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Wau: Kiir promises 'free and fair' elections

South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir Mayardit on Saturday said he is committed and determined to organise free and fair general elections in 2024.

In August last year, Kiir, First Vice President Riek Machar and political leaders extended the transitional government's time in office for another two years.

The end of the transitional period was scheduled for 2022, but was pushed back to December 2024 due to the lack of progress on many provisions of the 2018 peace agreement that ended a bloody five-year civil war.

Speaking to citizens in Wau town of Western Bahr el Ghazal State, Kiir said he signed the peace roadmap to complete South Sudan’s transition and prepare for elections, reiterating his pledge not to return the country to civil war.

“I accepted the extension of the transitional period by 24 months to give the political parties ample time to prepare for general elections. We want to bring an end to transitional governments,” he said.

“We should have a democratically elected government, so you, the people of Wau, should prepare for elections. If you win elections as a political party, you can form your government, and if you lose, please do not cause conflict. Power-sharing has brought us a lot of problems. There will be free and fair elections,” he added.

 Kiir, who landed in Wau this morning on his way to Kuajok town of Warrap State, promised the residents to return soon to Wau to hold a big public rally.

The president repeated his commitment to put South Sudan back on the path of development. He directed the National Ministry of Roads to help rehabilitate feeder roads in Wau town.

"I have noticed the condition of your roads, since we are working on road development, we have constructed the Juba-Bor road that connects Malakal to Ayod and Renk. With this,I now direct the Minister of Roads and Bridges to tarmac roads within Wau town," he said..

Kiir also vowed to promote girls' education in the country, saying the transitional government is committed to free primary and secondary education nationwide.

“No child should stay at home without being taken to school, I urged you to take all the children to school, especially girls. Girls are no longer sold for high bride price but must go to school and contribute to the development of the country," Kiir said.

The South Sudanese leader also donated two ambulances to boost health service delivery in Wau. “I urge all of you to keep the peace, and as I said before, this country will not return to war. SPLM party will work together with the other political parties for peace to prevail,” he concluded.