Nov 11, 2014(Nyamilepedia) — South Sudan’s main warring parties, namely, the Government of South Sudan, under Salva Kiir Mayardit and the Sudan People Liberation Movement faction Under Dr. Riek Machar Teny, the former Vice President, agreed on November 9th, 2014, to recommit to Cessation of Hostilities Agreement(COH), signed on January 23rd, 2014.
According to the procedural matrix of Cessation of Hostilities agreement (mCOH), signed on November 9th by the two Chief Negotiators, Nhial Deng Nhial and Gen. Taban Deng Gai, the allied mercenaries are expected to progressively begin withdrawing in five days.
“The parties agree to the progressive withdrawal of allies from areas where the MVM and protection forces are deployed, which will begin seven(7) days after signing the COH implementation matrix”. Read the COH agrement.
According to section 1.2(e) of the implementation matrix, the warring parties are tasked to “redeploy or progressively withdraw forces, groups or allied mercenaries invited by either side from the theater of operations in the Republic of South Sudan”.
The allied forces, according to the agreement, shall “move out of effective range in a staged and complete withdrawal monitored by the Monitoring and Verification Mechanism(MVM)”
The MVM, in consultation with the warring parties, is tasked to designate the routs, timing for movement and informing the population and stakeholders.
As agreed by the parties and witnessed by the regional body, IGAD, the foreign forces are expected to complete partial withdrawal in 30 days and a full exit from the Republic of South Sudan territories upon the signing of permanent ceasefire agreement.
“with a partial withdrawal complete after 30 days and a complete withdrawal from the Republic of South Sudan upon signing of a permanent Ceasefire agreement.” Section 1.2(e) of COH reads.
According to Michael Makuei Lueth, the regime’s Minister of information and Broadcasting, “peace is around the corners”. Hon. Makuei believes that a final agreement could be signed on December 15, 2014, to end a year full of death and atrocities.
The Republic of Uganda, a main participant in South Sudan conflict, intervened in December, allegedly, to evacuate their citizens but later persists to protect Ugandans’ economic and political interest in the world’s youngest nation.
The Ugandans’ People Defense Force(UPDF) while accused of using the internationally banned clusters bombs and for supplying Salva Kiir’s SPLA faction with warplanes, weapon and ammunition has remained in the battle fields to defense the strategic towns of Bor, Nsitu and Juba for the last eleven(11) months.
Uganda Preconditioned Withdrawing The UPDF
Although some Ugandans condemn the military interference of UPDF and the level of destruction, especially in the town of Bor and other parts of Greater Upper Nile, Museveni’s government insists that the UPDF will not withdraw until replaced by IGAD forces.
The IGAD forces began deploying in Bor, Bentiu and Malakal in May this year, however, the Ugandans haven’t withdrawn, arguing that Salva Kiir government will be toppled within days, if the UPDF withdraws.
According to Ugandan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Relations, Hon. Henry Okello Oryem, UPDF will not withdraw until replaced by a regional force.
According to James Gatdet Dak, the spokesperson to Dr. Riek Machar, the Ugandan army should accept to withdraw, insisting that it is not wise to maintain foreign troops in South Sudan territories after the signing of Cessation of Hostilities Agreement.
“This, if confirmed, is against the provisions on foreign troops’ withdrawal as stipulated in the IGAD-mediated Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (COH) and its implementation matrix signed between the two warring parties on 9 November in Addis Ababa. In addition, there is no need and it is not wise to deploy regional forces and renationalized the war.” James Gatdet said.
Gatdet was responding to Okello’s overstated radio statements, in which he emphasized the role of UPDF and why their forces should remain in the Republic of South Sudan saying:
“If the UPDF had not intervened, Juba would be a ghost town now with birds, cats and dogs running on the streets”, and continued that “South Sudanese would have killed each other completely.”
Okello blames the South Sudan rebels for not giving credits to Ugandan forces while blaming Dr. Machar for not being “enthusiastic” about the participation of Uganda in South Sudan’s internal conflict.
“I always shook his hand, counselled him and wished God would help him to bring peace to South Sudan but he expressed no enthusiasm at all” Okello said while referring to Dr. Machar.
According to James Gatdet, Uganda deserves no credits but condemnations for inflaming the violence, destruction and increasing the death toll.
The SPLM [in Opposition] believes that Uganda is nurturing dictatorship in the country while prolonging and spreading the war and the suffering of the South Sudanese people.
“Well, we want to say that Uganda’s influence on the South Sudanese politics from the onset is partly responsible for grooming the dictatorial tendencies developed by president Salva Kiir in the government and in the ruling party (SPLM).” Gatdet said.
“Also Uganda’s military interference in the capital, Juba, and Bor in January and beyond has not resolved the problem or stopped the violence, but unfortunately only succeeded in increasing the death toll, prolonging and spreading the war and the suffering of the people of South Sudan. So there is nothing to be enthusiastic about or give credit to.”Gatdet continued.
Gatdet, instead, believes that Hon. Okello, the son of former Ugandan president, Gen. Tito Lutwa Okello, should give credits to Dr. Machar for mediating a peace agreement that helped in ending over two decades of atrocities, war crimes and human rights violations in Northern Ugandan between Museveni’s government and the Lord’s Resistance Army(LRA) of Joseph Konyi.
“Hon minister Oryem, who hails from Northern Uganda, should have been the one to give credit to Dr. Riek Machar because he understands that Cde Dr. Riek Machar is a visionary and peace-loving person and leader. He mediated the peace talks between the Ugandan government and the LRA between 2006 and 2008.” James Gatdet said.
“Northern Uganda is now peaceful because of that effort. Hon Oryem himself was part of the government’s delegation at the talks in Juba under the mediation of Cde Dr. Riek Machar and he was actually the deputy leader of the delegation which was led by the current newly appointed Prime Minister, Hon Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda.” Gatdet explains.
Hon. Okello’s father, Gen. Tito Lutwa Okello, who hails from the same tribe of Acholi Ethnic Group with LRA’s leader, Joseph Konyi, was overthrown by Museveni’s National Resistance Army(NRA) in a military coup on 26 January 1986 after six months in power.
Gen. Okello fled to exile in Kenya but Gen. Joseph Konyi, who felt out with Museveni, maintained his ground in the battle fields of Northern Uganda, where he fought brutal wars with the Museveni’s government for over 20 years.
Gatdet reiterates that the South Sudanese people hold no grudges against the people of Uganda and Museveni’ government, however, the opposition urges Museveni’s leadership and the Ugandan people to remain neutral like other Africans.
“We in the SPLM/SPLA do not hold any grudges against the government and the people of Uganda, but would want to see the current leadership in Uganda play an impartial positive role to help end the war in South Sudan. Uganda should reverse the approach of taking a military side, which has proven unhelpful and problematic.” Gatdet reiterated.
“IGAD should also ensure that the COH which it mediated between the two warring parties is fully implemented and respected by all its member states including Uganda.” Gatdet said.