January 23, 2014 (RUMBEK) — South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir Mayardit, has announced that he plans to begin implementing reforms in all government sectors within the coming days, starting with commissions and ministries where new appointees will be named to replace those who have deserted their post during the more than month-long conflict.
Reforms will also be carried out in the Anti-Corruption Commission and judiciary, with the country’s leadership to scrutinise SPLM structures as well the national army (SPLA), said Kiir.
Kiir made the announcement at a briefing on Wednesday to diplomats and members of the media in the capital, Juba.
During the briefing, Kiir also called on Machar to lay down his weapons and return to rebuilding the country.
Kiir’s comments came ahead of an agreement on the cessation of hostilities reached on Thursday after the South Sudanese government agreed to release the 11 pro-Machar political figures who remain in detention in connection to their role in an alleged failed coup plot to overthrow the government.
Kiir urged South Sudanese in all states to learn to live together in peaceful coexistence.
Violence spread throughout the country following clashes between rival factions of the presidential guards in Juba on 15 December, with Machar accused of masterminding the alleged failed coup attempt.
The conflict has increasingly divided along tribal lines, with forces loyal to Kiir, a Dinka, and pro-Machar rebels from the Nuer ethnic group fighting for control of key areas.
During his briefing, Kiir accused troops loyal to Machar of committing grave human rights abuses, including the targeted killing of civilians, while urging both sides to exercise restraint.
“Anybody who thinks that they are my supporter, they are supporting me, they should not touch any person; they should not touch any property of any person. If you just kill people in my name, then my image will be gone. If you do it also on the side of Riek Machar, then you are burying us alive”, said Kiir.
“Politically, we will not surface as good leaders in South Sudan, and so it is better that people forgive one another. If you are from [the] Dinka tribe, whatever Dinka you come from, it will be your own crime that you will have to be charged for”, he added.
The continued detention of the senior politicians proved a sticking point during ceasefire negotiations in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.
“There will be [an] amnesty for the political detainees, after investigations – when the investigations are done, they will know which article they are being charged with because they will be taken to court so that each one of them faces his case. So, there is room for the forgiveness of the people who are suspects under arrest if law chapters are fulfilled”, Kiir said on Wednesday.