July 11, 2021 — The South Sudanese president, who has cancelled independence celebration six times in a row, blames his recent decisions on “individual sanctions” and “arms embargoes”, saying they have made the country poor and unable to buy arms.
Despite that the individual sanctions were meant to target individual politicians and military generals, President Kiir believes that such decisions have made the country poor that South Sudan could not afford to celebrate the 10th Independence Anniversary.
“There is but because of sanctions on South Sudan have made us poor although we believe we are rich but all the punishment leveled on us did not make us to prosper the way we have wanted. This is why we are not celebration the 10th anniversary the way people would have wanted it to be”,
“People are hungry and whatever little resources we have can be mobilized for celebration. That would disappoint our people. So it is better that inu very few people like diplomats, mps can just come and I give my word to the people. That is all”
Reminded that sanctions would be lifted as soon as the killing stop, Kiir responded that there is no fighting going on in the country given that all the opposition leaders are strictly monitored in the capital, Juba.
“Well, so far, we are not fighting, all the oppositions, those who were fighting me are now in Juba and I’m the one protecting them”
According to president Kiir, the international community should remove their sanctions and arms embargo so that the South Sudanese can do their things.
“The international community should give us room to do our things. One, is the issue of sanctions and then they have added on it the issue of arms embargos. Arms embargoes have tighten our hands because we are supposed to implement the agreement we we signed”
“Now to implement the agreement we asked them to lift the arms embargoes so that we can buy arms for the people who are in the training centers to be graduated”
“I told even my colleagues in the regions to plead to the UN Security Council to lift the arms embargoes. Now they are telling me to implement the agreement. The implementation of the agreement cannot be complete without arming the unified forces”
“The unified forces are brought from all the groups that were fighting: group of Riek Machar, group of SSOA, group of …, anyway all these people are supposed to be armed”
“And if they are arms, then the agreement would have been completely implemented”
Asked of too many arms “out there” in the hands of the rival forces and also in the hands of civilians, President Kiir sympathize with the civilians who hold arms saying they “sacrificed” their resources to acquire those arms and therefore it would rather be easy for the country to purchase arms than trying to disarm the civilians and give their guns to the unified forces.
On the other hand, the unified forces are forces that were already armed and only had to be reconciled and indoctrinated to form a national army; however, the president’s priority has become to arm and equip them before they are graduated.
In 2019, the National Pre-Transitional Committee arranged a budget of $100 million USD to be used on supplies for cantonments; however, much of the budget disappeared in a thin air.
So far, some trainees have abandoned the cantonments due to lack of basic services such as food, shelter and medical supplies.
A number of soldiers have died and those who remain in the training camps are not paid salaries or being told when they will be graduated.
During the 10th anniversary, president Kiir; however, promised to graduate over 53, 000 unified forces despite the arms embargoes.