News / Africa

S. Sudan Opposition Chief Against Joining EAC

In his first speech since he was pardoned by President Salva Kiir, South Sudan opposition leader Lam Akol gave a public speech at the University of Juba.In his first speech since he was pardoned by President Salva Kiir, South Sudan opposition leader Lam Akol gave a public speech at the University of Juba.
x
In his first speech since he was pardoned by President Salva Kiir, South Sudan opposition leader Lam Akol gave a public speech at the University of Juba.
In his first speech since he was pardoned by President Salva Kiir, South Sudan opposition leader Lam Akol gave a public speech at the University of Juba.
Andrew Green
The leader of South Sudan’s main opposition SPLM-DC party, Lam Akol, has said in his first public address since he was pardoned by President Salva Kiir early this month that he opposes the country's bid to join the East African Community (EAC).

Akol said he was against membership because South Sudan does not have the same production capacity as other EAC members, and he was worried that development would suffer in South Sudan as traders struggle to compete with their counterparts from other EAC member states.

"Nobody will tell me right now that we have exports that will compete even with Burundi, let alone the other giants of the East African Community," Akol said in a speech delivered at the University of Juba.

"Nobody can tell me now that our infrastructure is better placed so our products, even if we had products now, could easily be transported to the market. Nobody can tell me this. So I believe the argument for joining now, I need to be persuaded...my conclusion is that this is not the time for us to commit such a suicide," he said.

An EAC committee last year recommended that the regional grouping, which standardizes trade, immigration and labor policies between its member states, allow South Sudan to become a member. The EAC currently comprises Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.

Akol called for public debates on EAC membership and other government plans that would impact the country's economy, before a bill is passed into law. Such a move would allow people across South Sudan  to have an open discussion on key issues, and might avoid what happened with the recent devaluation of the South Sudanese pound, he said.

Two days after South Sudan's Central Bank announced earlier this month that it was devaluing the pound from nearly three pounds to the dollar to 4.5 pounds, saying the move was necessary to reduce volatile pricing and to stymie the country's black market, the National Assembly forced the bank to reverse the decision, claiming it harmed ordinary South Sudanese.

Devaluation was "an issue which is very important. But, to my own understanding, it was handled very emotionally, to the extent that people lost sight of what was meant to be done," Akol said.

"The talk now is about, 'Let it be canceled,' and it has been canceled. But the question remains – why from the beginning was it proposed?” he said.

Akol, who was accused of encouraging rebel groups and lived in exile for the last two years, was pardoned by Kiir at the beginning of November and returned to South Sudan, where he began calling on the government to clearly present its long-term political and economic plans so people across the country can have an open discussion about them.

Doing so would foster national unity, he said.

“For a consensus to be meaningful, it must address the real concerns of all of us. It is amazing how we always identify the point of difference. But if we go deep into the issues that we are handling, we shall be surprised to find how much it is that we are united on many issues,” Akol said.

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid