South Sudanese in Uganda call on Kiir, Machar to step aside

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South Sudanese living in Uganda are calling on President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar to step aside from the top leadership positions in their home nation.

More than 200 South Sudanese attended the first consultive discussions by the national dialogue subcommittee on refugees and international outreach on Wednesday, at the Imperial Royal Hotel in the Ugandan capital, Kampala.

Calls for Kiir, Machar to step aside

Hundreds of South Sudanese currently residing in Uganda were invited to the event to offer their suggestions on how to bring an end to South Sudan’s civil conflict. Various called on President Kiir and rebel leader Machar to step aside in order for South Sudan to bring an end to its ongoing political crisis.

The two leaders’ personal fallout started South Sudan’s civil war in December 2013 and the pair have been widely accused of prolonging the conflict for personal gain. Multiple attempts at implementing a peace deal have failed and the two leaders have done nothing to prove they can work together in bringing peace to South Sudan.

Riek Machar is currently under house arrest in South Africa and his rebel subordinates are scattered across six different countries.

Tensions remain high in South Sudan

Machar’s absence has done little to reduce tensions in South Sudan as government troops and rebel forces continue to clash across the country. The army is accused of targeting civilians and using food as a weapon of war against the people by blocking essential aid from reaching those in need.

Meanwhile, Kiir has since fallen out with former army chief General Paul Malong who is also now under house arrest, this time in South Sudan. Kiir sent troops and armoured vehicles to Malong’s home with the aim of disarming his fleet of bodyguards.  The bodyguards refused to give up their weapons, prompting fears that another rivalry could result in armed conflict, but Kiir’s troops withdrew after a week-long standoff.

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.