Armed opposition group says acknowledges concerns by holdout groups

South Sudan’s rebel leader walking as he enters IGAD summit of heads of states and government (File photo)

September 17th 2018 (Nyamilepedia)  – South Sudan main opposition group, led by former first Vice President Dr. Riek Machar Teny, says it acknowledges the concerns expressed by the holdouts during the signing of the Revitalized ARCSS.

In an exclusive interview with the Nyamilepedia on Saturday, the Chairperson of the National Committee for Culture, Youth Empowerment and Sports of the SPLM/SPLA(IO) Manasseh Zindo, explained that their movement resolved to ink the final peace deal, saying the agreement is counted on the SPLM/A (IO) due to the fact that, it’s considered as the main opposition group in the country, and that they decided to show off leadership commitment by signing the peace deal despite their grievances that remain unaddressed by the mediators.

“The SPLM / SPLA (IO) did not cross the river alone. It crossed the river together with other stakeholders, though it acknowledges with regret the fact that some opposition groups opted out. The SPLM (IO) understand their concerns and skepticism, because we are dealing with a regime that do not respect accords it has signed. However, as the main opposition force in the struggle for change in South Sudan, people look up to SPLM / SPLA (IO). It’s based on this that we decided to show leadership” said Manasseh.

He stated that, for the sake of peace and consideration of these immense hardships that the civil population is going through, and in compliance of implementation matrix of the Revitalized ARCSS; the leadership of the SPLM/A (IO) remains comitted and is still observing the ceasefire in spite of a series of attacks carried out on their defensive positions by the government forces.

“The mediation didn’t meet our expectations including the blacked issues which were forward to the IGAD council of ministers for deliberations; and as you know, we didn’t get favorable response.The SPLM / SPLA (IO) has been in the forefront agitating for a peaceful settlement to the conflict; including adhering to all the commitments we have made. We have respected ceasefires despite continued attacks on our positions by the regime.
We have released prisoners of war (POW), but our colleagues are still held up in the regime’s prisons” He said.

The main opposition explained that their decision to accept the establishment of
the Inclusive Boundary Commission (IBC) by the East African regional bloc, (IGAD) is a compromise in an attempt to collect views and get feedback from the citizens at the grassroot levels on the number of states.

“As a compromise we agreed on the creation of the Inclusive Boundary Commission (IBC) to help us in determining the number of states. The IBC will carry a popular consultations with the people of South Sudan to collect their views. The SPLM / SPLA (IO) settled for this approach because we want the people to own this agreement. It’s worth mentioning that the survival of this revitalized ARCISS is based on key components of the agreement such as the issue of the states, the security arrangements and decision making both in the cabinet and legislature” said Manasseh Zindo.

The Chairperson of the National Committee for Culture, Youth Empowerment and Sports, Manasseh Zindo, further said the SPLM/A (IO) has played an important role in finding peace and fully participated in its signing, however, he pointed out that if the agreement ends in failure, the leadership of the main opposition group will distance itself from its failures and wash of it hands.

“These provisions must be implemented during the pre-transitional period which will come into force as soon as the revitalized agreement is ratified by the National Liberation Council (NLC) of SPLM / SPLA (IO) and the parliament in Juba. In good faith, we have brought Peace which we think is sustainable. If it fails, South Sudanese should hold responsible those who will contribute to the failure of the revitalized ARCISS”
He added.

South Sudan warring factions on Wednesday signed the agreement in the Ethiopian Capital Addis Ababa, but the agreement was not signed by some members from the South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA) who expressed their concerns, saying the mediation team failed to resolve the contentious issues raised in Khartoum.

South Sudan descended into civil in December 2013 following the outbreak of violence between the SPLA forces loyal to President Salva Kiir Mayardit and forces allied to former Vice-President Dr.Riek Machar Machar.