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Machar gives Kiir 12-hour quit ultimatum

Machar told a news conference in Nairobi that Kiir’s term would expire Wednesday, and wants him to resign honourably to pave way for elections/MIKE KARIUKI

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 8 – South Sudan rebel leader Riek Machar is threatening to mobilise the ouster of President Salva Kiir if he fails to quit office by Wednesday midnight.

Machar told a news conference in Nairobi that Kiir’s term would expire Wednesday, and wants him to resign honourably to pave way for elections.

“The SPLM would therefore like to categorically declare the government of Salva Kiir, the National Legislature and the State Government and the State Legislative Assemblies as unconstitutional and illegitimate as of midnight of July 8, 2015. The SPLM/SPLA appeals to President Salva Kiir to resign from office and dissolve his entire government,” he said.

According to Machar, any person or group that takes over power unconstitutionally cannot be recognised.

“It is now an established rule internationally and regionally that any group of people who assume state power unconstitutionally shall not be recognized. The examples of unilateral declaration of independence by Ian Smith in Southern Rhodesia 1965 and the recent coup in Mali in 2014 prove this point,” he pointed out while accusing Kiir’s administration of trying to amend the constitution to extend their term in office illegally.

He indicated that if Kiir does not quit office, the people of South Sudan have every right to rise up and overthrow his regime.

“Should President Kiir remain adamant and refuse to hand over power back to the people, then the citizens have every right to rise up and overthrow his regime. Furthermore, the SPLM/SPLA would like to appeal to all peace loving member states of the international community to withdraw their support and recognition from the illegitimate and genocidal government of Salva Kiir and isolate it maximally at both regional and international levels,” he declared.

He explained that earlier attempts by the various arms of government to amend the Constitution has not borne any fruit.

Attempts by the legislatures at national and State levels to rescue their respective constitutions by way of pretensions to amend their constitutions extending their terms of office by three years could not have saved the situation legally. The accepted doctrine is that no fundamental change in the political system should be made without a specific mandate from the people. Legitimacy of the constitution and that of the government depends on popular consultation to command the confidence, loyalty and obedience of the people,” he stated.

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“According to the aforementioned Transitional Constitution 2011, sovereignty of the country is vested in the people. It is through regular periodic elections after every five years that the people alone can renew the mandate of any legislature, the President, Governors and MPs. To do otherwise is to usurp the power of the people and this is illegal.”

He said that the law can only be changed after proper consultations and extensive discussions have taken place.

“The question is; did the existing Legislatures have the mandate to amend their Constitutions so radically and so drastically to substantially make them different from those which they had when they took over office? The answer is definitely no. Without consultations and approval, it would be both pretentious and indigenous for any Assembly to resolve itself into something similar to a Constituent Assembly and in that capacity assume the constituency of the people,” he said.

He issued the threats on the eve of the country’s 4th anniversary which gained independence from the north that is ruled by Omar al Bashir.

“As from midnight of 8th July 2015, the term of office of President Salva Kiir and that of the National Legislators shall have expired according to the provisions of the Transitional Constitution, 2011 thus causing the country to elapse into very serious constitutional crisis. The terms of office of the state governors together with those of their respective state legislative assemblies will have simultaneously elapsed.”

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