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South Sudan: Kiir’s Colleagues Advise Him to Step Down to ‘Preserve Liberation Legacy’

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Salva Kiir

Two liberation struggle comrades and close friends to President Slave Kiir confessed that they advised him to quit power and allow youth to lead the country. But they stressed they are not his rivals or political opponents.

Kuol Manyang Juuk, a senior Presidential Advisor and former Defence Minister, and Daniel Awet Akot, former Presidential Adviser on Military Affairs and a leading member of the ruling SPLM said they have been talking to President Salva Kiir to consider stepping down to preserve the legacy of the liberation struggle.

In statements released on Monday, Daniel Awet Akot said that he and Juuk were not looking for the position of the president but are concerned that the legacy of the movement should not be tarnished by continuing to stay in power without making a difference in the lives of the people.

“We fought the war, liberated our people and have the country. Is this not a big legacy to preserve,” asked Daniel Awet in response to a question about whether he agrees with a call by Presidential Adviser Juukl for the exit of those who participated in the liberation struggle?

The close friend of President Kiir disclosed they expressed they have discussed the matter in the leadership meetings and private discussions where they told him frankly that it is time for others to take over.

“The young people, the Jesh Amer, and others should take it from us and let us go home. They will continue with the mission and vision of the SPLM,” he said.

“For us, we have done our part and in order for us to be remembered in history, we need to relinquish power and give it to the young people,” he stressed.

However, he said that some people who do not understand them began to claim they are against “Comrade Salva Kiir”.

“We are not against Comrade Salva, we are instead protecting him. We want him to go into history with a good name,”  he said.

AKot added that they want Kiir to be remembered as a great leader and to join other revolutionaries in the world.

“We want him to be in the league of Comrade Fidel Castro, Comrade Nelson Mandela and many others who fought for freedom and independence of their countries”.

The senior presidential adviser Kuol Manyang Juuk while speaking in an interview with an UN-sponsored radio Miraya last week said the ruling  SPLM has been in power for 17 years without anything to show as what would justify the cause of the liberation struggle and desire to continue to lead.

“I told President Salva Kiir that it is time for us to relinquish power and give it to the young people and he has been in agreement [with me] because we have been in power since 2005 and now this is 17 years for us leading the government of South Sudan,” said Juuk.

“We could have done anything, but these years have gone, and we have a lot of challenges, political challenges, a rebellion, defections, the country is experiencing insecurity, no development, something that we have not done for the last 17 years, really, are we sure that we can do it tomorrow?” he asked.

He said he and those who participated in the liberation struggle for the independence of South Sudan have done their part and they should go home so that they don’t ruin their legacy by participating in the ruling of the country which he said would result in mistakes that might stain their legacy.

“We have done our part, in fact, that we have liberated the country, this is a legacy better than anything else,” he emphasised.

He went further to say he wanted to be a farmer and abandon politics after the independence.

“I don’t want to spoil the good legacy that has ended because when I go to the executive, I will go and make mistakes that may even rub out all the good things that I did. Why do I want to be the president, to do what?”.

Nonetheless, he stressed he respects the free will of President Kiir if he wants to continue to lead the country.

“If President Salva wants to continue is up to him but me, I want to go and sit with my family and leave until I die there,” he added.

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