Ethiopia’s ex-PM urges Kiir to hand over power to new leadership

Former Ethiopian prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn has called on South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir to resign and hand over power to new young leadership.

Desalegn resigned in February this year in a surprise move that came after protracted anti-government protests.

File photo: Hailemariam Desalegn during his visit to Juba in October, 2016 (Radio Tamazuj)

“Immediately after my resignation, I asked them, please would you resign because you failed to resolve the problem in South Sudan?” Desaleng said in his remarks at The Ibrahim Forum held by MO Ibrahim Foundation in Rwanda over the weekend.

The former top leader in Ethiopia, who was the head of the East African regional bloc IGAD, said according to a recorded video of his remarks seen by Radio Tamazuj that he had asked South Sudan leaders including President Kiir to resign.

“Leaders have to come to their senses to their mind and they should somehow leave so they give power to new blood leadership that can lead the country to the next level,” he said.

Desalegn expressed concern over the non-implementation of the 2015 peace deal that was mediated by the regional bloc during his time in office.

“Agreements are signed and never implemented and I see further more agreements can be signed but I don’t think they will be implemented as the history shows,” he said.

He emphasized the need to bring an end to the ongoing conflict in South Sudan. “This country has suffered for half a century now and still people are continuing to flow to Ethiopia, Uganda and Sudan as refugees,”” he said.

“I think this is a heartbreaking situation in South Sudan, and we tried our best as a chair of IGAD. We tried our best to resolve this issue,” he said.

The former premier urged the African Union and the United Nations to help bring peace in South Sudan, saying the country’s leadership failed to resolve the ongoing devastating civil war.

The tenure of the South Sudanese unity government led by President Kiir will expire in August this year if there is peace signed with the rebels.

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