South Sudan youth target Kiir ouster in mass protests

Tuesday May 7 2019

A man carries the South Sudan flag at Magateen

A man carries the South Sudan flag at Magateen Internal Displaced Persons (IDPs) centre during the visit of the country's vice president in Juba on November 17, 2018. South Sudan youth led by South Sudanese for Change are mobilising for nationwide protests starting May 15, 2019 to unseat President Salva Kiir. PHOTO | AKUOT CHOL | AFP South sudan

JOHN ADUKATA
By JOHN ADUKATA
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Emboldened by sustained mass protests that ousted long serving presidents Abdelaziz Bouteflika of Algeria and Omar al-Bashir of Sudan, South Sudan youth plan similar action in Juba next week with the stated aim of unseating President Salva Kiir.

In a mobilisation that is gathering pace on social media the youths plan to turn out in Juba on May 15 and 16 to launch nationwide protests against the government which they accuse of failing to restore permanent peace and stability in the war-torn state.

They also accuse the state of killing activists, journalists and civilians deemed critical of the government.

Other grievances include corruption, poor governance and gross human rights violations committed by government soldiers and rebels during the war.

Responding to the threats South Sudan Information Minister on Tuesday Mr. Michael Makuei Lueth warned that any protests in the city will be resisted by the government.

He said the agitation by the youth was part of a plot by foreign instigators who he did not name to depose President Kiir's government.

“Let the youth not copy what is happening in other countries," said Mr Makuei before poignantly adding: If they are ready to die we will see,”

He said there were companies and organizations, including embassies of foreign countries, who were giving the youth money to protest "like what happened in Sudan."

“We have an idea about this and we know who they are. If people return to war, they (youth) will die. So, we don’t want them (youth) to die again," Mr. Makuei told the press in Juba.
Messages spread on social media from Monday with activists calling for all youths in the country to stand up for their rights and those of South Sudanese people.

The mobilisation is led by a group calling itself the South Sudanese for Change.

The calls for protests came after South Sudan arch-rivals President Kiir and former vice president Riek Machar agreed to delay the formation of a unity government by six months to November.

The outrage grew after a UN Panel of Experts reported two prominent South Sudan activists Mr. Dong Samuel Luak, a human rights lawyer and opposition politician Aggrey Izbon Idri were killed in January 2017 after they were abducted in Nairobi, Kenya.

Intelligence sources later told Africa Review that the activists bodies were dumped in Achwa River. The UN team blamed the National Security Service (NSS) for the killings.

The incident has attracted fierce condemnation from human rights groups locally and abroad while the international has urged President Kiir to end impunity in South Sudan.

That is not to say such groups and the international community would back the youths in their protest.

The world appears increasingly focused on finding lasting piece in the country by reconciling President Kiir and Dr Machar, who also condemned the activists killings.
The Special Representative of the UN secretary general in South Sudan David Shearer said the two rivals should meet regularly to earnestly supervise the implementation of the pre-transitional issues within the extended six months.

The United Nations (UN) has suggested a regular meeting between South Sudan arch-rivals (President Salva Kiir and former rebel leader Dr Riek Machar) to salvage and show hope of assurances to South Sudanese people on the sustainability of peace.

The Special Representative of the UN Secretary General in South Sudan Mr. David Shearer said the two leaders should earnestly supervise the implementation of the pre-transitional issues within the extended six months period by holding regular meetings.

“There is need to have regular meetings between President Kiir and Riek Machar to review the progress. That will build trust and confidence and extend a signal to South Sudanese that the agreement is on track,” he said in a statement.

He said the unanimous agreement on the delay was "a sign of goodwill between the parties to end the suffering of their people.” he added.

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