South Sudan president spokesman says political reforms must follow

African     – 20.10.2016

President Salva Kiir’s spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny

Political reforms in South Sudan will only come after peace is restored, a South Sudan official said Thursday, responding to claims that the government is against reforms.

President Salva Kiir’s spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny dismissed claims by the armed opposition led by ousted former First Vice President Riek Machar that the current transitional unity government is anti-reforms.

«The political reforms will come after implementation of peace, silence of the guns. It cannot be an event but a process,» Ateny told Xinhua in Juba.

Renewed fighting erupted in July between troops loyal to Kiir and Sudan People’s Liberation Army-in opposition (SPLA-IO) loyal to Machar, displacing thousands of people and forcing Machar to flee the country.

Machar’s spokesman James Gatdet Dak said the alliance between Kiir and Taban Deng, who replaced Machar as first vice president, was geared at selectively implementing the peace agreement brokered by the regional body Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD).

Among the political reforms include drafting of new constitution for the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) and security sector reforms. «These are the very people (Kiir and Deng) who can do reforms in peace,» Ateny said.

The peace agreement is behind schedule in terms of implementation due to cash constrains that have delayed cantonment of troops from the SPLA-IO breakaway wing led by Deng.

South Sudan conflict broke out in December 2013 after President Kiir accused his former deputy Machar of plotting a coup. The fighting has resulted in the death of tens of thousands of people and displacement of more than 2 million others.