Opposition leader urges S. Sudan rivals to emulate Kenya

March 11, 2018 (NAIROBI) – A South Sudanese opposition leader has appealed to President Salva Kiir and rebel leader, Riek Machar to reconcile their differences and return the nation on the path of peace.

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Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta trying to convince South Sudanese president Salva Kiir back to the hall and sign peace agreement with rebel leader Riek Machar in Addis Ababa, on July 17, 2015 (ST)

Hakim Dario, the chairman of the People’s Democratic Movement (PDM), said South Sudan should draw lessons from Kenya, citing the recent reconciliation meeting between President Uhuru Kenya and the country’s main opposition leader, Raila Odinga in the capital, Nairobi.

“PDM applauds the stance and steps taken by the Kenyan leaders – to subordinate their personal rivalries and political ambitions to serve the interest of Kenya and Kenyans first,” wrote the PDM chairman.

He added, “These two leaders had and have the capacity to destroy Kenya and destroy themselves in the process, but chose not to”.

South Sudan descended into conflict in December 2013 when President Kiir accused Machar, then his deputy of a coup attempt. The war has since killed tens of thousands of people and displaced millions.

According to the PDM chairman, Kenya is a valued peace partner to and should extend its new policy of respect for rule of law, human and people’s rights and security beyond its borders to impact on war-torn South Sudan to uphold a culture of peace and putting the people first.

The opposition entity said its leadership takes particular interest in what happens to Kenya and relate it to South Sudan since is not only a home to thousands of fleeing refugees since 2013, but Kenya morally and materially supported South Sudanese throughout two wars of liberation.

“The two countries share not just common borders but peoples of common linguistic and ethnic origins. It was amongst the first to recognize the legitimate right of our people to self- determination,” said Dario.

The opposition party leader, however, faulted the coalition under President Kiir for its alleged involvement into corruption and violence.

“The sentry chronicled in numerous reports, how the current crop of political and government leaders in South Sudan are defined by corruption, impunity, lack of vision and lack of respect for human rights and public property,” the PDM chairman further wrote.

South Sudanese leaders, he stressed, must acknowledge the need to first bring people together before building a bridge that connect them.