WASHINGTON – South Sudan economist and government critic, Peter Biar Ajak, has told United States lawmakers on Wednesday during a testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that President Salva Kiir Mayardit was never elected and has worked in a way that deliberately kept deferring elections from one year to the other.
“When South Sudan gain independence in 2011, Kiir was appointed, not elected, president and charged with building institutions to allow for elections in 2015. But in 2013, he and former vice-president Riek Machar took the new nation into civil war,” Biar said.
“Kiir used the conflict to defer elections from 2015 to 2018 and again to 2021. Although the current peace agreement requires elections be held by March 2022, he is already proposing 2023 and beyond,” he added.
Biar who fled Kenya for the United States in 2020 also accused Kiir of establishing a security state in which General Akol Koor, the Director of Internal Security Bureau at the National Security Service (NSS) has been overseeing implementation of human rights abuses.
“He (Kiir) has built a repressive security state in the form of National Security Service run by General Akol Koor Kuc who personally oversee the planning and commission of gross human rights violations through special forces in his office,” Biar told the lawmakers.
Biar also alleged without evidence that a four-person team at General Akol Koor’s office is responsible for extrajudicial killings in addition to allegations that Kuc has been running corrupt schemes.
“A four-person task-force in Kuc’s office identify targets for extra-judicial killings and forced disappearance and arbitrary arrest,” he said.
“Kuc also manages numerous corrupt schemes illegally extracting millions of dollars through public sector corruption,” he added.
Biar further thanked the United States for saving his life after attempts by President Salva Kiir to have him killed or returned back to South Sudan where he was detained for two years since 2018.
“I survived this imprisonment and Kiir later attempted to either have kill or abduct me from Kenya because of the support of many human rights defenders including several members of this committee,” he told the US lawmakers.
“I am grateful to you all and the US government for saving my life and that of my family,” he added.