South Sudan formed its transitional government of national unity today, more than eight months after President Salva Kiir and then-rebel leader Riek Machar signed a peace deal.
The cabinet of thirty ministers plus some deputies held its first council of ministers meeting after being sworn in at the ministry of cabinet affairs in Juba.
First Vice President Riek Machar spoke before President Salva Kiir. “I’m happy to be back in this room, I know a lot of faces,” Machar said.
Machar urged the ministers to tackle insecurity.
“Once there is peace, the economy will be stabilized, so once we stablize our economy, we should work to ensure that the South Sudanese Pound is the one talked about in the region,” he said.
Machar also appealed for reconciliation.
“Most important is reconciliation. How do you handle reconciliation? If you handle it with suspicion, it won’t succeed,” he said.
For his part, Kiir appealed to the ministers to work together.
“The responsibility imposed on us by the agreement needs each and every one of us to contribute to the stabilization of our country,” he said.
He urged people to “forget about what happened” during the war and move forward.
The president also asked foreigners to give them money since the transitional goverment has formed.
“If they were intending to give that money to Dr Riek, let them bring it and give it to him, because he will not carry it away, he will use it for the benefit of the people of South Sudan,” Kiir said.
Before the meeting began, Archbishop Paolino Lukudu told the ministers that they were the ones who gave South Sudan its independence but they are also the ones who gave South Sudan the civil war.
Meanwhile, Cabinet Affairs Minister Martin Elia Lomuro told the assembled ministers to be patient while they arrange for housing and vehicles for them, which he said may take more than a month. He added that offices would be made available first.
After the meeting the cabinet posed for photographs and shook hands together.