac Majak, the Western Lakes Information minister, confirmed the incident. He claimed that journalist was indisciplined.

UJOSS interim chairman Oliver Modi reacted angrily against the matter and urged Mr Mamer to stop using the military experience to detain journalists.

He said the arrest was a violation of media freedom.

"These are not cases that can lead to the arrest of a journalist. The governor acted from a military point of view, which is not right.

"Turning up late for the governor's event is not an offence. This military background actions must stop," Mr Modi said.

He further urged the South Sudan constitutional office holders countrywide to shun military behaviours when dealing with journalists' cases.

Mr Modi complained that media freedom was dwindling in the young nation and pointed out that arbitrary arrest of journalists, self-censorship and state censorship were still commonplace.

"We are not free completely. There is a misinterpretation of the laws," he said.

South Sudan Civil Society Forum (SSCSF) on Monday said there was limited civic and political space in the war-torn state and urged the leaders to exert much effort to the realisation of stability.

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