South Sudan’s President, Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit, is reportedly under self-imposed house arrest in the country’s capital, Juba, for fear of losing power.
Reports indicate that Salva Kiir has not traveled outside the capital, Juba, since his main rival, Dr. Riek Machar Teny, took oath of office in February this year amidst speculations that Machar would take over power in his boss’s absence.
According to senior government officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, the Kiir is torn between leaving the country to attend regional and international conferences and or to send his rival and now First Vice President Riek Machar to represent him.
Another official referred to the situation as a “crisis within the peace agreement”, warning that it could explode any time.
“The other fear is a coup. President Kiir is a military man and his worst fear is a coup d’tat” he said.
President Kiir has missed important events that include a peace celebration in the Sudanese capital in November where he was invited to preside over the ceremony by the Sudanese politicians as a special guest and the peace guarantor. He is currently also missing out in Djibouti.
On December 16, Kiir at the last minute assigned the Vice President for Service Delivery Cluster, H.E. Hussein Abdelbagi Ayii, to represent him in Khartoum.
Kiir has again assigned Vice President for Gender and Youth Cluster, H.E. Rebecca Nyandeng de Mabior, to attend the IGAD summit that commenced today in Djibouti.
Asked why the president missed an important regional submit to discuss peace and stability in the region, and most importantly the crises in Sudan, Ethiopia, South Sudan and between Kenya and Somalia, Sudan and Ethiopia, another senior politician said it is normal for a president to assign any senior politician of his wishes to represent him.
“Kiir has continuously accused numerous senior politicians and military generals of attempting a coup on him in his absence and he got locked down in J1, he couldn’t leave the country because he fears Riek Machar, Paul Malong, Oyai Deng Ajak, Majak Agoot or any other Garang boys could overthrow him in his absence” the source continued.
Senior politicians and analysts do not see any better excuse for president Salva Kiir to skip all his presidential duties outside the country other than his fear for his rival, Machar.
On the other hand, Machar’s supporters are also concerned that the First Vice President, who hasn’t traveled outside the country since February as well, is also serving a house arrest.
While the two leaders have remained in the country’s capital all this time, not a significant progress has been made on the implementation of the peace agreement either.