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

Multimedia Obama Defends Immigration Action

Obama says with his executive action on immigration, enforcement resources will be focused on 'felons, not families; criminals, not children' More

US-Led Airstrikes in Syria Kill Over 900: Monitoring Group

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the toll includes more than 50 civilians, five of them women and eight of them children More

Report: Obama Broadens US Combat Role in Afghanistan

The New York Times says resident Barack Obama has signed a classified order extending the role of US troops in Afghanistan for another year 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.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid