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FDs INSIST – All political leaders should step down

Deng Alor Kuol, Pagan Amum Okiech and Kosti Manibe of Former Political Detainees discuss during a break yesterday (photo by Jale Richard):

By Jale Richard in Addis Ababa

Members of the former political detainees have reiterated that all political leaders of South Sudan should accept to step aside to end the cycle of violence sparked by power struggle.

Pagan Amum Okiech was speaking to the press yesterday after the church-led intra South Sudanese talks concluded with little progress.

The leaders of the Former Political Detainees said for the parties to compromise, they should give up powers to technocrats to govern the country in the next transitional period.

Amum said from the discussion in the past days, they (FDs) realized that the government does not want to work again with former first vice president Dr. Riek Machar, which according to him, was a hindrance to achieving peace in South Sudan.

He blamed lack of progress in the pace talks on the “tendency to stay in power, and the tendency to get in to power.”

The SPLM Secretary General insisted that President Salva Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar should accept to step aside together with all other political leaders for South Sudanese technocrats to take charge of the country and prepare it for democratic elections.

“If President Salva Kiir does not want to work with Riek and the position of the SPLM-IO is also that they do not want the transition to be led by President Kiir, what we are saying as South Sudan Opposition Alliance and learning from our past is that the best way would be for President Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar to step aside,” Pagan Amum said.

“For that matter we as leaders of all the political parties and organization, the leaders of SSOA are also saying that they will be ready to step aside from the leadership of the government in transition, and then let all the parties sit down including Kiir and Dr. Riek, all of us together we sit down, and we agree on how to form a neutral government to administer the transitional period,” he added.

According to Amum if all the political leaders step aside “violent power struggle that continuously take the country back can be prevented.

The Secretary General of the SPLM noted that technocrats and professional South Sudanese would run under the auspice of a prime minister.

“They will run the country as professionals not as politicians so that they reform the government during the transition, and then they hand over power to the people at the end of the transition. The people will then elect their government from the politicians,”Amum said.

Amum added that the “older politicians” should agree to stop violence and not to engage in violent politics. “Anybody who wants to serve our people has to give their program to the people and submit themselves to the people who will elect the government. Let the elections be conducted in a free and fair manner by a neutral government of South Sudanese technocrats,” he stated.

The Government Spokesperson Michael Makuei Lueth said the government compromised on a number of things including expansion of the government to accommodate the other political parties.

“That is the position of others who do not know what they are talking about. The government started from compromises from day one because the original idea is inclusivity and for us inclusivity means extending or adding more,” he said.

The Chairman of South Sudan Civil Society Alliance Akuoch Ajuong said the parties must not go home without peace.

“We are here to go home with peace because our people are suffering, they are dying and suffering of diseases, we must agree to go home with peace,” he said.

According to IGAD timetable, the ongoing peace talks will end today. IGAD is yet to decide whether to extend the days for the talks or to suspend and reconvene it later.



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