On Monday, he was conferred a new title, 'spoiler of peace' in a new award that seeks to shame him and others into taking serious steps to end bloody conflict in the world’s youngest country.
Dismas Nkunda, a Ugandan activist who established the awards, said he hopes that “with these awards the individuals, businesses and other institutions that are derailing the peace process in South Sudan will not continue as usual now that we know them.”
On his part, Ateny Wek Ateny, a spokesman for South Sudan’s presidency, described the award as “nonsense.”
The “spoiler of peace” award citation accuses Kiir of being unwilling to compromise on major issues needed to form the coalition government. It also asserts that under his command and control, government-backed fighters killed thousands of people and committed atrocities such as looting and razing villages.
Other winners of the awards announced in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, included the Ugandan government, South Sudan’s military, an oil consortium and other political and military figures in South Sudan.
The Ugandan government, which has backed Kiir in his efforts to prevent rebels from taking power, is accused of facilitating arms transfers to South Sudan in contravention of a European Union arms embargo. Uganda, however, continues to deny any wrongdoing, insisting it sent troops and equipment at the request of Kiir’s administration as rebels threatened to enter the capital, Juba.
Salva Kiir and rival leader Riek Machar are under growing pressure to form a coalition government this month and start the peace process to end a five-year civil war that killed nearly 400,000 people since civil war broke out in late 2013.
The deadline of the fragile peace deal signed in 2018 has been extended twice and the international community is getting impatient. The upcoming deadline is Feb. 22.
“It is for me totally unacceptable that we are still again close to the deadline of a new period that was declared, that there is no agreement on a number of issues,” U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said over the weekend.