Addis Ababa (HAN) October 15, 2015 Public Diplomacy and Regional Security News. The armed opposition faction of SPLM-IO said they are not sure whether or not their leader, Riek Machar, will return to the national capital, Juba, in December as planned, explaining “this will depend on security guarantees.”
James Gatdet Dak, spokesman of the first vice-president designate, told Sudan Tribune that the ongoing violations of the peace agreement by president Salva Kiir’s government coupled with no agreement on security arrangements may delay their return to the capital.
“Of course the plan was for our leadership to return to Juba in December and form a transitional government of national unity in accordance with the peace agreement. But now you can see that the peace agreement has been violated by president Kiir’s government. This may not make it possible for the leadership of the SPLM/SPLA to return to Juba as planned,” he told Sudan Tribune in response to the inquiry.
Dak said the unilateral creation of the 28 states by a presidential order was the violation of the peace agreement which is based on the current 10 states, adding that the process should have been handled through the existing mechanisms in the peace deal, particularly in the permanent constitution making process.
“The peace agreement is the only mechanism through which to alter the current transitional constitution. It serves as the supreme document on the basis of which the current transitional constitution shall be amended and a permanent constitution shall be made. No party is allowed to unilaterally alter it,” he said.
He warned that if the IGAD mediation and the international community will not put enough pressure to halt the government’s plan from proceeding in the establishment of the states, the SPLM-IO may be forced to come up with a counter-resolution.
He described the current leadership in Juba as a “troublemaker” challenging that they couldn’t come up with a single reason as to why they rejected creation of more states when this was “timely” tabled by the SPLM-IO during the recent peace talks as an overdue popular demand of the people of South Sudan.
“The leadership in Juba is a gambler with no vision at all for the people. They are troublemakers, and they seem to take pride in troublemaking, being unreasonable regime as they are,” he lashed out.
The opposition spokesman maintained that if the leadership in Juba was for the people’s interest and welfare and to stop the war as they alleged, they would have accepted the creation of more federal states during the peace talks and the parties would have simply discussed the manner in which such states would have been created and incorporated in the peace agreement.
“As troublemakers, their delegation was kicking and yelling at us in Addis Ababa when we tabled the creation of 21 states. We told them this has been a popular demand of the people. They said it was not time to create more states, arguing this should be taken to the people in a referendum. But what happened on October 2? Without consultations president Kiir surprised everybody with an unconstitutional order to single-handedly create 28 states,” he added.
He said the move has dragged back the peace process as it will open a “Pandora’s box” for another cycle of renegotiation on many key provisions of the peace accord which will be affected by the presidential order, thus suspending the implementation of the peace deal.
Civil society organizations that represent the voice of the people, he said, also condemned the unilateral decision by president Kiir, indicating that their allegations of claimed support in the violation was “false.”
Dak also revealed that if the security arrangements at the military workshop in Addis Ababa do not result to an agreement on security guarantees and demilitarization of the capital and other major towns, the leadership will not return to Juba.
The minutes signed at the workshop by the government without the knowledge of the SPLM-IO and further deliberations, he said, needed to be deliberated on and final resolution to the arrangement made.
He said keeping several thousands of government troops inside the capital as appeared in the minutes is another violation of the peace agreement which called for its demilitarization, saying SPLM-IO will not accept it.
“If carelessly handled, it will become a recipe for another disaster similar to the December 2013 genocide,” he warned.
Earlier, the opposition leader, Machar, told the US State Department that he would not accept to return to Juba unless security arrangements were successfully made.
“Why would I return to a killing ground,” he told Foreign Policy in Washington.(ST)