June 10th 2018 (Nyamilepedia) – South Sudan’s main armed Opposition Movement, the SPLM/A[IO], under the leadership of the country’s former First Vice-President, Riek Machar, said on Saturday that it is perplexed by the position recently taken by the leaders of Ethiopia and Ugandan who met in Entebbe and called on the South Sudan’s warring parties to renounce violence and armed rebellion.
In a statement extended to the Nyamilepedia on Saturday, the group said the SPLM-IO is a political movement which they said has never endorsed violence saying they have demonstrated that by returning to Juba in 2016 as well as the signing of the Cessation of Hostility Agreement that was signed on December 21st, 2017.
“The SPLM/SPLA (IO) is primarily a political Movement that has never endorsed violence and we have demonstrated our commitment to peace severally, including going to Juba prior to the implementation of security arrangements in 2016, all for the sake of peace. The resulting Taban Deng Debacle is now history and should serve as a lesson for any future attempts at shortcuts to peace. The SPLM/SPLA (IO) has shown our commitment to peace throughout the peace process and most recently by signing another Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (CoH) in December 2017 and by signing the Declaration of Principles (DoP) in February of the current year, which the regime refused to sign,” the statement signed by the SPLM-IO Chairman of National Committee for Information and Public Relations Mabior Garang de’Mabior.
The statement said the communique issued from Entebbe politicizes the peace process saying it is a language of the government in Juba.
“It is our contention that the idea of “renouncing violence” and “armed rebellion” is politicizing the peace process and it is the language of Juba. In reality it would only serve as a great proclamation but would add no value to the peace process. The civil population of South Sudan took up arms when the elected government planned, orchestrated and directed massacres and eventually genocide against her own people. This still happens intermittently as the government continues to violate the CoH, and kill innocent civilians, turning the citizens of South Sudan into the “wretched of the earth”” the statement said.
The group said the people of South Sudan will continue defending themselves against the war which it said was perpetuated by the government of Salva Kiir and massacred many innocent civilians.
“Even if, as the Communique suggests, the SPLM/SPLA (IO) “renounces violence”, the people of the Republic of South Sudan will continue to defend themselves against this war that was and continues to be imposed on them. In light of this fact, it would be immoral for the leadership of the SPLM/SPLA (IO) to renounce “violence” and “armed rebellion”, it would also show the leadership of the Movement as opportunists who joined the struggle for the trappings of power and not to effect radical reforms in the country. This is not the case. The SPLM/SPLA shall wage the struggle to bring about fundamental change in our country to its logical conclusion and our means of struggle are determined by our adversary, who is the initiator of violence and not our civil populations,” the statement added.
The SPLM/SPLA (IO), in the statement, reiterated its full commitment to the peace process and to a negotiated settlement saying it shall continue to engage positively with IGAD and all friends of the people of South Sudan, who are interested in helping the people achieve peace.
The group also said they shall continue to negotiate in good faith to restore peace to the people through the High-Level Revitalization Forum (HLRF) – saying in light of the regime’s intransigence, however, and the continued violation of the CoH and the continuation and evolution of their genocidal practices, the groups said it reserves the natural right of self-defense.
The new Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmed, and Ugandan President, Yoweri Museveni, met in Ugandan after a two-day state visit by the Ethiopian Premier from 8-9 June 2018 and discussed the situation in the neighboring South Sudan in which they called on the parties to renounce violence and rebellion, and instead redouble their efforts to find a peaceful settlement to the conflict in the country.
“Their Excellecies disccussed the situation in South Sudan. They called upon all parties to the conflict to renounce violence and armed rebellion, and redouble efforst to find a peaceful political solution through dialoague under the IGAD-led High Level Revitalization Forum. The Two leaders agreed on the need to conven an Extra-ordinary IGAD Summit to address outstanding issues,” article 7 of the communique date 9th June 2018 said.