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Gov’t only “obstacle” to peace in South Sudan – IO says

Mabior Garang de Mabior, The SPLM/A(IO) Committee Chairperson for Information and and Public Relations(Photo credit: supplied)
Mabior Garang de Mabior, The SPLM/A(IO) Committee Chairperson for Information and and Public Relations(Photo credit: supplied)

December 9th 2019 (Nyamilepedia) – South Sudan’s main armed opposition group, SPLM-IO, has said that the government of President Salva Kiir Mayardit is the obstacle to peace in the war-torn country.

The opposition group and the government signed a revitalized peace deal last year to end the war which has killed thousands and displaced millions. The two have since blamed each other for failure to implement pre-transitional tasks needed before they could form a unity government provided for in the agreement.

It is a condition that the parties complete the security arrangements (formation of one national army and police) and determine the number and boundaries of states, which has been a very thorny issue in the ongoing peace process, before forming a government.

Last week, the parties to the agreement convened in Juba to negotiate a solution on the state dispute. They couldn’t agree because the government wants to maintain or increase the current 32 states which the region has deemed unnecessary as all of the country’s regions are starving.

Meanwhile the SPLM-IO and other opposition groups want the country returned to 10 states as it was before 2015. They said this will avoid taking the country back to war over tribal land disputes created by the current states.

In a statement issued this morning, the Machar-led movement said “it is clear from all the reports that the regime is the obstacle to peace in South Sudan.”

“The extension of the pre-transitional period of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS), must be understood within the context of the regime’s intransigence and failure to implement tasks critical to the successful implementation of the negotiated peace settlement. In addition, the deal is a “Revitalization” of the collapsed Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCSS).

“It is important to understand the genesis of the 100 days extension, because the regime is trying to portray the extension as unreasonable demands from the SPLM/SPLA (IO), as if we requested an extension for the sake of it. The extension of the Agreement is now in its 26th day and there is still nothing to show in terms of the implementation of the security arrangements and the resolution of the number of states and their boundaries. Instead, the regime has decided – as usual – to shift goalposts, demanding an additional 23 states to total 55. The regime has gone as far as suggesting that the issue of the states can only be resolved through a referendum, when they were created overnight through the decree of an individual.

“The public should not forget that the 2015 Agreement was signed based on 10 states and the introduction of the 32 states was a counter insurgency tactic the regime used to muddy the waters – as it were – and create tension, which eventually precipitated the war in 2016. To paraphrase Dr. Majak D’Agot’s recent Twitter post, who will vote in this would-be referendum when a third of the population are refugees and countless more internally displaced? These are the futile attempts of an undemocratic, anti-people regime to weaponize the idea democracy, as a way to undermine the democratic process.

“The regime introduced the 32 states as a way to undermine the SPLM/SPLA (IO), which has a popular proposal of 21 states based on the old colonial districts, which have clearly demarcated boundaries – unlike the 32 states. This is part of the vision of the shadow government in our party/movement and we hope to present it to the people of South Sudan during the implementation of Chapter VI. Parameters for a Permanent Constitution. There is no legal basis for the regime’s 32 states and if the stakeholders to the Agreement cannot find a compromise solution, then the logical thing to do is return to the 10 states, which has a basis in the laws governing the Agreement.

“How long shall the peace loving people of the world and the friends of the peoples of South Sudan standby and watch the regime enjoy the privilege of incumbency – which they are flaunting with impunity – while they plunder the national wealth of the country and murder anyone who questions the unbearable status quo. If there are no punitive measures for those who violate the Agreement, then the 100 days shall expire with nothing much achieved and the traditional elite shall continue to rule through transitions.

“The implementation of the Agreement in letter and spirit, is the least costly way for our peoples to bring about fundamental change in our society. The SPLM/SPLA (IO) is fully committed to the negotiated settlement and we shall wage this peace to its logical conclusion.”

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