Full Text: Kiir’s speech at the conclusion of the National Dialogue Conference

Statement by His Excellency Salva Kiir Mayardit at the Closing of the South Sudan National Dialogue Conference Freedom Hall Juba, South Sudan November 17, 2020

President Salva Kiir Mayardit and opposition leader Dr. Riek Machar in Khartoum

Esteemed delegates to this historic National Conference Excellences the Vice Presidents of the Republic of South Sudan,

Rr. Honorable Speaker of the Transitional National Legislative Assembly Rt. Honorable Speaker of the Council of States All Senior Government Officials,

Your Excellency Molana Abel Alier Kwai Kut, Co-Chair of the National Dialogue

Your Excellency Angelo Beda, Co-Chair of the National Dialogue The Rapporteur of the National Dialogue,

Hon. Bona Malwal Madur Ring Religious Leaders Members of National Dialogue Steering Committee and Secretariat Members of Diplomatic corps, Representatives of AU, UN and R-JMEC Distinguish Special Envoys from the region Ladies and Gentlemen.

I greet you all in the name of our country, the Republic of South Sudan.

On December 14 2016, I had the honour to launch this great event whose conclusion we are witnessing today. When this work started, not many people thought it would arrive at where we are today: sharing views gathered from the grassroots in the duration of almost four years on a national platform.

What this process has achieved is commendable and for this, I would like to thank the national co-chairs, Molana Abel Alier Kwai Kur and Hon. Angelo Beda for steady leadership they have provided during this process. I would also like to thank Members of Steering Committee led by Hon. Bona Malwal Madur and Amb. Dr. Francis Mading Deng for the incredible support they have given in guiding this process.

Let me also recognize the Secretariat of the Steering Committee for their efforts in ensuring grassroots views were gathered, documented and shared in this conference. Those involved in this process from its inception know that we have received substantial support from our regional and international partners.

I would like to thank these partners for overcoming doubts cast on the value of National Dialogu certain quarters from the star and for availing both material and technical resources to support us. Specifically, I would like to thank the Japanese Government for their contribution and UNDP for the stewardship it provided during this period. By the way, the Japanese are among few donors we have that do not attach strings to their support.

Last but not the least, I would like to thank you, the delegates who travelled to Juba from different corners of our country to participate in this conference. Your presence here signals your desire to contribute towards shaping the future of your country. Let me also congratulate you for candidly sharing your views at grassroots, at regional conferences and here at the national conference.

The issues you raised deserve full attention of your leadership. Ladies and gentlemen, Your views on numerous issues affecting our country at multiple levels: on governance, security, economy and social cohesion have been heard. There is no doubt that the outcome of National Dialogue represents the views of a broad cross-section of our society on the issues raised. This means there is no question about the legitimacy of this process.

With this in mind, we need to remind ourselves that what has been produced in this process must be harmonized with the Permanent Constitution making process, which is provided for in the Revitalized Peace Agreement. The Revitalized Peace Agreement is not merely an integral part of our Constitution, it is in essence our fundamental law itself, and all other processes, including the National Dialogue, must ultimately be reconciled with it. Yes, the National Dialogue has been broad-based bottom-up consultations.

The Revitalized Agreement on the other hand, came as a result of talks between political elites, which makes it narrower in scope. However, the Agreement has constitutional sanctirty that the National Dialogue lacks, despite its popular legitimacy. Therefore, we should not attempt to replace the agreement with the consensus reached through the National Dialogue, but rather use the National Dialogue as a guide to enrich the forthcoming Permanent Constitution-making process that the Revitalized Peace Agreement mandates.

Esteemed delegates,

the last four years of this national conversation have not been easy. At the beginning of National Dialogue, I was accused of using this process to dodge responsibility of finding a peaceful settlement to the conflict. Others, objected to this process on the basis that it was not inclusive enough, despite the fact that the process was designed to reach our communities where-ever they reside.

Today, the presence of these delegates in this hall, and the rich discussion that went on from the start of National Dialogue, and in the last three weeks here in Juba, clearly demonstrates that the accusations labelled against me and the process have turned out to be false.

The organizers of this national conversation, for example, have fulfilled their mandate as demonstrated by the cross-section of our society represented in this hall. The views expressed by you, the delegates throughout this process, have nor been approving of any party including, the SPLM that was accused of initiating National Dialogue to save its soul. The Peace Process I was accused of replacing with the National Dialogue is now under implementation.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I am not raising these points to defend myself from what has been said since this process started, I am raising them as of way of sharing with you what I believe to be part of our problem.

What you have discussed in the last four years and the resolutions you have come up with in this process will only serve our country, if we re-assess ourselves in rwo critical areas. First, we need to re-assess our tendency to readily accept external models that ignore our history. Secondly, we also need to examine our attitude towards our laws and institutions.

Since 2005, we have been falsely assured that templates of thematic experience of what has worked for others will work for us. We have been told again and again to adopt these models by people who in most cases do not understand our context. At times, even those who know our experiences cannot resist to overlook our specific history in the quest for templates of what has worked in other countries. And when things do not go as planned, the same people rurn around and blame us for nor implementing what they have pushed with no consideration of our specific context.

I know we are all united in our aspiration for a democratic South Sudan, but let us work towards this goal within our specific context. Any whole sale adoption of any governance system as advised by thse seeking to import their model at the expense of our context will be counter- productive.

No governance system can endure if it is not shaped by its political environment. Ladies and gentlemen, Most of the failures that this national conversation has blamed on the SPLM leadership are rooted in our attitude as a people.

I am going to speak about few issues raised in the opening of this conference to illustrate my point on our attitude. Part of what determine progress in any society is the attitude of its population towards its guiding laws and regulations. The laws in our books are comparable to what exist in other countries, but have we really followed what these laws say. Has our attempt to enforce the law been welcomed in certain quarters? Take the 2013 crisis, this crisis would have been avoided if we respected what the law has stipulated.

The elections were two years away and because of our poor attitude towards our institutions, some of us decided it was okay to attempt to take power when the mechanism we have adopted for peaceful transfer of power was two years away. The SPLM government created the constitution, which was violated because of our attitude.

We forgot that the way we interact wvith our institutions promote or retard their development. As part of the broader reflection, let us look inwardly and work to correct our attitudes towards how we relate with our institutions. I would also like to briefly say something about the claim the liberators have monopolized everything, including power. This assertion is nor borne out by facts.

We have been inclusive politically since 2005. The SPLM/A from its start did not take up arms for personal benefit. Revolutionaries do not exclude because armed struggle itself entails death, and no one is ever sure they will make it to the day of victory. Revolutionaries fight for the people, including those who did not participate in the liberation. On the charge to liberators’ monopoly of power is the cause of our problems, there is another view from those who fought in the war that what is affecting this country is excessive political inclusion.

From these two contending positions, you can see what we have been doing all along is the balancing act between these two positions. We chose to maintain this balance because this country belongs to all of us.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Let me also say something in passing about the land issue, specifically on the background why the SPLM negotiating team in Naivasha insisted on the position that land belongs to communities, which was the basis of the most quoted statement from late Leader Dr. John Garang de Mabior on the same issue. The SPLM demand on communal land rights was intended to guard against the effeet of two Sudanese legislation on Land ownership, especially in South Sudan. The first law we were guarding against was the Unregisterrid Land At of 1970. This law stipulated that any unoccupied land belongs to the government.

This was done with total disregarded to traditional community ownership of land.
The Second law was the Civil Transition Act of 1990, which also denied any recognition of customary land rights and asserted that the land in the country belongs to Allah and the state was only the inheritor. I am not sure how many people among those championing exclusive communal rights to the land were this vocal when the two legislations I have just cited were enacted.

Sometimes, we need to reflect a little on our history before we decry certain issues. Stopping a little to think on the nature of some complains we make, may tell us, perhaps today is better than yesterday. We are still committed ro the principles we articulated on land issue in 2005, but that does not mean blanket communal claims to land ownership can be used to impede legitimate land allocation for national development.

I believe all levels of government can work jointly to ensure that communal ownership of land can co-exist with legitimate land development directed by government. There is more to be gained if everyone works together on this issue. Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to conclude my remarks by thanking you once again for making this conference a success.

I would also like to wish you safe trip to your respective areas across South Sudan. Please convey my sincere greetings to our people in your respective areas. As mentioned earlier, the ideas brought forth in this conference will form greater part of our discussion on how to build strong South Sudan. Be proud of yourselves, because you have done your civic duty. May God bless you all and our country, the Republic of South Sudan.

President Salva KIIR Mayardit.

WHO Director-General’s opening remarks at the media briefing on COVID-19 – 20 March

The World Health Organization 

(Thessherald)–Good morning, good afternoon and good evening, wherever you are.
Every day, COVID-19 seems to reach a new and tragic milestone.

More than 210,000 cases have now been reported to WHO, and more than 9,000 people have lost their lives.
Every loss of life is a tragedy. It’s also motivation to double down and do everything we can to stop transmission and save lives.
We also need to celebrate our successes. Yesterday, Wuhan reported no new cases for the first time since the outbreak started.
Wuhan provides hope for the rest of the world, that even the most severe situation can be turned around.

Of course, we must exercise caution – the situation can reverse. But the experience of cities and countries that have pushed back this virus give hope and courage to the rest of the world.

Every day, we are learning more about this virus and the disease it causes.
One of the things we are learning is that although older people are the hardest hit, younger people are not spared.
Data from many countries clearly show that people under 50 make up a significant proportion of patients requiring hospitalization.

Today, I have a message for young people: you are not invincible. This virus could put you in hospital for weeks, or even kill you.
Even if you don’t get sick, the choices you make about where you go could be the difference between life and death for someone else.

I’m grateful that so many young people are spreading the word and not the virus.
As I keep saying, solidarity is the key to defeating COVID-19 – solidarity between countries, but also between age groups.

Thank you for heeding our call for solidarity, solidarity, solidarity.

We’ve said from the beginning that our greatest concern is the impact this virus could have if it gains a foothold in countries with weaker health systems, or with vulnerable populations.
That concern has now become very real and urgent.

We know that if this disease takes hold in these countries, there could be significant sickness and loss of life.

But that is not inevitable. Unlike any pandemic in history, we have the power to change the way this goes.

WHO is working actively to support all countries, and especially those that need our support the most. As you know, the collapse of the market for personal protective equipment has created extreme difficulties in ensuring health workers have access to the equipment they need to do their jobs safely and effectively.
This is an area of key concern for us.

We have now identified some producers in China who have agreed to supply WHO.
We’re currently finalizing the arrangements and coordinating shipments so we can refill our warehouse to ship PPE to whoever needs it most.

Our aim is to build a pipeline to ensure continuity of supply, with support from our partners, governments and the private sector. I am grateful to Jack Ma and his foundation as well as Aliko Dangote for their willingness to help provide essential supplies to countries in need.

To support our call to test every suspected case, we are also working hard to increase the global supply of diagnostic tests. There are many companies globally that produce diagnostic kits, but WHO can only buy or recommend kits that have been evaluated independently, to ensure their quality.

So we have worked with FIND – the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics – to contract additional labs to evaluate new diagnostics. In parallel, we’re working with companies to secure the supply and equitable distribution of these tests.

And we’re also working with companies to increase production of the other products needed to perform the tests, from the swabs used to take samples to the large machines needed to process them. We’re very grateful for the way the private sector has stepped up to lend its support to the global response.

Just in the past few days I’ve spoken with the International Chamber of Commerce, with many CEOs through the World Economic Forum, and with the “B20” group of business leaders from the G20 countries.

We understand the heavy financial toll this pandemic is taking on businesses and the global economy.

We’re encouraged by the solidarity and generosity of business leaders to use their resources, experience and networks to improve the availability of supplies, communicate reliable information and protect their staff and customers.

And we’re also encouraged that countries around the world continue to support the global response. We thank Kuwait for its contribution of 40 million U.S. dollars.

In addition to increasing access to masks, gloves, gowns and tests, we’re also increasing access to the evidence-based technical guidance countries and health workers need to save lives.

WHO has published guidelines for health ministers, health system administrators, and other decision-makers, to help them provide life-saving treatment as health systems are challenged, without compromising the safety of health workers.

The guidelines detail actions all countries can take to provide care for patients, regardless of how many cases they have. They also outline specific actions to prepare health systems, according to each of the “4 Cs” – no cases, sporadic cases, clusters of cases, and community transmission.

These guidelines provide a wealth of practical information on screening and triage, referral, staff, supplies, standard of care, community engagement and more.

We encourage all countries to use these and the many other guidelines, which are all available on the WHO website.

But we’re not only advising countries. We also have advice for individuals around the world, especially those who are now adjusting to a new reality. We know that for many people, life is changing dramatically.

My family is no different – my daughter is now taking her classes online from home because her school is closed. During this difficult time, it’s important to continue looking after your physical and mental health. This will not only help you in the long-term, it will also help you fight COVID-19 if you get it.

First, eat a health and nutritious diet, which helps your immune system to function properly.

Second, limit your alcohol consumption, and avoid sugary drinks. Third, don’t smoke. Smoking can increase your risk of developing severe disease if you become infected with COVID-19.

Fourth, exercise. WHO recommends 30 minutes of physical activity a say for adults, and one hour a day for children.

If your local or national guidelines allow it, go outside for a walk, a run or a ride, and keep a safe distance from others. If you can’t leave the house, find an exercise video online, dance to music, do some yoga, or walk up and down the stairs.

If you’re working at home, make sure you don’t sit in the same position for long periods. Get up and take a 3-minute break every 30 minutes.
We will be providing more advice on how to stay healthy at home in the coming days and weeks.

Fifth, look after your mental health. It’s normal to feel stressed, confused and scared during a crisis. Talking to people you know and trust can help.

Supporting other people in your community can help you as much as it does them. Check in on neighbours, family and friends. Compassion is a medicine.

Listen to music, read a book or play a game.
And try not to read or watch too much news if it makes you anxious. Get your information from reliable sources once or twice a day.
To increase access to reliable information, WHO has worked with WhatsApp and Facebook to launch a new WHO Health Alert messaging service.

This service will provide the latest news and information on COVID-19, including details on symptoms and how to protect yourself.
The Health Alert service is now available in English and will be introduced in other languages next week.

To access it, send the word “hi” to the following number on WhatsApp: +41 798 931 892. We will make this information available on our website later today.

COVID-19 is taking so much from us. But it’s also giving us something special – the opportunity to come together as one humanity – to work together, to learn together, to grow together.
I thank you.

Full Text: ‘Prevention is better than cure,’ Kiir addresses the nation on COVID-19

The President Statement on Coronavirus (COVID-19) Dates: 16 March 2020 J1 Presidential Palace.

(Thessherald)–Fellow Countrymen, Your Country, South Sudan is COVID-19 – free The World Health Organisation (WHO) risk assessment indicates a very ‘high risk’ worldwide including our country. The declaration of the disease as pandemic, means countries have to take serious and effective action to fight this new coronavirus.

We are taking immediate actions and scale up response to detect, treat and reduce transmission in order to save lives.

1- I have ordered self quarantine of all senior government officials who have just arrived from countries with established local infection and transmission of COVID-19

2- We have directed security and law enforcement agencies to support the Ministry of Health in enforcing isolation, self- quarantine, removing COVID-19 suspects and relocating them to isolation centres. 3- All international conferences slated to take place in South Sudan have temporarily been postponed due to the looming threat of COVID-19.

4- All planned social gatherings like sporting events, religious events, socio-cultural such as weddings, and political events must be postponed.

5- Caution must be exercised to reduce and avoid crowding at place of work. Workers sharing an office space must ensure they are seated at least one metre apart.

6- Travelers arriving South Sudan from affected countries and areas with established local transmission will be self- quarantined for 14 days.

7- Non-essential travels to affected countries must be called off or postponed to a later date. We have ordered restrictions on movement of people, including decline to issue new visas, revoking visas and residence permits, and denial of admission at ports of entry.

Prevention is better than cure. I advise all South Sudanese and residents to observe the following 10 basic measures to prevent the spread of the virus in order to save lives:

  1. Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly with soap and water. Alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your hands.
  1. Clean surfaces regularly with disinfectant for example kitchen benches and work desks;
  2. COVID-19 is spread by droplets. Maintain at least 1-metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  3. Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth.
  4. Cover your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately. Droplets spread virus. By covering your nose and mouth, you protect the people around you from viruses such as COVID-19.
  5. Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority. National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on the situation in your area. Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also protect you and help prevent spread of viruses and other infections.
  6. Avoid traveling if you have fever or cough, and if you become sick while on a flight, inform the crew immediately. Once you get home, contact a health professional and tell them about where you have been; 8. Take extra precautions to avoid crowds.
  7. Stay informed on the latest developments about COVID-19. Follow advice given by your healthcare provider, your national and local public health authority or your employer on how to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. National and local authorities will have the most up-to-date information on whether COVID-19 is spreading in your area. They are best placed to advise on what people in your area should be doing to protect themselves.
  8. It is normal and understandable to feel anxious, especially if your community has been affected. Find out what you can do in your community. Discuss how to stay safe with your employer, school or place of worship. For persons who have recently visited Countries where COVID-19 is spreading:

Follow the guidance outlined above. (refer to the Ministry of Health’s Advisory) Stay at home if you begin to feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and slight runny nose, until you recover. Avoiding contact with others and visits to medical facilities will allow these facilities to operate more effectively and help protect you and others from possible COVID-19 and other viruses. If you develop fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical advice promptly as this may be due to a respiratory infection or

  1. other serious condition. Call in advance and tell your provider of any recent travel or contact with travelers. Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility.

This will also help to prevent possible spread of COVID-19 and other viruses. I take this opportunity to profoundly thank the World Health Organisation, the CDC and other partners in South Sudan for their tremendous work. I salute the courage of the WHO and all our partners who are working tirelessly during this trying moment. The contributions from partners have challenged us and open up a new space for our commitment, designed to meet the increasing demand and expectations of our people. May God protect our nation.

Thank you.

Stop the War on Children: Dividend of Silencing the Guns

Speech of Hon. Deng Yai, Minister of General Education and Instruction, Republic of South Sudan, at the 33rd Session of the African Union High-Level Side Event on Children Affected by Armed Conflicts in Africa, Lalibela Ballroom, Sheraton Hotel, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Monday 10th February 2020 Theme: Stop the War on Children: Dividend of Silencing the Guns

Your Excellencies, the Heads of State and Government,
Your Excellency, Prof. Sarah Anyang Agbor, the AU Commissioner for Human Resources, Science and Technolongy,
Your Excellency, Madam Virginia Gamba, the UN Special Representative of the Secretary General for Children and Armed Conflict,
My colleagues, the Honourable Ministers,
Your Excellency, Steve Miller, CEO, Save the Children, South Africa,
Your Excellencies, the Ambassadors and Heads of Diplomatic Missions,
Distinguished guests,
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is a great honour and a rare privilege to be with you today and I am delighted to speak at this high-level meeting. The theme of this meeting is relevant to Africa and my country, South Sudan, and close to my heart. Africa had a lion’s share of the recent conflicts of the world. Our situation very often reminds you of the words of Hamlet in William Shakespeare’s play Hamlet:

“To be, or not to be, that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing, end them. To die, to sleep—”
For the children of Africa to continue “to be” and for Africa to rise, we must end the wars in the continent and silence the guns; we must consolidate peace and security; we must invest in our children and youth, who are our future; we must strengthen political and social integration; we must promote socio-economic development; and we must achieve prosperity for all. It is imperative that we take these bold actions.

The Republic of South Sudan, like other countries, has witnessed too many wars and inexplicable suffering for far too long. Therefore, my country recognises the importance of silencing the guns. For this reason, our President, H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit, is committed and determined to promote peace and security in the Republic of South Sudan. In September 2018, our President signed the peace agreement here in Addis Ababa and effectively committing our country to protect all children from violence and effects of war. This was a massive achievement; thanks to the IGAD leaders for their leadership and support. Since then, my Ministry has implemented numerous policies to provide equitable access to quality educational opportunities for all children including those children in opposition controlled territories. Our children are not a party to the conflict and their right to education cannot wait. Education cannot Wait because education is a basic human right. Education cannot wait because Education is an enabler. In the words of President Nelson Mandela “Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.”
Your Excellencies,
Ladies and gentlemen,
The Government is using education to change the lives of the children and youth of South Sudan and to transform our country. I’m delighted to announce that we have made some significant progress – thanks to the Agreement and the enabling environment it created. We have increased enrollment in our schools to 3.5 – 4 Million learners in 2019; we have transferred cash to over 300,000 girls annually to attract and retain girls in our schools since 2013 with the support of UKAID or DfID; we have increased the percentage of girls in our schools to 46.5% in 3,000 schools where we took daily attendance using School Attendance Monittoring System (SAMS) in 2019; we have launched an National Action Plan for Ending Child Marriage; we have convene a Conference to convince Chiefs and other traditional leaders to prevent child marriage in their communities; we have established School Peace and Human Rights Clubs to promote the culture of peace and the culture of respect for human rights; we have developed a new National Curriculum and over 120 new textbooks and teacher guides based on our new National Curiculum; we have printed and distributed 1.9 Million copies of these new learning resources; we have trained over 30,000 teachers to teach to the new National Curriculum; and we have started implementing the new National Curriculum effective from Monday 3rd February 2020.
In addition, the government of the Republic of South Sudan is also implementing reforms to provide access to education for over 2.2 million out-of-school children. I take this opportunity to thank the Global Partnership for Education, the African Development Bank, and Education Cannot Wait for funding interventions to support the educational needs of out-of-school children and ensure No Child is Left Behind. We will continue to work in partnership with our donors, our development partners and local actors to include these children in our education system.

Your Excellencies,
Ladies and gentlemen,
I recognise and applaud the role of the African Union in resolving conflicts in Africa. In particular, I want to thank and congratulate the AU and IGAD for bringing peace back to my country, South Sudan. Through collaboration with the UN and AU mechanisms, South Sudan has developed clear plans on demobilisation and reintegration of former child soldiers and providing education for all. My ministry has also coordinated the roll-out of the Safe Schools Declaration to which South Sudan is a signatory.

The roll-out amongst law enforcements, civil society and line ministries is a giant step in the right direction. It aims to galvanise support, mobilise collective actions and create awareness that schools and all learning facilities must be spared in times of conflict. These policies, initiatives and plans demonstrate our unwavering commitment to protecting children in conflict in South Sudan and to securing their rights to education, protection and development.

Finally, I am delighted to announce that the Republic of South Sudan signed this Action Plan with the United Nations in Juba on Friday 7th February 2020. This Action Plan demonstrates our solid commitment and iron determination to protect our children. We must double our efforts to stop the wars in Africa because every war affects children and, in essence, is a war on children. We must stop the wars in Africa to enable Africa to rise. We can create the Africa We Want; we can transform Africa to become a peaceful, integrated and prosperous Africa, the Continent of the future! Let us do our best and pray that God will do the rest!
Thank you very much.