South Sudanese President Salva Kiir has announced that he will seek a new term in next year’s election.
The president made the announcement in Yei River State on Tuesday, as he disclosed that South Sudanese would go to the poll after the end of the current interim period.
The poll, said the president, would determine the future of the troubled nation as the people would make a free choice.
President Kiir challenged his opponents, including rebel leader Riek Machar, to prepare for the elections and called upon armed groups to stop the war and return home to participate in the democratic exercises.
“We must stop war now and prepare for 2018 elections in time,” President Kiir told the chanting crowd.
President Kiir has had a tumultuous reign stretching over 10 years, after rising to the helm in 2005 following the death of Dr John Garang.
He became an elected president in July 2011 after South Sudanese voted overwhelmingly in favour of independence from Sudan.
A major fallout between him and his deputy, Dr Machar, first occurred in 2013 sparking a war that mostly took the character of an ethnic Dinka versus Nuer conflict.
President Kiir is a Dinka while Dr Machar belongs to the Nuer community.
The president had accused Dr Machar and his 10 affiliates of attempting a coup d’état.
Dr Machar denied the allegations and fled, calling for President Kiir to resign.
Months of negotiations under the regional Igad bloc, saw the two protagonists sign a peace agreement in late August 2015.
The deal saw Dr Machar resume his number two position, only for the two to fallout again in July 2016, opening another round of conflict.
©Alleastafrica and The East African