Kiir will not stand in 2023 elections – source
JUBA – While President Salva Kiir Mayardit has called for international support to the planned general elections which are slated to be organized at the end of the transitional period in 2023, the South Sudanese head of state is not among the SPLM politicians who are said to be vying for nomination in what would be a heavily contested poll.
Kiir has on several occasions stated that the elections must take place in 2023 and has urged opposition groups including the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO) led by First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar Teny to hold their convention by late 2022.
But speaking to Sudans Post in an exclusive interview on Sunday, a senior member of the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) said the president has told a group of loyalists that he intent to step down in 2023 and that the party should look for a better person who will stand against FVP Machar.
“This is not official, but what I have heard is that the president has told some senior member of the SPLM party whom he trusts that he won’t take part in the 2023 electiosn but will only support the eventual candidate of the party no matter who that person will be,” the official said.
The official claimed that the speculation that Kiir will not participate in the elections has led to a power struggle among senior party leaders including Kuol Manyang Juuk, former minister of defense who is now a member of the SPLM Political Bureau, vying for nomination.
“The decision by the president I think will have negative impact on the party because there is what I can call a power struggle because some like Hon. Kuol Manyang are now vying to have them nominated and some people in the security sector that I don’t to name have also expressed bid,” the official added.
Kiir and hints at retirement plan
President Kiir last September dropped the strongest hint yet of his intention to retire from the country’s leadership ahead of the 2023 elections, something analysts have said signals an end to the ongoing political stalemate between him and his first deputy Dr. Riek Machar Teny.
He told a gathering of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement Youth League in Juba that new faces would come up for the 2023 elections, people he said haven’t been seen in the contentious South Sudan political arena.
“When we go for elections, new faces will come in, not from the people who are working in the government now, but people you haven’t seen before and that way we will have peace in our country,” he said.
“From now, you prepare yourselves to engage with the grassroots, so that they know the program of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement,” he added.