Salva Kiir Mayardit

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Salva Kiir Mayardit
Salva Kiir Mayardit.jpg
President of South Sudan
Assumed office
9 July 2011
Vice President Riek Machar
James Wani Igga
Preceded by position Established
2nd President of Southern Sudan
In office
30 July 2005 – 9 July 2011
Acting until 11 August 2005
Vice President Riek Machar
Preceded by John Garang
Succeeded by position abolished
First Vice President of Sudan
In office
11 August 2005 – 9 July 2011
President Omar al-Bashir
Preceded by John Garang
Succeeded by Ali Osman Taha
1st Vice President of Southern Sudan
In office
9 July 2005 – 11 August 2005
President John Garang
Preceded by position established
Succeeded by Riek Machar
Personal details
Born (1951-09-13) September 13, 1951 (age 62)
Bahr el Ghazal, Anglo-Egyptian Sudan
Political party Sudan People's Liberation Movement
Religion Roman Catholic[1]

Salva Kiir Mayardit (born 13 September 1951) is a South Sudanese politician who has been President of South Sudan since its independence in 2011. Prior to independence, he was President of the Government of Southern Sudan, as well as First Vice President of Sudan, from 2005 to 2011.

Sudanese civil wars[edit]

Salva Kiir Mayardit in military uniform

In the late 1960s, Kiir joined the Anyanya in the First Sudanese Civil War. By the time of the 1972 Addis Ababa Agreement, he was a low-ranking officer.[2] In 1983, when Dr John Garang joined an army mutiny he had been sent to put down, Kiir and other Southern leaders joined the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) in the second civil war. Dr. Garang De Mabior had advanced military knowledge and experience from both the United States and the Sudan. President Kiir was his Deputy.[3] Kiir eventually rose to head the SPLA, the SPLM's military wing when Dr. John Garang was killed in an helicopter crash. Rumours to remove Kiir from his post as SPLA Chief of Staff in 2004 nearly caused the organization to split.[2]

South Sudanese politics[edit]

Following the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement formally ending the war in January 2005, Dr. John Garang was sworn in as the Vice President of the Republic of Sudan. After the death of Dr. John Garang in a helicopter crash on 30 July 2005, Kiir was chosen to succeed to the post of First Vice President of Sudan and President of Southern Sudan. Before independence, Kiir was popular among the military wing of the SPLA/M for his loyalty to the vision of the SPLA/M throughout the liberation struggle and among those who do not trust the successive governments that have come and gone in the Sudan.[2]

Comments by Kiir in October 2009 that the forthcoming independence referendum was a choice between being "a second class in your own country" or "a free person in your independent state" were expected to further strain political tensions.[4] Reports in January 2010 that Kiir would not contest April elections for Sudanese president, but would focus on re-election as president of Southern Sudan were interpreted to mean that the SPLM priority was independence.[5]

Kiir was re-elected with 93% of the vote in the 2010 Sudanese election. Although the vote on both the national and sub-national level was criticized by democratic activists and international observers, the overwhelming margin of Kiir's re-election was noted by some media as being "Step One" in the process of secession.[6] Following his re-election, Omar al-Bashir reappointed Kiir as the First Vice President of Sudan in accordance with the interim constitution.[7]


Omar al-Bashir (R), the president of Sudan, watches a ceremony celebrating the birth of South Sudan with Salva Kiir Mayardit, the former commander of the rebels who fought Bashir and now the president of the world's newest nation.

South Sudanese voted overwhelmingly in favour of independence from Sudan in January 2011, with 98.83% of voters reportedly preferring to split from the North.[8] On 9 July 2011, South Sudan became an independent state, with Kiir as its first president. 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[9] and announce a general amnesty for South Sudanese groups that had warred against the SPLM in the past.[10] A few weeks later, he publicly addressed members of the military and police to warn them that rape, torture, and other human rights violations carried out by armed personnel would be considered criminal acts and prosecuted aggressively by the Ministry of Justice.[11] His presidency was characterized as a period of reconstruction, with internal and foreign crises, as Heglig Crisis, which caused a border war with Sudan and an internal political crisis, which tried to overthrown him from the presidency.

Domestic policy[edit]

On 18 June 2013, Kiir issued an order lifting the immunity of two ministers in the national government pending investigations into an alleged corruption case in which they appeared to be implicated. He also issued an order suspending Cabinet Affairs Minister Deng Alor Kuol and Finance Minister Kosti Manibe Ngai from their duties during the entire duration of the probe. In July 2013, Kiir sacked his entire cabinet, including his vice president, Riek Machar, ostensibly to reduce the size of government. However, Machar said that it was a step towards dictatorship and that he would challenge Kiir for the presidency.[12] He also dismissed Taban Deng Gai as Governor of Unity State.

Consolidation of power[edit]

After rumors about a planned coup surfaced in Juba in late 2012, Kiir began reorganizing the senior leadership of his government, party and military in an unprecedented scale. In January 2013, he replaced the inspector general of the national police service with a lieutenant from the army, and dismissed six deputy chiefs of staff and 29 major generals in the army.In February 2013 Kiir retired an additional 117 army generals but this was viewed as troublesome in regards to a power grab by others. Kiir had also suggested that his rivals were trying to revive the rifts that had provoked infighting in the 1990s.

Foreign policy[edit]

In mid-October 2011, Kiir announced South Sudan had applied for accession to the East African Community. He declared the EAC to be "at the centre of our hearts" due to its members' support of the South during the Sudanese civil wars.[13]

On December 20, 2011, Kiir visited Israel to thank it for its support during the First Sudanese Civil War in 1956–1972,[14] and met with Israeli president Shimon Peres to discuss establishing an embassy in Jerusalem, which would make South Sudan the only country to have one in that city.[15]

Heglig crisis and war with Sudan[edit]

On 26 March 2012, the South Sudanese army attacked the Heglig oilfield, located in the Sudanese state of South Kordofan, triggering the Heglig Crisis. On 27 September, Kiir met Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and signed eight agreements in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, which led the way to resume important oil exports and create a six-mile demilitarised zone along their border. The agreements allow for the return of 350,000 barrels of South Sudanese oil to the world market. In addition, the agreements include an understanding on the parameters to follow in regards to demarcating their border, an economic cooperation agreement and a deal to protect each other's citizens. Certain issues remain unsolved and future talks are scheduled to resolve them.

On 25 November 2012, South Sudan launched a formal complaint to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) against Sudan in the wake of aerial bombings carried out by the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) in parts of South Sudan's northern Bahr el Ghazal state, killing at least eight people and injuring an equal number. South Sudan treated the attack as a gross violation of the cooperation agreement the two country's leaders signed in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on 27 September.[16]

Political Program[edit]

In his speech at the 2nd anniversary of South Sudan’s Independence on 9 July 2013 Kiir outlined a broad program of reforms called to rebuild South Sudan after the decades of its independence war against the North. Kiir’s program includes building transportation infrastructure, in particular - alternative routes for oil exports via Uganda, Kenya and Ethiopia which will end South’s dependence on the only present route going through the hostile North; putting an end to internal tribal hostilities; drastically improving population’s access to clean water, health care and schooling; modernizing agricultural sector; fighting gender inequality and corruption.[17]

Political crisis[edit]

On the evening of 15 December 2013, a saction of the SPLA's presidential guards; the Tiger mainly Nuer and several Dinka from Salva Kiir's Dinka tribes clashed in which was similar to a coup. In addition, eyes witness claimed that many Nuer civilians including students from various educational institutions in Juba city were armed and fighting. Due to that many of them were less skillful with the use of automatic machine guns that were distributed to them, they have died in big numbers. In the next day, Salva Kiir then announced that coup plotted by Machar have failed and many former government officials were arrested believe to be directly involved in this attempt failed coup, though Machar and his friends denied it and renounced to be implicated in the conflict and blamed President Kiir for playing power politics. On 19 December, Bor was seized by the defected army from division in Jonglei state that was 90% Nuer which then they named it South Sudan Liberation Army in shortest period of time, following a fight with governmental forces. Following that, many Nuer in the army which are mostly members of formers militia who were fighting the SPLA along side Khartoum and integrated in national army by Salva Kiir himself have rebelled against him in all over the three states of the Upper Nile region where Machar tribe is the largest ethnic group. Today, the fighting is concentrated in the state of the Upper Nile which is the oil producing state. Machar seems to have planned to take control of the oil fields in an attempt to disturb the economy of the new state aiming to weakening the government economically.

Controversial alleged marriage[edit]

In politically charged social issues, it has been claimed that Salva Kiir secretly and traditionally maried the daughter of the late Gen. William Nyuon Bany, who is a Nuer. The ceremony conducted by his elder brother in accordance with Dinka culture is said to have occured in Bhar el Ghazal. This has caused public strife between Kiir's eldest daughter and Aluel William Nyuon Bany in Nairobi.[18][19] President Kiir himself remains silent and has not publicly commented, on the marriage.


  1. ^ Sheikholeslami, Ali (January 1, 2011). "Who Is Salva Kiir?". 
  2. ^ a b c "Profile: Salva Kiir". BBC News. 2 August 2005. Retrieved 26 January 2010. 
  3. ^ Johnson, Douglas H. (2003). The Root Causes of Sudan's Civil Wars. Indiana University Press. p. 66. ISBN 0-253-21584-6. 
  4. ^ "S. Sudan president makes first call for independence". Reuters. 31 October 2009. Retrieved 26 January 2010. 
  5. ^ "Sudan would accept separation, says President Bashir". BBC News. 19 January 2010. Retrieved 26 January 2010. 
  6. ^ Gettleman, Jeffrey (April 26, 2010). "Bashir Wins Election as Sudan Edges Toward Split". The New York Times. 
  7. ^ "Salva Kiir and Ali Osman appointed deputies of Sudan’s President". Sudan Tribune. 29 May 2010. 
  8. ^ "Over 99 Percent in Southern Sudan Vote for Secession". FOX News. 30 January 2011. Retrieved 25 August 2011. 
  9. ^ "South Sudan: Salva Kiir Calls for Forgiveness As South Gains Independence". 9 July 2011. Retrieved 25 August 2011. 
  10. ^ "Salva Kiir takes oath, grants amnesty to rebels". Sudan Tribune. 9 July 2011. Retrieved 25 August 2011. 
  11. ^ Wadu, Waakhe Simon (1 August 2011). "Salva Kiir Warns Armed South Sudan Forces Over Human Rights Abuse". Oye! Times. Retrieved 18 August 2011. 
  12. ^ "South Sudan gripped by power struggle - Africa". Al Jazeera English. Retrieved 2014-01-21. 
  13. ^ "South Sudan readies for EAC membership which was later rejected". 2011-10-17. Retrieved 2011-12-06. 
  14. ^ "Al Arabiya, 12/20/2011". Retrieved 2014-01-21. 
  15. ^ Daniel Pipes. "South Sudan, Israel's New Ally". Daniel Pipes. Retrieved 2014-01-21. 
  16. ^ 25 November 2012 (2012-11-25). "South Sudan: Juba to File Complaint to UN Security Council Over Khartoum Aggression". Retrieved 2014-01-21. 
  18. ^
  19. ^

External links[edit]

Political offices
New office Vice President of Southern Sudan
Succeeded by
Riek Machar
Preceded by
John Garang
President of Southern Sudan
Position abolished
First Vice President of Sudan
Succeeded by
Ali Osman Taha
New office President of South Sudan