Kiir cancels South Sudan independence celebration due to economic crisis

Sudantribune 9th July 2017

(JUBA) – South Sudan President Salva Kiir said on Sunday his administration was forced to call off the celebration of 6th Independence Day because of the economic crisis with which the country was battling to address since the eruption of the armed conflict in December 2013.

“We did not feel that it was appropriate to spend whatever little funds we may have to celebrate when our people are hugely affected by the economic crisis that has made it difficult for many people to afford even one meal per day,” announced President Kiir in a message issued in commemoration of the sixth anniversary of South Sudan’s Independence.

«Although the famine, which was declared in some parts of our country, has now been contained, still thousands of our citizens are under threat of food insecurity,» he further said.

No military parade or other public events took place as war ravages the economy and inflation hits almost 300 percent. The young nation is struggling to stop rising inflation caused by the war, rampant corruption and the near collapse of the oil industry, which accounts for 98 percentages of government revenues.

President called on the international community to support the national dialogue which he declared last year, saying it was the only option for the country to address all the differences which caused the war.

“ I want to appeal to all our international partners, the IGAD countries, East African Community, the African Union, the UN Security Council and the UN General Assembly, to support the National Dialogue process in South Sudan,” appealed Kiir.

“The only viable option is for us to implement the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan, which was signed in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on the 17th of August 2015 and in Juba, South Sudan, on the 26th of August 2015, respectively. That is why it is important for the parties to the agreement to persevere in its implementation. Meanwhile, other armed groups and disgruntled entities should get on board and embrace the national dialogue as a forum to make their case,» he adds.

But the president said about 90% of Chapter I, on the Transitional Government of National Unity, has been implemented and about 54% has been implemented on Chapter II, dealing with the Permanent Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements. He attributed the challenges to little progress in the security sector to lack of the full establishment and funding of the Cantonment Areas and the threat by anti-peace elements that attack and kill those who want to report to the cantonment areas

He rejected the renegotiating the agreement, saying it would be unproductive, citing the 2015 peace agreement and the reunification agreement of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement as the basis of the existence of the transitional government of national unity.

“We have the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan as well as the SPLM Reunification Agreement. These agreements form the governing framework of the Transitional Government of National Unity. In light of this, it is our considered opinion that any further renegotiation of these agreements would be counterproductive,” he explained.

Government officials reject calls by the IGAD countries and the African Union for a revitalization process involving the armed opposition groups to negotiate the implementation of the peace agreement which provides they should be associated with its implementation and their forces be integrated at the end of the transitional period in line with the security arrangements.

Also, armed and political opposition forces argue that the agreement has collapsed and call for a new inclusive process to end the over three-year war.

Mabior Garang de Mabior, head of information committee of armed opposition faction of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO) under the exiled former First Vice-President turned rebel leader Riek Machar said the regional proposal by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) was the only way in the right direction to coalesced efforts to end war.

“The focus should be on initiating an all-inclusive peace process; which will include the negotiation of new security arrangements. These security arrangements will include cantonment of forces and ultimately a comprehensive ceasefire. This is the practical way to end the war,” said Mabior.

Majak D’ Agoot, former deputy defence minister and a leading member of the former political detainees said on Sunday that the young nation was still deep in a cesspit; more fractured, insecure and hungry.

The opposition figure said revitalising ARCSS (Agreement on the resolution of the conflict in the Republic of South Sudan) was the only way the differences and obstacle facing the implementation could be resolved as the quickest way to end the conflict.