President Kiir seeks to extend term limit, while aid workers are killed and abducted


President Salva Kiir has had his term extended for another three years. A bill that was introduced by the government in Parliament in early July 2018 sought to extend the term of the president from 12th August 2018 to 21st August 2021. The bill also proposed extension of terms for the national transitional parliament, the first vice president and state governors. On 12th July 2018, the parliament voted to extend his term in office.

This development follows recent similar incidents within the sub region where governments such as Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi have amended their Constitutions to allow their leaders additional, or essentially indefinite terms, all of which sparked unrest and crackdowns on civic space.

In other related developments, on 25th July 2018, the South Sudan Government and the main rebel group’s leader, Dr. Riek Machar, signed a power sharing agreement, which is intended to put an end to a civil war that has devastated and destroyed the country for five years. In 2013, the country went into a civil war that was sparked by a power struggle between Kiir and Machar. Riek Machar, who was a former vice president, will also be reinstated to his previous position, as part of the power sharing agreement.

In other news, in May 2018, it was reported that four aid workers had been killed in South Sudan and 10 others abducted in the preceding months. The United States has asked that the United Nations Security Council place six south Sudanese officials on a blacklist for fueling the country’s war and actively restricting the flow of international aid and staff to beleaguered regions of the country.

Mark Lowcock, the U.N. undersecretary–general for humanitarian affairs, while decrying the continued harassment and violence against international emergency response staff had this to say about this issue:

“The aid agencies are subjected to harassment, extortions, and looting, kidnapping, killings and other blockage all over the country and those things have a direct effect reducing our ability to help people who need humanitarian assistance."

Among the officials listed include Cabinet Affairs Minister Martin Elia Lomuro who is accused of threatening the press, obstructing humanitarian aid and impeding the work of the UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan. Rebel governor Koang Rambang Chol is also cited for leading attacks in Northern Bieh state and ordering his forces to impede the work of aid workers