Presidential spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny said in a statement released to the public on Wednesday that President Kiir was not contemplating stepping down from power, dispelling speculation claiming Kiir was considering stepping down in favor of Costello Garang Riiny Lual, a former presidential advisor who is living abroad.
“I came across certain Facebook posting allegedly, of President Salva Kiir Mayardit ceding power in favour of Dr Costello Garang Riiny Lual. I thought it was belated April Fool Day or the early one in anticipation – therefore I ignored the story. However, the story has persistently continued unabated and few, if not every South Sudanese has curiously become irritable by the persistence of ’the made-up story’ and even sought my intervention. It is not true that the President is leaving power next in favour of Dr. Costello Garang anytime, and for whatever reason,” explained Ateny.
“Dr Costello is not an SPLM member, nor did he ever been part of the SPLM political hierarchy. Let alone the SPLM Political leadership has never talked of President Kiir leaving power so that any political outsider could pick the luck from,” he further stressed.
Presidential aide Riiny would never be the choice of President Kiir to succeed him if there were to be such arrangement requiring a change of leadership, unless ascension occurs through elections on a different ticket, including forming own party if he wants to vie for the presidential seat.
“As all South Sudanese have equal political to be what they want to be, Costello Garang can buy for the post of the president through political process, if and when he runs for the Presidency through his political party, and if elected by the people of South Sudan he may become one, but not through internet propaganda. Dr Costello is not and shall never succeed the President of the Republic, by hierarchy or even by personal choice of the President,” he added.
The spokesman was prompted by a sustained social media debate among south Sudanese, during which some inquired the authenticity of the post while others questioned the basis of the decision of the president to pick Costello as the successor despite the lengthy line of hierarchal structural.