Kiir, Machar removal means chaos – Ateny warns

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The office of the President has warned the organizers of an anti-government protest spearheaded by the so-called People’s Coalition for Civil Action to tread back with their agenda as their action could plunge the country into a full-blown political catastrophe.

Speaking in a pre-recorded interview with RBC TV on Saturday, Presidential Press Secretary Ateny Wek Ateny said he feels pity for individuals calling for regime change within an inappropriate timeframe.

Ateny added that those who are calling for the removal of President Salva Kiir and First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar have no understanding of the political dynamics in the country.

“I always feel pity for those who are calling on the two principals in the South Sudanese conflict to step aside, both of them. I feel pity simply because someone who is calling on President Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar to step aside is somebody who is not aware of our dynamics and the political dispensation of the country,” Ateny said.

“If you are aware, President Salva Kiir on one hand is the stabilizing factor, he’s a unifying factor. If he decides now, as I speak with you, to step aside, then soon afterward, there will be chaos,” the Press Secretary added.

Mr. Ateny also dropped a bombshell on the SPLM succession plan saying no proper arrangement for power transition within the party has been made.

“Up to the moment I’m speaking to you, there’s no clear successor as to who should succeed President Salva Kiir,” he told the online broadcaster.

“The successor is actually selected through a democratic process. For instance, the party goes to its convention. They go and nominate or vote for candidates then, later on, they are sent to the liberation council and finally, the Political Bureau of the party will decide who should be the President,” Ateny explained.

Asked why the SPLM has not done such an arrangement to date, Ateny said the process was unnecessary as the country is still under a transitional period.

A call for regime change before the elapse of the transitional period, Ateny said, will plunge the country into political chaos.

“So, when you talk about Riek Machar stepping aside or President Kiir stepping aside, then you’re calling for war in the country. I’m not saying that the future of South Sudan is depending on them. They are human beings…okay? And the power of nature can even come in.

“But I’m talking about the current political arrangement. The current political arrangement is that the interim period should elapse comes 2023 and six months before the elapse of the transitional period, there will have to be an election in the country,” he said.

The Press Secretary likened the call for regime change before the end of the transitional period to suicide.

“The people of South Sudan [after the transitional period] will be able, for the first time, to choose their leaders. But anyone asking for [regime] change before that period is actually asking for South Sudan to kill itself, he’s calling for a suicide,” he warned.

Ateny also wondered why the leaders of the People’s Coalition for Civil Action want to turn against the government after taking part in the implementation process of the peace agreement. He feigned ignorance on what their mission was.

“Now I’m telling you, if this is what the civil action is for because they’re asking for the regime to be changed in the manner they ascribed to, I think they’re so elusive and have forgotten how South Sudan came to be what it is today,” he said.

The People’s Coalition for Civil Action has been mobilizing and recruiting citizens countrywide with an aim to demonstrate against the government.

While the Interim Constitution of South Sudan allows peaceful protest, experts, including many civil society organizations, have warned against any anti-government demonstrations at the current stage of the country.

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