JUBA (HAN) April 13. 2016. Public Diplomacy & Regional Security News. South Sudanese First Vice President designate, Riek Machar, who leads the armed opposition faction (SPLM-IO), is in his General Headquarters of Pagak in eastern part of Upper Nile state, to prepare for his soon expected return to the national capital, Juba, says his spokesperson.
- He however added that the soon return to Juba of the opposition’s top leader will also depend on progress made in Juba on required steps before the 18 April’s schedule.
Machar’s press secretary, James Gatdet Dak, in a live interview with the Juba-based United Nations-run Miraya FM radio on Wednesday, said the rival parties to the August 2015 peace agreement and the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) will have to verify the demilitarization of the capital before the top opposition leader could return.
He also cited government’s refusal to allow the First Vice President designate to take oath of office upon his arrival as another stumbling block, questioning the intention of the government.
He further claimed that President Salva Kiir’s government has also refused to allow for a public rally in order for Machar to address the nation upon his arrival and give them assurance in the implementation of the peace deal.
Dak further accused the government of arresting and detaining many officials in Juba, including 16 media personnel still under detention for alerting public to receive the opposition’s deputy chairman, Alfred Lado Gore, who arrived in Juba on Tuesday.
The media senior official further charged that members of the public were prevented from going to the airport to welcome the second in command.
The arrival and reception of Gore was not also broadcasted on the state-run South Sudan Television (SSTV) on Tuesday.
The opposition leader’s spokesman therefore hinted that Machar may not return to Juba on 18 April if these “serious concerns’ are not addressed and resolved.
According to the government, Machar will only be allowed to make a press conference at the airport upon arrival and then pass through late John Garang’s Mausoleum to pay his respect and proceed to his residence at Jebel Kujur where his troops are stationed.
Anything to do with the swearing in ceremony or meeting with President Salva Kiir, the government said, would be done days later in accordance with the government’s normal conduct of business.
Machar, who leads the opposition army of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA-IO), arrived in Pagak on Tuesday from Addis Ababa.