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FULL BRIEFING: Hon Henry Odwar Briefing South Sudanese Communities in Canada

Hon. Henry Odwar posting for a group photo after briefing the SPLM/A(IO) leadership in Alberta Canada, Oct 14, 2019(Photo credit: Nyamilepedia)
Hon. Henry Odwar posting for a group photo after briefing the SPLM/A(IO) leadership in Alberta Canada, Oct 14, 2019(Photo credit: Nyamilepedia)

October 21, 2019(Nyamilepedia) — Speaking to South Sudanese communities in Canada on October 11th and 12th, 2019, Hon. Henry Odwar, the Deputy Chairman of the SPLM/A(IO), discussed the following political issues, how they affect peace implementation process and why he believes the government, the international community and peace guarantors act the way they do.

Number of States

Speaking about the number of states, Hon. Henry Odwar said the SPLM/A(IO) wanted 21 states when the government wanted 10 states and as a result the SPLM(IO) had to compromise to accept 10 states in 2015; however, President Salva Kiir violated the peace agreement on October 2, 2015 by creating 28 states.

“We wanted 21 states in 2015, the government wanted 10 states, then the SPLM/A(IO) compromised but on October 2, 2015, Kiir created 28 states in violation of that peace agreement” Odwar explains.

Odwar reiterated that the Independent Boundaries Committee(IBC) was formed recently[2018] to resolve the issue of states and their boundaries, and when they failed to meet the vote [7/10], they recommended a return to ten states.

Odwar assures the young people that their leaders do not want to form a government if the number of states is not resolved – stressing that they do not want to leave problems they created for the young people.

“We do not want to leave problems we have created for you- you young people. We will not form the government if the number of states is not resolved” Odwar continued.

Security Arrangement

On Security Arrangement, Odwar decried lack of progress saying that the government is not funding the security arrangement;

“The government is not funding the security arrangement, it is not releasing the agreed money” Odwar said.

“If the budget of last year at 120, 000 barrels a day covered until June, 2019; how come the 2018-19 budget can’t cover security arrangement when oil production has increased to 180, 000 barrels a day?” Hon. Odwar wonders.

The deputy SPLM/A(IO) explained that some cantonments are operationalized but some have not received basic necessities such as water, mosquito nets, food items and shelters.

“How do you manage 3, 750 soldiers in a cantonment without food supplies?” Odwar questioned.

Hon. Odwar went on to explain that two or more forces must be emerged to form the national army and all South Sudanese must participate in such exercise emphasizing that the security arrangement is not a security arrangement for Riek Machar and Salva Kiir but a security arrangement for the people of South Sudan to enjoy a lasting peace.

“All South Sudanese must participate in all Security Sectors” Odwars said.

To attract attention of the international community, Odwar believes that Juba will rush through the training of 3000 troops within the next two weeks and calls on the international community to make them believe that the security arrangement has been implemented.

“3000 troops will be rushed through training within the next two weeks and flag them to the world that security arrangement is implemented” He reiterated.

Odwar stressed in the strongest terms possible that the current security forces, the army and police, in Juba are highly ethnicized.

He went on to explain that police arrest and release people in Juba at their will without following any directives or laws.

Salva Kiir Planning For War

Hon. Odwar explains that while the opposition is working hard to ensure that peace returns to South Sudan, he said the government is planning for another dogfight in Juba.

Instead of demilitarizing the capital, the government has deployed more troops within the capital, Juba and also along the major exits surrounding Juba to ensure that in event of another fighting, nobody exits again.

“What is 1,500 troops against 21, 500 troops? Kiir has already planned for another war. He took the former Wildlife headquarters in Juba and deployed more tigers there.  If you exit Juba, Juba-Yei road is closed, all exits are closed”Said the Deputy SPLM/A(IO) Chairman.

“So we have to be very careful. Will this peace last? NO!” He continued.

Despite, Odwar assures that the SPLM/A(IO) delegation in Juba will not leave Juba even if Salva Kiir goes ahead to form another government without the SPLM/A(IO).

Problem of Peace Guarantors

Odwar acknowledged the problem of peace guarantors saying Sudan is affected by its internal crises and Uganda is an ally to Salva Kiir government and therefore if the peace agreement fails then the African Union or ECOWAS from West Africa will have to take over the mediation.

“Sudan is flattering, Uganda will never be trusted and Kenya has her interest in refugees to maintain UN centres in Kenya” Odwar said.

“Ethiopian Prime Minister just won the Nobel Peace Prize, so he will be a “peace maker”” He continued.

Accountability and Cantonment Supplies

On matter of accountability Odwar said the SPLM/A(IO) is ready for accountability and willing to allow the process to take its due cost; however, the government on the other hand is not willing to bring accountability.

“Women rapped by soldiers, children burned in houses but you all know how the government is bribing the international firms to block accountability” Odwar said.

“It took us 21 years to achieve our independence, now we have other arabs but no matter how long it takes, we will hold people accountable even if they are dead” The IO deputy Chairman warns.

“Even on our side as IO, there are people who have committed crimes and they will face justice” He stressed.

On supplying soldiers in cantonment sites, Odwar acknowledged that there are corrupt middlemen who want to turn it into another “dura sagga” where officials would go to states and asked governors to sign on blank cheques that dura was delivered to their constituencies in order to go to Central Bank with a receipt to collect money for food that was not delivered.

Odwar said in order to minimize corruption on supplying cantonments, contracts have been awarded to Sudanese businessmen and so far they have supplied over 10, 000 tons of food.

He also mentioned that there were some robberies along the Nile to steal supplies but a significant number of supplies reached their final destination in parts of Equatoria.

Economy, Democracy and Federal System:

On economy, Odwar stressed that South Sudan economy is shrinking because a handful politicians withdraw oil money and divide it among themselves with their friends, and spend their money on their families in neighboring countries.

The SPLM/A(IO) Deputy Chairman stressed that there is no democracy in Juba but politicians who are advised by the president.

“There is no democracy in Republic of South Sudan. Judiciary, parliament and other organs are rubber stamps. The judges are ordered by the president” Odwar said.

On Federal system, Odwar explains by illustrating fire brigade as an example that there is no point to centralize fire brigade department, headquartered in Juba, because a fire in the states or in the rural areas cannot wait for firefighters to come all the way from Juba.

“Also basic education. health, police and wildlife should be handled by the states. The state at national level should only handled military and tertiary education” He further explains.

“We can only exist if we have a federal system of governance” He added.

J1 Prayers and Threat To Form a RTGNU on November 12, 2019

Henry Odwar also criticized the recent prayers in J1 saying that immediately after everyone kneeled down, Kiir got up and started pointing into his eyes that you must go and tell your chairman that whether he likes it or not, he[Kiir] will go ahead to form his Transitional Government by November 12, 2019.

Odwar later responded in writing and told Salva Kiir to go ahead and form his government but the SPLM/A(IO) will not be part of it.

Three weeks later, Odwar’s chairman came to Juba and told President Salva Kiir that he[Machar] will not be party of his “shady deals” and if he wants to form his government, then count the SPLM/A(IO) out.

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