US condemns push for South Sudan ‘sham’ elections

Wednesday May 9 2018

South Sudan President Salva Kiir. PHOTO | REUTERS

South Sudan President Salva Kiir. PHOTO | REUTERS 

By ALLAN OLINGO
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The United States has condemned attempts by the South Sudanese government to push for an election before the full implementation of the 2015 peace agreement.

In a statement on Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, said that President Salva Kiir’s administration as the head of the Transitional Government of National Unity is no longer inclusive.

“The forced exile of key leadership representatives who signed the ARCSS [the agreement] further demonstrates the Kiir regime’s cynical repudiation of the peace process,” Ms Sanders said.

She further accused Mr Kiir of “disdain for international norms” for promoting individuals under UN sanctions to senior government positions such as Gen Jok Riak to Chief of Defense Forces.

“To that end, we will condemn any unilateral effort of the current government of South Sudan to extend its power through sham elections, the legislature, or continued military offensives,” said Ms Sanders.

Review

Washington also announced that it will initiate a wide-ranging review of its assistance programmes to South Sudan.

“While we are committed to saving lives, we must also ensure our assistance does not contribute to or prolong the conflict, or facilitate predatory or corrupt behaviour,” the US said.

The review will include the US support to Igad-led Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) tasked with overseeing the implementation of the 2015 peace agreement known as the Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (ARCSS).

The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (Igad) is a eight-member trading bloc in eastern Africa.

“The US will not continue in a partnership with leaders who are only interested in perpetuating an endless war characterised by ethnically-motivated atrocities," Ms Sanders said.

Further, the US accuses the Juba administration of “squandering the partnership with Washington, pilfering the wealth of South Sudan, killing their own people, and of having repeatedly demonstrated their inability and unwillingness to live up to their commitments to end the country’s civil war.”

Washington called for a negotiated arrangement for an inclusive transitional government that reflects South Sudan’s diversity and that provides checks and balances on political and economic power.

The US said it was open to consider any process that could achieve this outcome.