News / Africa

South Sudan President Not Stifling Debate on Federalism, Spokesman Says

South Sudan's President Salva Kiir, shown here addressing reporters at a news conference in Juba, is not trying to silence critics, his spokesman says.
South Sudan's President Salva Kiir, shown here addressing reporters at a news conference in Juba, is not trying to silence critics, his spokesman says.
Philip Aleu

South Sudanese President Salva Kiir is not trying to stifle the debate about whether South Sudan should switch to a federal system of government, his spokesman said Wednesday.

Presidential spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny also insisted that the debate on federalism -- a system under which power is shared between states and the central government -- has not created divisions in President Kiir’s government or put critics of the presidential system president in danger.

"There is no way the president could conspire... to eliminate critics simply because they are talking of federalism,” Ateny said.

Stoked by social media

Ateny said social media were largely to blame for spreading false information among South Sudanese and stoking fears among the population.

“These rumors of spies being sent out, people are going to be assassinated and you name it are just the creation of the social media. There is no plan of that kind. There is nobody who has been arrested," Ateny said.

Before he was named Mr Kiir’s spokesman, Ateny said, he was one of the biggest critics of the government, and nothing ever happened to him.

There is no way the president could conspire... to eliminate critics simply because they are talking of federalism.

“I could have been one of the people who could have been behind bars," he said. "I don’t think there is anybody who has challenged any establishment more than me, among you here. I have done that, I have never been arrested.”

Ateny spoke to South Sudan in Focus a day after newspaper and broadcast editors wrote a letter to Information Minister Michael Makuei, complaining that people claiming to be government security agents have ordered them not to report on the debate about federalism.

In April, South Sudanese journalists complained that media rights are being severely eroded.

"There is a lot of government interference, there is a lot of harassment, a lot of intimidation by government officials," veteran journalist Alfred Taban said at the time.

"That means that the media cannot really play its role, which is to educate, to entertain and to inform the people,” Taban said, adding that things have become worse since the country plunged into violence in December.

Ateny, who was a civil society activist prior to his appointment as presidential spokesman, said reporters should inform him when journalists are arrested for criticizing Mr. Kiir or his government.

But journalists are skeptical that the government will take any action on their behalf. They often cite the case of political commentator Isaiah Abraham, a staunch critic of Mr. Kiir who was killed by gunmen suspected of belonging to the South Sudanese security forces.

The government launched an investigation into Abraham's murder, but no one has ever been detained for it.

You May Like

Video Video Claims to Show Shi'ite Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

While not yet independently confirmed, brutal killing already has gotten attention of Islamic State followers on social media More

After Six Years, Little Change for Niger Delta's Former Militants

Nigerians who laid down arms in exchange for government amnesty subsidies fear program may end with upcoming presidential elections More

Vietnam Pushes for More Educated Drivers to Curb Road Deaths

Transportation officials hope that making a greater effort to get drivers to learn the rules of the road will reduce fatal crashes More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Barkaman from: Greater pipor
July 03, 2014 2:18 PM
Reall every bod shuld must repect mr. Kirr becouse he's exacellcy he's the president of s.sudan that he do all of things for s.sudan people instead of doing civil war all time it is good for no things
dear kirr
i do write to you to be strong to rule the people of s.sudan and keep up

by: wicjial Tuor Koang from: KRT Sudan
July 03, 2014 1:08 AM
The govt was and still harassing social media

by: Lisa from: Tx
July 02, 2014 10:08 PM
Mr kiir, the presendent of south Sudan, will never accept civilazanation . He is still believeing in cattle politicking. Unless he put off the hat. Could be he will joint civilazanation . He said federal system have to wait why? Its because Dr riek is for federal system, and people do understand what they are talking about . Kiir can not explain anything because of his studipity. Back to reports why are you talking to the fools who are send by kiir. Once understand that anything good for the people is not good for kiirs government. Your job is to tell the truth about peoples suffering and what they think about the coming generation. Your being regarded as rebel supports now you understand the power of studipity. They will get rid of you one by one. Before you report anything ask God to bless could be that is your last day on this earth, your in the war between Good and evil. May God bless you to tell the truth about Gods suffering people.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planeti
X
George Putic
March 04, 2015 8:51 PM
NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960's Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7th to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960’s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.
Video

Video Land Disputes Arise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Ugandan police say there has been a sharp increase in land disputes, with 10 new cases being reported each day. The claims come amid an oil boom as investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers. Meanwhile, the people who have been living on the land for decades are chased away, sometimes with a heavy hand. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video In Russia, Many Doubt Opposition Leader's Killer Will Be Found

The funeral has been held in Moscow for Boris Nemtsov, the opposition leader who was assassinated late Friday just meters from the Kremlin. Nemtsov joins a growing list of outspoken critics of Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin who are believed to have been murdered for their work. VOA’s Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Simulated Astronauts Get Taste of Mars, in Hawaii

For generations, people have dreamed of traveling to Mars to explore Earth's closest planetary neighbor. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that while space agencies like NASA are planning manned missions to the planet, some volunteers in Hawaii are learning how humans will cope with months in isolation on a Mars base.
Video

Video Destruction of Iraq Artifacts Shocks Archaeologists

The city of Mosul was once one of the most culturally rich and religiously diverse cities in Iraq. That tradition is under attack by members of the Islamic State who have made Mosul their capital city. The Mosul Museum is the latest target of the group’s campaign of terror and destruction, and is of grave concern to archaeologists around the world. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More