Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Southern Sudan: Salva Kiir submits candidacy application amid confusion of his military status

The President of the Government of Southern Sudan and SPLM’s candidate for the position of president in the region for the upcoming April elections is scheduled to submit his candidacy application to the Southern Sudan High Elections Committee on Monday.

This is two days before the deadline on Wednesday, 27th January as set by the National Elections Commission (NEC) for submission of the applications.

The Chairman of the SPLM Youth League and member of the party’s Political Bureau, Akol Paul Kordit, on Sunday issued a televised statement urging citizens in Juba to come out in the morning on Monday between 9:00 and 10:00AM to escort the President to the premises of the Southern Sudan High Elections Committee where he will submit his candidacy application.

Kiir’s application will first be scrutinized by the Southern branch of the Elections Commission before further being submitted to the NEC headquarters in Khartoum to make sure that all the requirements are met.

One of the requirements which recently left the public of Southern Sudan rather confused is the issue of Kiir’s military status.

The law requires that any candidate aspiring to contest for public office while in the military must resign from the military. This also applies to those who work as civil servants or judges.

Kiir is a general in the army and heads the recently formed SPLA Command Council composed of more than 40 senior military officers, but his aide says he was already retired since 2005.

Earlier, two senior officials issued contradicting statements when Dr. Luka Biong Deng said Kiir was retired since 2005 by late Dr. John Garang and the SPLM Secretary General was quoted by a local newspaper, The Juba Post, saying Kiir would retire from the military as the law required.

Dr. Biong also explained that Kiir would maintain being the Commander-in-Chief of the army as long as he is the President because constitutionally it doesn’t matter whether the President is a civilian or retired from the military.

A military source however revealed that Kiir was actually retired by late Dr. John Garang in 2005 at the rank of Lt. General. He continued to say that Kiir silently reinstated himself in the army after the death of Dr. John Garang and promoted himself to the rank of 1st Lt. General.

These contradicting statements in addition to what the public witnessed have brought reactions and the need for clarity to the public and to the Elections Commission as well.

"I agree that Kiir should maintain being the Commander-in-Chief [of organized forces] since he is the President. But I am not convinced by his comments which say he already retired since 2005. Why do I see him wearing his uniform and using the title if he was retired?" said one of the students at Juba University.

Another businessman who identified himself as Garang Ezekiel expressed frustration over the issue.

"Our President should not play with our minds and against the law. Does he think that we don’t see him in military uniform? To him what does it mean to wear a military uniform? I even see him sometimes on SSTV chairing the cabinet meetings in his full military gear. The world also sees him on the same SSTV," Garang said.

"Kiir should either tell us frankly that he was wearing the uniform and using the title illegally, which is against the law; or if he reinstated himself in the military he should publicly decree his retirement from the army," he continued.

Source: Sudan Tribune (20/01/2010)

No comments: