South Sudan President Salva Kiir has rejected a recent call for him to step down from power, saying such demands could divide the East African nation with history of civil wars.
On January 6, United States Senator Patrick Leahly called on South Sudanese leader and First Vice President Riek Machar to step aside, while appealing to the US, Canada, Norway and the United Kingdom to stand with alternative political groups and church leaders to achieve a democratic and peaceful solution in South Sudan.
While meeting a group of Dinka elders on Sunday, Kiir said the people of South Sudan should be given an opportunity to elect their leaders.
“We are working for peace and others are working against it. When we make progress, they start to talk about war. They don’t want stable South Sudan. If they want, they should support this process. We are now implementing the peace agreement, and this is the only way to end the current situation and to move the country forward,” said Kiir.
He added, “People will decide during elections. It will not be me or Riek or anybody else to tell them what to do”.
According to the South Sudanese leader, nations whose leaders were changed by external powers have never been peaceful and stable.
“People are calling for elections and we have all agreed to conduct them. And when people prepare for elections, they jump out and say this person and that person should step down. What is this? This is a demonstration that they are not looking for. They want this country to disintegrate, to be like other countries which have disintegrated because of their role”, said Kiir.
The South Sudanese leader said the country’s citizens were capable of addressing their issues without foreign intervention, citing the recent Khartoum peace agreement with the faction of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM/A-IO) under the leadership of General Simon Gatwech Dual and his deputy Johnson Olony.
On January16, South Sudan government and a splinter faction of the SPLM/A-IO signed a peace agreement to end the conflict in Upper Nile State.
Sudan is the guarantor of the September 2018 peace deal negotiated in Khartoum.