Salva Kiir Mayardit, the president of South Sudan started gaining international recognition and popularity in recent times. This could be attributed to his major contributions in the government and politics of South Sudan.
Biography and Education
Salva Kiir Mayardit is his full name. He is a South Sudanese politician who has been President of South Sudan since its independence in 2011. Prior to independence, he was the First Vice President of Sudan, from 2005 to 2011.
Salva Kiir was born on 13th September 1951 in the Bahr-el-Ghazal region of northwestern South Sudan. He is of the Dinka tribe, the largest in South Sudan.
Looking at his educational qualification,he is a graduate of the Sudan Military College.
Kiir first joined the southern rebellion, the Anyanya battalion as a boy during the First Sudanese Civil War in the late 1960’s and reached the rank of an officer by the time Sudan’s President, Jaafar Numeiri made peace with the rebels in the 1972 Addis Ababa Agreement.
Salva joined the Sudanese army after the treaty, but in 1983, when Dr. John Garang joined an army mutiny he had been sent to put down, Kiir and other Southern leaders (including Dr. Garang), defected from the Sudanese army and joined the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) in the second civil war. He then helped Mr. Garang to form the SPLM and rose to lead its military wing, which now forms the army of the country. He as well became the deputy to Dr. Garang who was appointed the Vice President of the Republic of Sudan in January 2005.
Following the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement between Juba and the Khartoum government, which formally ended the war in January 2005, Dr. John Garang was sworn in as the Vice President of the Republic of Sudan. Unfortunately, about three months later, Dr. Garang died in a helicopter crash. Salva Kiir was chosen to succeed him as the First Vice president of Sudan and President of South Sudan.
He waged the fight for independence mainly through the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) and its armed wing, the SPLA. An independent South Sudan was Kiir’s long-cherished dream – far more so than Garang, who favored greater rights for southerners in a united Sudan. In 2005, Kiir said the choice was between either being a “second-class citizen in Sudan or a free person” in your own homeland.
Unlike what is obtainable in various political leaders, Salva Kiir is a committed Christian. He does not hide his identity as the church is one of the major platforms for his public speeches.
Judging from her-says, one would certainly say that Salva Kiir would be a dictator, but on the contrary, he is kind. This virtue was confirmed when Kiir positioned himself as a reformer, using his inaugural address to call for the South Sudanese people “to forgive, though we shall not forget” perceived injustices at the hands of the northern Sudanese over the preceding decades and announced a general amnesty for South Sudanese groups that had warned against the SPLM in the past.
Married, Children, Family
Kiir is married to Mary Ayen Mayardi who is highly respected in the country. The woman is highly loved and is considered a disciplinarian. The two have children among whom are Munut Salva Kiir and Adut Salva Kiir.
10 Quick Facts about Salva Kiir
- He was given a cowboy hat in 2006 by the then United States president, George Bush. He is now hardly ever seen without his hat except in church.
- He has 7 other siblings from the 3 wives of his father.
- He was awarded an honorary degree by ‘Great Lakes University of Kisumu’.
- As a president, he is strongly opposed to homosexuality.
- He began as a low-ranking officer with the military and gradually climbed the ladder to become the first Vice President of Sudan, and later the First president of South Sudan.
- There were rumors that he got married to another woman who is the daughter of his former comrade in a private event, but the man did not comment on it.
- Kiir was born to a father who was a cattle herder.