March 27, 2014(Nyamilepedia) — South Sudan SPLM in oppositions and other oppositions groups, under the leadership of Dr. Riek Machar, have submitted a protest letter to the IGAD mediators in Addis Ababa. In a letter signed by the chief negotiator, Taban Deng Gai, the alliance have condemned any participation of Uganda in the IGAD-led peace process. The rebels have condemned this move in the “strongest terms possible”, threatening to boycott any peace process that include Uganda as an observer.
“The SPLM/A-[in Opposition] rejects in the strongest terms possible the participation of Uganda as an observer at the IGAD Peace Process in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia”, Gai says in the statement.
“It is with deep regret that, SPLM/A-[in Opposition] shall not sit at the negotiation table where Uganda is an observer because Uganda can not be both the prosecutor and the judge at the same time”, he continues.
The letter also stressed the fact that Uganda is still in active combats in South Sudan, battling deeply rooted rebels in the greater upper region. According to Gai, Uganda can join the government of Salva Kiir’s delegation if interested in the peace talk.
“The Uganda People’s Defense Force (UPDF) is fighting alongside the government of South Sudan’s forces; and therefore it’s a party to the conflict which disqualifies them as a peace mediator. SPLM/A has no objection to the participation of Uganda alongside the Government of Salva Kirr’s delegation”, Gai added.
Reaction from South Sudanese:
The news has woken up South Sudanese across states and on social media. South Sudanese have been critical about Uganda’s involvement in South Sudan but this news inflicted even more bitterness, as they sound. Some supporters threatened to cease support of the SPLM – [in opposition] if Uganda participates in the peace process. A few commenters, reached by Nyamilepedia, repeated a similar response, that Uganda must not participate as an observer.
“Uganda kills our people. They are our problem. They can never be our solution. Such a move by IGAD shows that IGAD is not neutral and if that is the case, they should join the government side and fight the rebels or negotiate with them somewhere else.” Daudi Santino acknowledged.
“Dear Gen Taban Deng Gai and SPLA/M in Opposition, please comrades do not allow whatsoever it may takes for Ugandan team to participate as observers in peace negotiation in Addis Ababa. What creditability does Uganda Government has while they had already taken side with Kiir’s genocidal regime against our freedom fighters under Dr Riek Machar? The neutrality of Uganda and IGAD country members is questionable because recently they all agreed to deployed troops to protect oilfields from rebels while they are at the same time acting as mediators. What a joke or conspiracy policy? IGAD member countries must know that siding with genocidal regime won’t stop our causes for fighting as to instal democracy, good governance, federalism, human rights, freedom of expression/speech/movement and to bring accountable/transferable/responsible government across the country. We will continue fighting till genocidal President Salva Kiir who massacred his own citizens resign either forcefully through bullets or peacefully as to give peace a chance within South Sudan. We will continue fighting till all hired mercenaries and invaders like UPDF of Uganda, M23 of Congolese rebels,and Sudan rebels JEM, SPLA-N or SRF withdraw completely from RSS” Bentiu Son, commented on his friend post.
“I think this is a tactical withdrawal of IGAD from the peace process. IGAD has fails but they don’t want to admit. It would be an abuse of our intelligence as the youth of this country[South Sudan] if Uganda can be allowed to mingle in the battlefields and now dictates peace on the IGAD table.”Alfred Mayen asserted.
The rebels, however, believe in a peaceful resolution and urge all parties to commit to the dialogue.