JUBA – President Salva Kiir Mayardit on Thursday afternoon spoke to explain why the extension of the transitional period is important.
Below is his full-text speech!
THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH SUDAN
SPEECH BY HIS EXCELLENCY, THE PRESIDENT ON THE EXTENSION OF R-ARCSS
AUGUST 4, 2022
- Your Excellency, Dr. Riek Machar, First Vice President of the Republic
- Your Excellences, Vice Presidents of the Republic
Right Honorable, Jemma Nunu Kumba, Speaker of R-TNLA
Honorable ministers of R-TGoNU
Members of National Legislature
Members of diplomatic Corps
Representatives of Civil Society present
Ladies and gentlemen
Today, I am informing the people of South Sudan that the political parties who signed the Revitalized Agreement on Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS) have unanimously agreed to a 24-month extension of the interim period. I want you to understand why we reached this decision.
As seen in the unanimous decision across political parties, we are not extending the transition because I want to stay in the government longer. We don’t want to rush you into an election that will take us back to war. I have been fighting since I was a teenager when I joined the first Anyanya, and I spent 50 years in the armed struggle so that you could feel the same dignity that many others worldwide feel. Nothing compares to the happiness I felt as the SPLM/A delivered your independence.
When we founded the Government of the Republic of South Sudan, we had the opportunity to build a country we would all cherish and defend. But, as your leaders, we lost focus after independence. Instead of building an effective state and cohesive nation, we began fighting among ourselves for power. As a result, we took you back to an even more bitter war where brothers fought themselves for seats.
The revitalized agreement was our chance to correct our mistakes, and I do not underestimate or dismiss what we have achieved already through this agreement. We have stabilized the country and established a framework to transform the state by building effective institutions. Due to unforeseen circumstances, we had to finance the agreement alone amid other serious priorities, like a bloated government and catastrophic flooding. As a result, significant issues remain unimplemented. Among these, we must prioritize some to succeed as a country.
I consider the reunification of the army, constitution-making, and the conduct of a census necessary to implement elections and establish a new government without reverting to war. Reunifying the army means we would protect the outcomes of the elections against spoilers who would use it as an occasion for violence. The constitution-making process will determine what type of government we need decentralized, centralized, federal, parliamentary, presidential, etc. These choices, if wisely decided, will set South Sudan on a course of progress for centuries to come. The census will provide the evidence upon which we will determine the details of voting, state formation, and nation-building. We will redouble our efforts to complete these to lead you to a successful election and build an effective government.
While Article 8.4 says that two-thirds of the parties can amend the agreement, Riek Machar and others unanimously decided to extend the transition period. Our shared intention is to take you to a peaceful election. While we want to implement the agreement entirely, we must be realistic. We did not even implement the mighty CPA fully, yet it remains a historic accomplishment that none will deny or reverse. Therefore, we have decided to prepare the soil over the next 24 months to plant the seeds of South Sudan’s elections with a unified army, visionary constitution, and firm understanding of our country upon which to build a government that can complete the war on poverty, ignorance, and hopelessness.
While we deliver this message with heavy hearts, we nonetheless have clear minds. We know this transitional government is not what you deserve, but it is better than war. So, we extend the transition period as a pragmatic and realistic choice for 24 months of healing and consolidating.
Others, like myself, spent their entire lives struggling for the dignity of the South Sudanese people. I close this message by calling on two of them, in particular, to come back to South Sudan and collaborate with us in creating conditions for a complete political transition from war to lasting peace. Comrades Pagan Amum and Thomas Cirilo should come back home and join hands with us in Juba, like some of their comrades have. We were together in the liberation, and while we have differed, we need them to join us now to set history on a correct course.