Archive for: August 2018

PDM Rejects Initialing Khartoum Agreement

AUG/30/2018;
In light of the news and public statements issued jointly by the SPLM/A-IO and SSOA delegation to the Khartoum HLRF on initialing of the Draft Revitalized ARCSS this day 30th August 2018 in Khartoum, Sudan, PDM would like to reiterate its rejection to initialing of the Draft Revitalized ARCSS, and as a member of SSOA, PDM along with other members have not authorized Mr. Gabriel Chanson Chang, the interim Chair, to initial this Agreement in the name of SSOA as an opposition Bloc.

This action by SSOA interim Chair, therefore contravenes and violated the collectively agreed position of SSOA members that initialing and signing of the Revitalized Khartoum Agreement shall be in the name of each constituent SSOA member organization and not SSOA as a Bloc as did the interim Chair.

The consensus of SSOA members has not been rescinded by any collective decision, nor by a counter consensus of SSOA members in the last few days.

In the view of PDM, the original and preceding consensus still stands without change. The action of SSOA interim Chair to initial Khartoum Peace Agreement today is procedurally illegal and is without legitimacy, hence it carries no effect and is therefore null and void.

PDM wrote on 25th August 2018 stating its position to SSOA interim Chair in response to a request for viewpoints submission from all constituent SSOA members about this very issue.

To date, no decision was reached to grant consent to SSOA interim Chair request.

PDM would like to reiterate that the people of South Sudan call for a federal system of governance during the transitional period, based on three autonomous regions of Upper Nile, Equatoria and Bahr al Ghazal with their borders as they stood on 1st January 1956.

PDM stands for a people-centric power sharing between the people of three autonomous regions of Upper Nile, Equatoria, and Bahr al Ghazal, with 33.33% power sharing for each region.

PDM does not support the elites-centric power sharing between SPLM-IG, SPLM-IO, SPLM-FDs, SSOA and OPP.

PDM supports the 3-autonomous regions solution with their 21 former districts and 79 counties of the 2005 CPA.

This approach renders the referendum on number of states and boundaries redundant as provided for in the Khartoum elites-centric power sharing agreement.

Dr. Hakim Dario
PDM Chair
press@pdm-rss.org

PDM position on SSOA members signing as a bloc

To: Hon. Mr. Gabriel Changson Chang
Interim SSOA Chair
Mobile: +254 725 331 244 (Direct/WhatsApp)
Email: chang.changson@gmail.com

Date: 26th August 2018;

Dear Mr. Gabriel Changson, interim SSOA Chair

Re: SSOA Delegations recommend that SSOA signs as a bloc

Further to your communication on the above, dated 25th August 2018, requesting SSOA leaders’ position on SSOA Delegations in Khartoum recommending ‘SSOA signs as a bloc’, am therefore writing on PDM’s behalf to communicate our response.

Firstly thank you for the letter, PDM position remains as before that SSOA does not initial or sign the agreement as a bloc.

All SSOA members initial and sign the agreement individually, each in the name of their organization, providing that they are satisfied with the final text of the proposed draft Agreement.

PDM is flabbergasted by the claim of the interim Chair that there is need to sign or initial the Agreement as a bloc to protect certain unnamed SSOA members.

Since when did protecting certain unnamed SSOA members has become such an overriding obligation that is critical to negotiation in good faith, and to initialing and signing the Khartoum agreement?

PDM is of the view that protection of all parties to the HLRF process, which includes SSOA members, lay with the IGAD Special Envoy for South Sudan Office, who are responsible for inviting all parties to the HLRF process in Khartoum.

However, the main reason offered by the interim Chair to sign as a bloc is “to protect some of our organizations that experience some difficulties these days”.

This statement is misleading and not persuasive. It’s also not evidence based, it doesn’t say which organizations needed protection and why, nor what “difficulties” they faced!

There is no justification either for hiding and not sharing any factual information or evidence from SSOA leaders about who those “organizations” are and what “difficulties” they are likely to face as a result of either signing in the name of their own organization or not.

The agreement text, in PDM’s view, should also record who the members of SSOA are, by way of signature, so that SSOA can be legally identifiable as associated with the specific names of its identifiable constituent members. This is not currently the case.

Secondly, the objective of SSOA was not about protecting some unknown, implied or un-named constituent member organizations, which are unidentifiable, but rather to negotiate in good faith in a legitimate peace process as parties to the HLRF.

PDM does not therefore agree with nor approve of initialing or signing of the agreement as a bloc in the name of SSOA without record of each constituent member’s initials or signature.

Any member of SSOA shall do so only in the name of their organization as a constituent member of SSOA. This position as adopted by all SSOA members, was borne out of the 27th June 2018 coerced SSOA signature as a bloc on Khartoum Declaration of Agreement (KDA).

Dr. Hakim Dario
PDM Chair
press@pdm-rss.org

LATEST Breaking News: Uganda Army invades and occupies Yei River State, South Sudan

AUG/29/2018, SSN;

Highly reliable sources from the ground have reported that a heavy deployment of Uganda Soldiers UPDF has illegally entered and invaded South Sudan Yei River State Counties, these are:
1)- Bamure of Kajokeji County
2)- Jalle Border of Kajokeji County, and
3)- Kaya Town of Morobu County.

This information comes directly from opposition forces on the ground as the situation develops, especially as this is an omnious military action aimed to preempt resumption of war between Yoweri Museveni’s ally, Kiir and the rebel forces fighting the Kiir army.

Museveni has been the only chief supporter of the South Sudanese president Kiir and has always aggresively responded by illegally entering South Sudan to rescue Kiir from any rebel military advances in the on-going ‘civil war’ in the country.

Rebel opposition forces and intelligence on the ground have also corroborated this latest development of Ugandan troops already having entered South Sudan and have called on all the opposition forces to be fully alert on the ground.

Furthermore, the opposition rebel forces categorically reject the presence and illegal deployments of foreign troops if there is a chance for real success of the on-going peace talks in Khartoum.

The rebel opposition wishes to inform the IGAD mediators of this omnious development and their absolute rejection of any deployments of foreign troops and illegal entry of military conveys of Ugandan or any other country’s troops inside South Sudan Towns.

The rebel forces on the ground are therefore appealing to their leaders in the on-going Khartoum so-called peace talks to seriously take this information and immediate action is urgently needed to prevent any aggression happening to our Soldiers.

Meanwhile, South Sudan rebel SPLM/O-in-Opposition chief, Riek Machar, along with the SSOA (South Sudan Opposition Alliance) on Tuesday refused to sign a final peace deal with the government that aims to end a brutal civil war, a Sudanese mediator said.

“The main South Sudanese opposition groups, including the SPLM-IO (Machar faction), refused to sign the final document demanding that their reservations be guaranteed in it,” Sudanese Foreign Minister Al-Dierdiry Ahmed told reporters.

The warring South Sudanese parties have held weeks of talks in Khartoum in search of a comprehensive peace deal to end the conflict in the world’s youngest country that has killed tens of thousands of people and displaced millions since it erupted in December 2013.

    Khartoum Peace Agreement will make South Sudan a colony of Uganda and Arab North Sudan:

Furthermore, the famous Ugandan Prof. Mahamoud Mamdani speaking lately in Kampala has asserted the recent agreement in Khartoum is “not a South Sudanese peave agreement. It is an agreement between Sudan and Uganda.”

That if this agreement holds, Prof. Mamdani asserts, it will make South Sudan an informal protectorate of Uganda and the Sudan north, indefinitely.

What is in South Sudan is an army of Generals and not a national army. That South Sudan has no national government.

He is saying South Sudanese should look for their own peace agreement. That there is no peace agreement right now.

North Sudan wants to be rehabilitated by the USA through their Khartoum agreement. And that Bashir’s spy chief, Salah Gosh, is in contact with the Americans.

Uganda wants to recoup its financial losses and to avoid further economic losses.
(Reliable and independent sources)

Will the Latest Deal Bring Peace in South Sudan?

BY: Aly Verjee and Payton Knopf, United States Insstitute of Peace (USIP) Analysis and Commentary, AUG/20/2018, SSN;

Although welcomed by many citizens, the deal’s serious deficiencies could exacerbate the conflict.

On August 5, the warring parties in South Sudan signed an agreement which calls for the formation of another power-sharing government. The previous power-sharing government collapsed in July 2016, and the war has since spread throughout the country.

USIP’s Aly Verjee and Payton Knopf discuss the developments that led to the deal, identify the agreement’s risks and deficiencies, and assess future prospects for the peace process.

More than four years of civil war in South Sudan have chased millions from their homes, leaving countless farms abandoned. (Kassie Bracken/The New York Times)

Since the peace talks moved to Khartoum, Sudan, several agreements have been signed. Some media reported the August 5 agreement as a “final deal.” What is happening in the South Sudan peace process?

Verjee: The August 5 agreement is not a final deal. Negotiations were recently extended to August 27, and may well be extended again. The August 5 agreement was the sixth interim agreement signed since Sudan assumed control of the mediation process at the end of June, after Ethiopia relinquished its role as the lead mediator.

Assuming the remaining disputed issues and details are agreed, the negotiators will sign a final, consolidated document. That text will serve as the basis for the establishment of a new, transitional, power-sharing government, and require new security arrangements across the country.

It will also continue commitments to earlier economic, social and accountability measures made under the 2015 peace agreement, many of which were unimplemented.

In principle, this sounds fine—but there are major challenges ahead. There are serious deficiencies in the deal that may make things worse, particularly in the security sector.

An unrealistic timeline for the integration of forces may lead to another security collapse.

The uncertainty of measures for the demilitarization of urban areas could set the stage for new confrontations: a risk heightened by the memory of the battles in the capital, Juba, that both began the war in December 2013 and led to the 2015 agreement’s collapse.

Not all the aggrieved parties are yet included in the deal, which may incentivize some to keep fighting.

And perhaps most crucially, there is little evidence of genuine political will and desire to reform among those that signed the deal.

Will they spend the country’s resources to rebuild the ruined economy rather than enrich themselves?

Will they hold accountable those soldiers and commanders responsible for war crimes, and, ultimately agree to downsize the army?

Can they trust each other to govern collectively?

The enthusiasm with which many South Sudanese greeted the deal indicates how desperate people are for any chance of peace. But we are a long way from that peace becoming a certainty.

How have these latest developments in the peace process been influenced by political shifts in the region?

Knopf: The center of gravity in the peace process has rapidly shifted from Ethiopia to Sudan. Ethiopia had forcefully maintained control of the mediation, as well as the related cease-fire monitoring mechanism, since the outbreak of the civil war in December 2013.

But since taking office in April, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has undertaken a dizzying diplomatic effort in the region: he has brokered rapprochement with Eritrea, mitigated tensions on the use of the Nile with Egypt, and attempted to defuse political tensions in Somalia.

These issues have taken priority over efforts to end South Sudan’s civil war.

Sudan has taken the opportunity of being in the driver’s seat to secure its own security and economic interests in South Sudan.

One of the agreements signed allows Sudanese forces to potentially occupy the oil fields.

The government of Sudan’s interests are not likely to align with those of the people of South Sudan nor are they predicated on preserving the country’s sovereignty.

Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has also played a prominent role in the Khartoum talks, and attended the signing of agreements in June and August in Khartoum.

The Khartoum talks have shown that Sudan and Uganda can align their interests and find mutually beneficial arrangements in South Sudan, in contrast to the conventional wisdom that they are at perennial logger-heads on South Sudan.

But these arrangements may come at the expense of South Sudan’s citizens.

Verjee: Ethiopia’s long-term interests may not be served by withdrawing from the South Sudan mediation process. South Sudan’s dysfunction could once more undermine Ethiopian border security as well as broader regional interests.

Given its comparatively limited economic exposure to South Sudan, Ethiopia remains the region’s most honest broker. But Ethiopia also wants to accommodate Sudanese interests, which may help explain Abiy’s willingness to concede the file to Khartoum.

Khartoum has interests in numerous unresolved issues related to South Sudan’s secession: the apportionment of billions of dollars of debt, the final status of the disputed territory of Abyei and the demarcation of the border, to name but three.

For offering a lifeline to South Sudan’s incumbent president, Salva Kiir, who remains in power as head of the transitional government, Sudan may drive a hard bargain.

What are the implications for the humanitarian situation in South Sudan?

Knopf: There is no evidence to suggest that the deals reached in Khartoum will meaningfully address South Sudan’s humanitarian catastrophe. As discussed above, they are more likely to exacerbate rather than defuse the conflict and insecurity that underlie the humanitarian emergency.

The United States contributes nearly $1 billion out of the $1.8 billion per year in international humanitarian assistance. In May, the United States announced a review “to ensure our assistance does not contribute to or prolong the conflict or facilitate predatory or corrupt behavior.”

While the review is not yet complete, it is hard to imagine that any donor can sustain these funding levels for years to come.

Concurrently, the humanitarian community should use the U.S. assistance review to put forward humanitarian policy proposals that include a rigorous and honest analysis of the interaction between aid and the political economy of the conflict.

Such an approach could help improve humanitarian outcomes for the South Sudanese.

With the likelihood of further deterioration and fragmentation of the political, security, and economic landscape in South Sudan, this is all the more vital.

There is increasing evidence that some relief efforts have been manipulated by the warring parties to advance their own political and military objectives.

Fortunately, there is a wealth of collective experience in South Sudan and other complex humanitarian emergencies for navigating challenges to the integrity of relief operations during periods of conflict that can and should be drawn upon.

What are the future prospects for the peace process and what should the United States do now?

Verjee: Khartoum is not letting go of the peace process. It is essential now that the United States ensures that whatever final deal is put in place, it first does no harm.

The U.S. could help the mediation advance de-escalating, enforceable arrangements for the security aspects of the agreement and be clear about what other provisions it could support.

If the security arrangements fail, the power-sharing component of any deal becomes irrelevant. This should be a key lesson from the collapse of the 2015 agreement.

Knopf: The historic irony of Sudan leading these mediation efforts brings into sharp relief the absence of purposeful U.S. diplomatic engagement in South Sudan and the broader region.

The U.S. should accept that only a new mediation effort could improve the prospects of ending the war and the humanitarian crisis.

The question is whether the United States is prepared to exert its influence to achieve this and ensure that the process does not only benefit Khartoum, Kampala and the South Sudanese elites who have perpetuated a horrific war.

The United States remains the most influential external actor in the region. Uganda is, for example, the largest recipient of U.S. military aid in sub-Saharan Africa.

And there are at present unique diplomatic opportunities: the second phase of the bilateral normalization process between the U.S. and Sudan provides the administration significant leverage to shape Khartoum’s policy approaches toward South Sudan.

Effective action has been hampered by the failure to designate a senior official empowered to develop and execute the administration’s strategy.

Such an individual must have the stature to engage with the regional heads of state, who ultimately call the shots, and have sufficient standing in Washington to bring to bear the coordinated weight of all the agencies of the U.S. government. END

BREAKING NEWS: Mabior John Garang to Riek Machar, “I reject the ‘bad’ Khartoum Peace Deal”

AUG/13/2018, SSN;

Dr. Riek Machar Teny-Dhurgon: Chairman and C-in-C of the SPLM/SPLA-in-Opposition

Subject: My reservations on KPD, Date: 13/8/2018.

My Dear Chairman,

Allow me to register my reservations regarding the Khartoum Peace Declaration (KPD) signed on August 5th, 2018. When the Addis Ababa Agreement was signed in 1972, the then Captain John Garang de Mabior, my father, wrote a famous letter to Joseph Lagu, then leader of the Anya Nya Liberation Movement, outlining the weaknesses and the fundamental problems of the agreement signed in Addis Ababa. When the Addis Ababa Agreement collapsed in 1983, Dr. John Garang was free from moral guilt.

My Dear Chairman,

I want to be on record like my father in 1972 to express my views on the weaknesses and the fundamental problems of KPA. It is an illusion to expect the SPLM/SPLA (IO) to accept an agreement that would be a surrender in disguise, our civil population may not be “graduates,” but they’re not stupid, they know what a bad agreement is.

This is a people’s war, we are not the ones fighting the war and except for a just negotiated settlement, the war will not stop. The Taban/Ezekiel debacle should be a lesson.

My Dear Chairman,

The signing of any agreement even if we got all we wanted, will not change the bigoted attitudes of our elites, which is fuelling the conflict. It is also an illusion to think that someone else will solve our problems, while we remain spectators in our own affairs.

It is an illusion to expect that: “something will happen,” as if invoking Dr. John Garang sayings will solve the problem, as I see some entitled politicians doing.

Even if we are captured, killed or forced to sign a bad agreement and the root causes are not addressed, then war will continue.

If the provisions of the agreement are violated, the war will continue, if the elections at the end of the transition are rigged, the war will resume, that is if it even stops during the implementation.

My Dear Chairman,

The lessons from the last transition are still fresh in our memories and we all know the war never stopped, we shall not repeat the same mistake.

The civil populations of South Sudan did not initiate violence, it was the Kiir regime, this is an incontrovertible fact; we must always be clear of this in our minds.

Let no one be confused; the objective of ending Salva Kiir’s power to kill our people is a major tactical objective and we intend to achieve this by any means possible, whether it is through a negotiated settlement or through an armed struggle, is totally determined by the methods used by the regime, which are well documented.

The cultural revolution we envisage can’t be brought about by cooperation with the current status quo, it must be replaced.

Yours in struggle,

Capt. Mabior Garang de Mabior,
Chairman of SPLM National Committee for Information and Public Relations
————————————-
Once again, Dr. Luka Biong is on his trade mark political character, the flip flopping! All of you remember his recent article and disappointment about NAS refusal to sign the bogus Khartoum agreement and assertion that those parties that appended that deal have actually sold S. Sudan souvernity to the Jalaba government in Khartoum!

But as we have reiterated in the recent past, Dr. Biong double standard political stand is obvious and well known to most conscious citizens.

After leading the development and execution of Kiir’s regime autocratic policies against the innocent people, hence leading to the current pathetic state of affairs in the country, Dr. Biong fled the country and is now masquerading as senior political advisor and scholar on South Sudan democratic future!!!

For many of us who know Dr. Luka Biong’s activities back then in Juba, we greatly doubt very much his seemingly sugar-coated critisim of the very regime he once served wholeheartedly and still greatly admire though behind the curtains.

Dr. Luka is now stating that the activities of his cousin brother, Dr. Francis Deng, in Khartoum in reselling Abeyi area to Sudan is a noble cause and does not amount to tempering with South Sudan souvernity!!

Think about political double talking!! Dr. Francis has already been issued a Sudanese diplomatic passport probably, a preparatory plan by Khartoum to appoint him as the first Sudanese Governor to united Sudanese Abeyi region.

For sure Dr. Luka will have no problem with such recolonisation blunder!!

Nuer Supreme Council accepts resignation of Festus Mogae as JMEC chairman

For Immediate Release
Monday, August 20, 2018

PUBLIC STATEMENT
The Nuer Supreme Council (NSC) has learned that the Chairperson of Joint Monitoring Evaluation Commission (JMEC), H. E. Fetus G. Mogae requested to RESIGNS from his position by the end of September 2018.

The Council received this commendable development through Social media, in a Press Release which claimed that Mr. Mogae has written a letter of resignation to the Chairperson of Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), H. E. Prime Minister of Democratic Republic of Ethiopia Dr. Abiy Ahmed Ali.

In this regard, the Council welcomed H. E. Fetus Mogae’s decision to resign and we urged the Chairperson of IGAD, H. E. Prime Minister of Ethiopia Dr. Abiy Ahmed to accept this praiseworthy decision.

Through IGAD’s heads of State and Government, Mr. Mogae was appointed as the chairperson of JMEC and whose mandate was and still is to monitor, support and report on the violations and non-implementations of the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCSS).

In performing this mandate, the Council acknowledged that Mr. Mogae has tried his best by remaining neutral and impartial during the early stages of the implementation process of the Agreement but failed to adhere to this principle as required by the charter, especially when the ARCSS was violated in July 2016 by the regime in Juba.

During that time to present, Mr. Mogae appeared compromised and acted at times as regime in Juba’s official spokesperson. He acted indifference at a time when a great deal of integrity and impartiality are required. This behaviour seriously contradicts his role and mandate that he was tasked for.

Therefore, since, the warring parties in South Sudan have recommitted to the revitalizing of the ACRSS after it has collapsed in 2017, the Council endorses Mr. Mogae’s decision to vacant his post. We believe such a commendable decision will boost confidence and ensure fresh start for all parties.

In closing, the Council thanked H. E. Mr. Mogae for his service to the people of South Sudan and we wish him well in his future endeavors and quest for helping humanity.

J. Nguen
Chairman of Nuer Supreme Council
Email: jamesnguen@gmail.com

Federalism isn’t the cause of war in South Sudan

BY: Dr. Lako Jada Kwajok, South Sudan, AUG/19/2018, SSN;

Five days ago, Roger Alfred Yoron Modi, published an article under the title “Federalism does not deserve war in South Sudan.” The title is quite misleading and nothing could be further from the truth.

The whole world knows that the war in South Sudan was the result of a power struggle within the SPLM party between President Kiir and his deputy, the then sacked Vice President and Deputy Chairman of the SPLM party, Dr Riek Machar.

The South Sudanese people were not responsible for igniting the war, but it was imposed on them by their leaders.

The government narrative was that it was a coup d’etat orchestrated and executed by Dr Riek Machar and his followers. That narrative fell flat under scrutiny and gained the regime Four Pinocchios on The Fact Checker Rating System.

Even President Museveni, Kiir’s main ally, refuted the claim that what happened in Juba in December 2013 was a coup d’etat.

Many of us know that Riek Machar was against federalism. It’s well documented in a meeting with the Equatorians in Nyakuron Cultural Centre in Juba before the conflict where Riek Machar threatened the Equatorians for pursuing federalism.

He needed the support of the Equatorians in his fight against President Kiir. Hence Riek Machar resorted to a tactical move by embracing federalism and even becoming more vocal about it than the pioneers.

It’s no wonder that Riek Machar has foregone federalism at the earliest opportunity to reclaim his previous position in the government. It’s clear that federalism was never the cause of the rift within the SPLM party nor the reason that South Sudan ended up in a protracted civil war.

The government went to great lengths to suppress any debates about federalism be it in the media or among the populace. Even a media gag was imposed by the government not to engage in any activities related to federalism.

A poor man was shot dead in Maridi for voicing out his support for federalism. Such an act would have drawn condemnation from the President and members of his cabinet because it was a politically motivated act of extreme violence by members of the security organs.

The case of the unfortunate man was deliberately left to fall into oblivion with no investigation, arrests or convictions. But there were numerous cases of assassinations that went unnoticed by the media.

It was noted that around that time the activities of the unknown gunmen suddenly picked up to unprecedented levels. It was common knowledge that the unknown gunmen targeted those who were vocal in their support for federalism.

At that time, no one knew for sure the identity of the unknown gunmen. It’s only recently that General Paul Malong, the former Chief of Staff of the SPLA unveiled the identity of the unknown gunmen.

We now know that they are members of the National Security Service (NSS) under the direct orders of the President and led by General Akol Koor, the Director General of Internal Security at the NSS.

Such is the environment Roger Alfred Yoron Modi thinks is conducive for a democratic discourse on the issue of federalism with all the opposition groups in Juba. One must be blind, deaf or incredibly naive to believe what our eminent journalist is alluding to.

It’s an oversimplification or just outright dishonesty to claim that the National Salvation Front (NAS) is rejecting the agreement on the Outstanding Issues of Governance because of non-inclusion of federalism.

Likewise, it’s illogical to suggest that by doing so, NAS is opting for war. It’s turning into a familiar theme that whoever does not sign the cumbersome deal is a warmonger.

At this juncture where the future of the country is in doubt, those sincere sons and daughters of South Sudan need to tell the truth.

Where in the world that you find a government having 5 Vice Presidents?! The superpowers of the world (America, Rusia, China) all have one Vice President each.

Furthermore, South Sudan represents only a fraction of the territory and population size of those superpowers. Are we being made by our leaders into a laughing stock across the world?!

But the most critical thing concerning peace is the Security Arrangements. NAS has already appended its signature to it showing its full commitment for peace. It did sign the Cessation of Hostility Agreement (CoHA) in Addis Ababa in December 2017.

The National Salvation Front continued to honour the CoHA with no single violation recorded against it by the Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangement Monitoring Mechanism (CTSAMM).

It’s because of an unambiguous policy that gives priority to peace. NAS could undoubtedly cause problems for the government in various ways, but its leaders are more concerned about the plight of the ordinary people of South Sudan who are yearning for a just peace.

Our journalist also brought up the issue of NAS signing the Security Arrangements but not the Outstanding Issues on Governance as a sort of inconsistency or contradiction.

Looking at previous peace talks across the world; shows that what NAS did was never a precedent but consistent with numerous past experiences.

In peace negotiations, the parties could agree on some points while disagreeing with others that could take months or even few years to resolve. The talks could be adjourned, and when they are resumed, they do not start from square one but from where they stopped in the previous peace talks.

I am sure that our journalist is aware that the government refused to sign the Declaration of Principles (DoP) in Addis Ababa in March 2018, yet the negotiations were allowed to continue.

So now the government has signed the agreement on governance because it gives it what it wants but not the DoP that was approved by NAS and the other members of the South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA).

So, where is the difference between the two positions? And why is the government’s position right while the one that belongs to NAS is wrong?! Are we dealing with a worthless, biased view?!

It’s important to understand that federalism is not the only reason that led NAS to reject the agreement on governance.

NAS is pursuing a holistic solution to the conflict that would put an end to the war and bring about a lasting peace. It’s untrue that NAS didn’t propose the type of federalism that suits South Sudan.

It was contained in NAS’s proposal to the pre-Forum Consultations of the High-Level Revitalisation Forum (HLRF) for the Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCSS).

But to our surprise, our proposal, as well as the ones from the other opposition Movements/Parties, were ignored by the IGAD mediation team. There are good reasons to insist on the institution of federalism in the transition.

Firstly, ARCSS stipulates that the National Constitutional Amendment Committee (NCAC) drafts a Constitutional Amendment bill within (21) days upon signing the agreement.

The bill shall incorporate the agreement into the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan (TCRSS). Federalism could be incorporated into the TCRSS within that timeframe.

All are supposed to occur in the pre-transition period. All are doable and in good time.

Secondly, Federalism is a popular demand since 1947, and there’s no any convincing reason to further delay its implementation.

Thirdly, The government track-record and apparent hostility against federalism as outlined above is no comfort for leaving the matter to be addressed well into the transition.

The notion that our people need understanding and enlightenment on the various types of federalism is flawed. How many among the elites in South Sudan who know the types of federalism? Not very many.

I contend that the percentage of those who know would not be much different from the one belonging to their peers in America, India or Brazil.

According to the US Department of Education, 32 million adults (9.8%) in the US can’t read. The federal government was established in 1789, that’s 229 years ago. If the illiteracy percentage is 9.8% now, what was it over two centuries ago?!

The Americans managed to run a successful federal government and made America a superpower.

The federal government of Brazil came into being in 1889, which is 129 years ago. At that time the literacy in Brazil was 16%. It means, 84% of the Brazilians were illiterate people when federalism was introduced.

Regardless of the population size, the case of India is much closer to ours. The literacy percentages in India in 1951 and 2001 were 17.02% and 21.59% respectively. Our current literacy percentage is 27% which is higher than that of India.

India is the biggest democracy on earth enjoying a prosperous and stable federal system of governance. Roger Alfred Yoron Modi would struggle in vain to make people favour such an assertion.

Regarding the Presidency, there seems to be an assumption that all the opposition groups have agreed for Kiir and Machar to lead the transition.

NAS position is that any individual who had committed war crimes and crimes against humanity should be excluded from the transition. The same applies to those who are suspects of embezzlement of public funds.

There’s a valid argument for adopting such a stance which is to avoid conflict of interests. How could the Hybrid Court of South Sudan (HCSS) function independently and fairly with President Kiir and Dr Riek Machar at the helm of the government?!

The following is an excerpt from the report of the African Union Commision of Inquiry on South Sudan (AUCISS). “The commision therefore, finds that in order for the reconciliation process to begin, those with the greatest responsibility for atrocities at the highest level should be brought to account and mechanisms should be established to address other concerns specific to victims of violations and crimes, which include reparation.”

NAS position takes the moral high ground and conforms with the AUCISS recommendations in its entirety. It addresses the issue of accountability which seems to have been thrown out of the window in the agreement on governance.

Of course, there are some within SSOA who are more interested in power-sharing than addressing the root causes of the conflict. They do not mind letting Kiir and Machar lead the transition as long as they are given the positions they want.

NAS argument in this regard is to institute the right system of governance (Federalism) at the beginning of the transition with full accountability. That alone would address the issue of who participates in the transition and who doesn’t.

The number of States should have been a non-starter. The journalist knows very well that ARCSS is based on the pre-conflict 10 States. The inclusion of the illegal 32 States for negotiation by IGAD re-enforces the view by many that the mediation team is biased.

The Independent Boundaries Commission (IBC) and the Referendum Commission on Number and Boundaries of States (RCNBC) shouldn’t have been there in the first place. They were never a part of ARCSS.

Now a paradox has arisen because IGAD talks of revitalising ARCSS while incorporating violations into it at the same time.

Those in the opposition who have caved in and chosen to go along with the 32 states, ought to stop deceiving their followers that there is still a chance to reverse the measure when they go to Juba. By then, they would have appointed their own as Governors for the States allocated to them. What argument would they come up with to challenge the 32 States which they have already become part of it?!

Our journalist has rubbished the renewal of armed conflict during the upcoming transition like what happened in July 2016. He cited that the signing of the Security Arrangements by all the parties including NAS is enough evidence that such a thing would not happen.

But a similar signing did happen in August 2015, and yet war broke out. Even the body language of the President and his refusal to shake hands with Dr Riek Machar at the Khartoum Peace Agreement signing ceremony; is quite ominous.

When you add to that President Kiir’s speech on arrival at Juba International Airport – it becomes a matter of not “if” but “when” would the said peace agreement collapse.

Roger Alfred Yoron Modi is a very “prolific” journalist. I want to draw the reader’s attention to another article that he published one day before this one. It’s under the title “Collusion and harmful actions against South Sudan peace process.”

But much of the article is a talk about himself which I find contradictory to its title. The gist of his talk is that he is under threats for what he stands for from the government as well as from undisclosed individuals best known to him.

South Sudan under President Kiir is decidedly a dangerous place for journalists. Here is the list of journalists who were killed in South Sudan since 2012.

1. Isaiah Diing Abraham – Sudan Tribune – killed outside his home in Qudele, Juba on 05/12/2012.
2. Musa Mohammed – South Sudan Radio Wau.
3. Boutros Martin – South Sudan Television.
4. Dalia Marko – Raja Radio Station.
5. Randa George – Randa – Raja Radio Station.
6. Adam Juma – Raja Radio Station.

From 2 to 6 – killed by unknown gunmen in Wau on 25/01/2015.

7. Pow James Raeth – Radio Tamazuj – caught in gunfire between warring groups on 20/05/2015 in Akobo.
8. Peter Julius Moi – South Sudan Corporate Weekly – killed a few days after President Kiir threatened journalists.
9. John Gatluak Manguet – killed by government forces in Terrain Hotel, Juba on 11/07/2016.

We know that Roger Alfred Yoron Modi was the former Managing Editor of Juba Monitor and former Chief Editor of Bakhita Radio. Also, we do know that Alfred Taban, the Editor-in-Chief of the Juba Monitor was appointed as MP to the Transitional National Legislative Assembly (TNLA) on the ticket of First Vice President (FVP) Taban Deng Gai.

Now we all know that Taban Deng Gai’s group has gone back to the SPLM mainstream under President Salva Kiir Mayardit. So, I don’t understand why Roger Alfred Yoron Modi should feel insecure in Juba.

His previous boss who is now part of the ruling party could phone the Chief of Intelligence, General Akol Koor, and his name would immediately be removed from the blacklist in case of a mistaken identity.

As for those individuals who continue to pose a threat to his life and who are not members of the regime, General Akol Koor could similarly be contacted, and the problem would be sorted out in no time. He would unleash the unknown gunmen to hunt-down those “criminals.”

Notwithstanding the above, our journalist wants the opposition including NAS to go to Juba on board an agreement that consolidates the status quo.

It’s ironical that while he feels unsafe in Juba despite not being identified as a potential threat to the regime, he wants those who went through the J1 shooting ordeal in July 2016; not to worry about their safety. It’s beyond logic!

The National Salvation Front is a people-centric Movement driven by the need to realise the aspirations of the people in the form of equality, justice, development, and peace.

It would leave no stone unturned in its quest for a just and sustainable peace.

NAS has prioritised peaceful settlement of the conflict over other means as long as opportunities for peace talks remain on the table for all the parties.

It’s out of NAS conviction that the victims on both sides are the same South Sudanese people. Therefore, if there’s a way to resolve the conflict peacefully and save lives, then it’s the option NAS would choose.

Finally, it’s important to state that federalism is not a recipe for war but a means to avoid future wars.

Dr Lako Jada Kwajok

Change IGAD’s Peace Agreements Model for rewarding Impunity in South Sudan

By Hakim Dario, PDM Chairman,
14th August 2018, SSN;

President Salva Kiir Mayardit will go down in history as one of the worst rulers rewarded for impunity by none other than IGAD in the newly independent country, South Sudan. After a decade in power since 2008 – 2018, his ministers and many generals, Members of Parliament and politicians, as well as many communities in the country rebelled against him and fought battles to resist his authoritarian and autocratic grip on power to rule with impunity.

The rebellions by George Athor, Athurjong, David Yau Yau, Murle and Chollo communities from the fallout of the SPLM polit-bureau inspired rigging of elections in 2010 rang the alarm bells of what was in store awaiting the fate of the country under Kiir’s rule in the lead up to independence in 2011.

The weight of expectations for the once in a lifetime opportunity, after more than 50 years, to exercise the right to self-determination referendum and usher in the world’s newest 193rd independent and sovereign state of their own, has held the people to together at this historic crossroads.

On 11th April 2011, the first Equatoria Conference was convened in Juba, as if inspired by and echoing the 1947 Juba Conference, albeit at a new crossroad that was within the peoples and nation’s grasp.

The conference resolutions reminded the people of the new nation “to be” of the historic calls of the 1947, five decades earlier, for a federal constitution and governance in a new interim social contract as we celebrate our deserved and long fought for independence.

This lofty goal now or then, without much quarrel, seemed to be fully within our grasp to chart at the onset of the country’s independence. It was not to be.

The opportunity, unjustifiably, was lost to peacefully enact a Transitional Federal Constitution of South Sudan (TFCSS2011) as an interim social contract between the people in the new “to be” state. However, Salva Kiir, John Luk and SPLM caucus had other ideas and plans in store for the nation.

What we got instead was the TCSS2011 which concentrated and vested unlimited power in the hands of President Salva Kiir to make him an autocrat who ruled by decrees with impunity. The people were cheated, and had the outcome been a TFCSS in 2011, today’s war would have certainly been averted by a genuine devolution of power.

The SPLM chose otherwise, but beat a too familiar path to make Kiir another long lived African dictator.

The SPLM politbureau members too (Dr Riek Machar, Pagan Amum, Rebecca Nyandeng), not long afterwards as did Athor, Yau Yau, Dr Lam Akol, Peter Sule before them, soon found cause and reasons for rebelling against Kiir autocratic rule in 2013, which led to the nearly four years genocidal civil war in the country today.

This surely has had the effect of dashing the nation’s hopes for embracing a peaceful democratic political order in the newly independent nation.

The pattern of rebellion against Kiir’s rule with impunity has become something of a statistical normal, with some rather significant standards of deviation from the normal, in the most unlikely of Kiir-insider Generals of Paul Malong category, his former Chief of Staff, also rebelling against Kiir at the 11th hour in 2018.

How is it that there is such wide spread rebellion against Kiir’s rule all these past 10 years?

The missed opportunity of instituting a TFCSS in 2011, has now come back full circle to haunt the people and the country four years on in the ARCSS 2015, and in the yet to be concluded revitalized ARCSS 2018.

A Transitional Federal Constitution was resisted by SPLM and Kiir in 2011, furthermore in ARCSS2015, and lately in so-called Khartoum Revitalized ARCSS 2018 through the HLRF process.

This serial and persistent rejection by President Kiir of a TFCSS as an interim social contract for the people and the country, in 2011, 2015, and 2018 is now very ominous.

The very existence of South Sudan under Kiir’s and JCE rule as a country is in question. In the face and throes of the ongoing polarization and ethnic fault lines fueling the current civil war in the country, destroying what was left of the social fabric, the people are left with stark and difficult choices to make for their own future existence and governance.

In this Kiir’s business model for the country, at highly incalculable operating cost to the country, Kiir has become the law of the land and CEO, deriving his authority from a small minority of so called Jieng Council of Elders (JCE).

A clique and assembly of his section of Dinka tribesmen and women from the tiny state of Warrap, now running the government business in Juba as the clan’s owned business. This business model bears unashamedly no resemblance to that of a state.

The clan government does not forbid Salva Kiir to sell all the wealth of the country, deny or delay all justice, deny the rule of law and deny responsibility to protect villages, homes, and rights of hundreds of thousands of innocent citizens who were either killed or displaced by Mathiang Anyor Dinka militia and army in Equatoria, Bahr al Ghazal and Upper Nile.

As recent evidence shows, Kiir’s business operating costs in the $40,000 order of magnitude per MP for car purchases, pales into insignificance, when resources are diverted as unquestionable urgent expenditure to buy Kiir’s rule tenure extension, without the least regard for austerity the country’s economy is reeling under.

To date, there is no accountability for government business profit and loss, and it is most unlikely there will ever be one with Salva Kiir as CEO, or with Dr. Riek Machar as his Deputy CEO under the regional IGAD countries’ “impunity business model” Agreements for South Sudan.

The autocrat, since 2010 quickly morphed into a kleptocrat, who didn’t hesitate to disown the interim social contract which the TCSS 2011 represented, and illegally decreed the creation of 32 states without due process nor by any legitimacy conferred by ARCSS 2015 that he was expected to implement in letter and spirit but had chosen not to.

In July 2016, Kiir without opting for peace unashamedly chose violence against his peace partner, and disowned ARCSS 2015 in its wake, sadly did so with utter impunity.

This is the unseemly peace partner to be rewarded and entrusted with heading government business to implement another revitalized ARCSS 2018 that gives Kiir the legitimacy he desperately needs to stay on in power for another three years.

Another three years for the people of Greater Equatoria Region, with half of the 64 tribes in its territory, meant continued denial of entitlement to their economic, social and cultural rights, peoples and human rights, and for them to have no say in the affairs of their governance and existence under Kiir’s kleptocratic rule.

The same is said of the people of Greater Bahr al Ghazal and Upper Nile regions. Having disowned the transitional social contract of the TCSS 2011, there is no basis of legitimacy for Salva Kiir to rule the country and to further resist the establishment of a new peoples transitional social contract for a union of peoples by an agreement under a new Transitional Federal Constitution 2019.

Salva Kiir is now without doubt an obstacle to peace in South Sudan, and he must resign and go to let the country pick up the pieces of the damaged social contract and fabric.

To stitch them back together after he completely destroyed it, requires a new people’s driven social contract and the will to affect the three autonomous regions people’s union in a Transitional Federal Constitution for a Transitional Federal Government (TFGSS).

The denial of justice and rule of law for another three years of rewarding illegitimacy and impunity by the Kiir Revitalization Agreement (KRA 2018) in Khartoum, is not what the people wanted, rather it is what IGAD wanted, it is what Sudan and Uganda wanted for SPLM and other elites to grant Kiir another lease of underserved legitimacy.

The way forward is people-centric

There is no other fairer way that the SPLM and Kiir’s tribal elites strangle hold on power in South Sudan can be broken without returning to the historical devolution of power to the people in the former three autonomous regions of Upper Nile, Equatoria and Bahr al Ghazal under a Transitional Federal Constitution.

This is with the view that the regional state governments together with the people’s union government would derive legitimacy, authority and power from the people of the three regions.

Legitimacy is shareable between peoples but is indivisible and inseparable for sharing between elites without representation and mandate. The elites-centric power sharing of the KRA 2018 rewards the elites at people’s expense.

The responsibility sharing equally between the three regions in a federal social contract offers a fairer basis on which to rebuild the country’s broken social fabric and restore the rule of law and justice under the constitution. The restoration of the ruptured social fabric, justice and the rule of law is needed to maintain the unity of South Sudan as a nation.

This will not be complete without bringing Salva Kiir to stand trial for the crimes he committed against the people and the state after independence.

Until Salva Kiir is tried before a competent court of law for crimes of state corruption and atrocities against the people under his rule and policies, the rule of law and due process in South Sudan would not be restored or established for future posterity to live in peace.

Kiir must be tried under the rule of law for the country to save and redeem itself. It’s only when the rule of law is taken for granted in South Sudan, that the human and people’s rights, their social, cultural, economic and political rights, and equality of opportunity will be protected for all citizens, communities and peoples of the 64 ethnicities.

There is no way individual accountability will be skipped by a People’s Democratic Government for crimes committed by political leaders in any public office of the state. The long arm of the law will reach near and far places to end impunity and corruption in every corner of the country. All those identifiable leaders in public office roles who are found to be associated with aiding corruption whilst in public office or were directly engaged in commission of corruption for self-interest at the expense of the public interest, will be held to account under the law. That is what the country needs in order to change and move forward.

The authority, legitimacy and power of the Government lay with the people, not with Salva Kiir, nor with SPLM factions and elites without representation and explicit mandate of the people. This premise is essential to set expectations of negotiation for a realistic and sustainable peaceful settlement to the conflict, and without conditions for rewarding sacred cows by the agreement.

Thus, in order for any current or new genuine efforts to succeed and restore peace in South Sudan, the efforts need to shift the focus away from rewarding elites-power sharing to a distinctly people-centric peace-making, one in which the people are active participants in decisions on fundamental matters of their existence and governance.

Compelling grounds both humanitarian and political now exist that impunity, in which the people and the country are trapped for perpetuity must be challenged and ended with Kiir’s rule once and for all.

The people, an entire one third of the country’s population and size, as that in Equatoria region who demanded a federal constitution and governance for the country, like those calling for the same in Upper Nile and Bahr al Ghazal regions, are without voice, rights or authority to freely exercise political power and decision making by legitimate constitutional mechanisms over affairs of their governance and existence.

The 64 different ethnic groups, 32 of them in one region alone are together treated as an insignificant minority whose voices through multiple peoples conferences in 2011 and 2012, are disregarded and accorded no political space so that Kiir can continue to rule with impunity.

The people in Equatoria, Upper Nile, Bahr al Ghazal must stand up to challenge Salva Kiir’s illegitimacy and demand to exercise and enjoy their economic, social, cultural and political rights, human and peoples’ rights in their region without encroachment by concentration of unlimited powers in the hands of a President who is not himself or herself subject to the rule of law.

And without this constant of the rule of law, peace in South Sudan would remain an illusion, as long as IGAD’s “impunity peace agreements” model continue to be the regional favored game plan for South Sudan.

The international community and the region could help end the war and facilitate the negotiation of a realistic and sustainable peaceful settlement by standing with the people against impunity and tyranny, and de-recognizing Salva Kiir led government as illegitimate, led by a kleptocrat who must be denied diplomatic recognition and support. END

US, Human Rights Watchdog urge Hybrid court for South Sudan

By: FRED OLUOCH, THE EAST AFRICAN, AUG/14/2018, SSN;

That is the question most observers are asking, as the key partners appear to have been forced by regional and international leaders to sign the deal on August 5 in Khartoum.

First, President Salva Kiir refused to shake Riek Machar’s hand after they signed the agreement. This seemed to send the message that President Kiir was unhappy.

Yet, as part of the agreement, the president issued a presidential decree pardoning Dr Machar, paving the way for the rebel leader to return to Juba.

But Dr Machar’s Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement — In Opposition (SPLM-IO) has rejected the amnesty, instead asking the president to apologise to the people of South Sudan for plunging the country into chaos.

President Kiir had earlier opposed Dr Machar’s participation in the transitional government but was pressured by the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (Igad) at a meeting in Entebbe with Presidents Yoweri Museveni and Omar al-Bashir on July 8.

Such was the pressure that President Kiir, while addressing the crowd on his arrival at Juba International Airport, made it clear that regional leaders forced him to sign the deal.

“Even if we are expelled today and they are brought to power, for how long will they stay in power before you overthrow them?” President Kiir posed.

Gen Thomas Cirillo Swaka, leader of the National Salvation Front, accused President Kiir of engaging in ethnic rhetoric.

    Reconciliatory?

One of the first things the president is supposed to do is reinstate Dr Machar, who will stay in Khartoum until the mediators set the implementation timetable.

James Oryema, SPLM-IO representative in Kenya, said that while President al-Bashir has a lot of leverage on President Kiir, there is scepticism and concern that the Juba leadership is not reconciliatory.

However, the Khartoum talks, which are still going on until August 19, have made major strides compared with previous efforts to stop the five-year civil war.

In the next eight months, during the pre-trial period, the two parties must form a Cabinet of 35 members, appoint new members of parliament, constitute the National Boundary Committee and integrate the armed groups into a single national army.

Negotiations will continue in Khartoum in the next two weeks to deal with the “bracketed” areas, such as who to appoint to the National Pre—Transitional Committee between President Kiir and IGAD; the composition of the National Boundary Committee and its leadership.

Others are establishing a hybrid court to try those who have committed crimes against humanity and war crimes.

—-(Additional reporting by Joseph Oduha.)

SPLM-IO’s flawed peace strategy against Kiir

By: Duop Chak Wuol, South Sudan, AUG/11/2018, SSN;

The recently signed Khartoum’s power-sharing deal between the incumbent Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU), the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-In Opposition (SPLM-IO), South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA), Former Detainees (FDs), and Other Political Parties (OPP) has flaws that need methodical scrutiny.

This seemingly Juba’s predetermined pact will not bring about changes demanded by the people of South Sudan.

The agreement shows that the SPLM-IO abandons its ambitious reform agenda which it has been fighting for more than four years. This is a serious political blunder and pure embracement for the tyrannical system which the armed opposition countlessly vows to reform.

This is an attempt to show that the SPLM-IO’s overall peace strategy is seriously flawed; perhaps it is on life-support if it is not dead.

There are many political mistakes that the supposedly reformist SPLM-IO party has committed. These mistakes include expansion of the government, the issue of 32 states, transitional security arrangements, failure to address the root causes of the civil war, among others.

But the most important strategic blunder made by the SPLM-IO is probably the legislative one.

Since early 2014, the armed opposition has consistently claimed that its main goal is to change the political system in the country.

The people of South Sudan embrace the idea because they know the only way to reform the current oppressive system is by having a truly and independent legislative body to pass laws that reflect South Sudanese wishes.

But the recent pact clearly failed the people. It is baffling to see the leadership of the SPLM-IO abandoning demands of the people by accepting a deal which embraces Salva Kiir’s ruthlessness.

If this peace ends the conflict, it will be good for the country. But the irony is that it will still maintain Kiir’s tyranny because the SPLM-IO parliamentarians will have no means to limit his grip on power.

In any nation, reforms are done through legislative means, not by wild assumptions. It would be a mistake to think that Kiir will support the armed opposition reform agenda in the parliament.

The man still fantasizes about his one-man rule. He likes ruling the country through presidential decrees.

So, the notion that reforms will be done after the SPLM-IO rejoined the government is a pure fantasy.

Statistically, Kiir has the numbers to deny any reform agenda he does not like or want. He can do it by instructing his parliamentarians not to vote for any bill that would limit his powers.

The signed document, for example, proposes that the Transitional National Legislative Assembly (TNLA) will have 550 Members of Parliament (MPs).

The revitalized text gave the incumbent TGoNU 332 MPs (60.4%), whereas 23.3% (128 MPs) will represent the SPLM-IO, 50 MPs (9.1%) allocated to SSOA, 5.5% (30 MPs to OPP, and 10 MPs (1.8%) are awarded to FDs.

In the war of numbers, it is 60.4% vs. 39.6%. Meaning, the government MPs clearly outnumbered all opposition MPs combined.

It is strikingly a solemn misjudgment on the SPLM-IO’s part. It is worth noting that the government does not have a two-thirds majority in the TNLA — which would have been 366.7 MPs (66.7% to 33.3%) out of the proposed 550 MPs.

This calculation has a +1 margin of error. In a logical sense, Kiir parliamentary bloc needs an additional 34.7 MPs to pass any law it wants.

Remember, South Sudan is full of briefcase political parties. Most of these parties are not fighting for the people of South Sudan, they are fighting for themselves.

For them, it is a war over positions and Kiir could still bribe 34.7 MPs from these self-serving parties to pass any law he wants. These are Mathematical truths.

The SPLM-IO can create its own excuses, but I am certain that any opposing view, denying these facts would be indisputably counterintuitive.

The SPLM-IO’s central argument is that it signed the deal because it wants South Sudanese refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) to have a sense of peace and possibly return to their homes, let alone its reform agenda.

This is indisputably a good humanitarian gesture. However, signing an agreement simply because you want IDPs and refugees currently under the protection of the United Nations (UN) peacekeepers to come out and go back to their houses is not a plausible idea.

The SPLM-IO cannot force civilians it cannot possibly protect to go back to their homes where they will be vulnerable to Juba’s brutality.

It would be better for the SPLM-IO to just sign any pact it desires and not allow any provision in any deal that would then force refugees and IDPs to leave UN-run camps for their homes where insecurity is widespread.

Calling for innocent civilians to leave their secured places for their homes which are under the control of Juba’s oppressive regime reminds me of Salva Kiir who always wants to grant an amnesty to anyone who opposes his regime so that he can prolong his tyranny without a formidable opposition.

I suggest the leadership of the SPLM-IO thinks deeply about this issue.

Why would the SPLM-IO sign a peace which embraces Kiir’s ruthlessness, forgets the victims of the SPLM self-made war, and ignores people’s demands for change?

Did the armed opposition forget what it has been fighting for the last four-and-a-half years? What really happens to SPLM-IO’s reform agenda? Is the armed opposition reform agenda dead?

There is no doubt in my mind that the legislative branch will pose a daunting challenge to the SPLM-IO and other opposition parties.

However, this challenge could be minimized or even frustrated if all opposition MPs work together as a united bloc in the parliament.

If this happens, then the incumbent government could be forced to collaborate or make deals with opposition MPs which would then allow the SPLM-IO and other political parties to enact some laws.

Leaving this obvious political risk aside, I honestly believe that political and economic reforms under this deal will not be feasible given the fact that Kiir still cherishes the idea of appointing and removing people through his dictatorial decrees.

As I have already indicated, the agreement has many pro-Kiir provisions.

But ending the suffering of South Sudanese who are now living under dire conditions in refugee camps and foreign countries is the number one priority.

If the incumbent TGoNU and the SPLM-IO are serious about peace and fully implement it, then they will be thanked by the people of South Sudan for ending the war.

However, the fact that the armed opposition lacks the necessary number of MPs to reform the political system in the country is even worse.

It would be a wishful thinking for the SPLM-IO to assume that its transformation agenda will be magically done when it knows the number of its MPs is not enough to execute its policies through parliamentary processes.

The Khartoum’s power-sharing deal will not bring the much-needed political reforms in the country.

This agreement is merely a classic case of a new political marriage between the government and SPLM-IO.

This pact is also a reminder for the people of South Sudan that reforms championed by the armed opposition could be a thing of the past.

It is clear, however, that all factions of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) seem to be interested in reuniting themselves under the same old dictatorial umbrella.

It is good to remind people that Kiir and Machar have already agreed to cantonments of their troops and deployment of the East African and African Union forces to enforce the cessation of hostilities.

However, this is not new since the two leaders had previously signed many agreements before and violated them. One of these violations occurred in July 2016, when Kiir colluded with the current First Vice President Taban Deng to hijack the August 2015 compromise deal.

Kiir is not for a lasting peace in the country.

His main concern is not to end the war, rather it is to sign any peace that maintains its ruthlessness, lures leaders of the SPLM-IO to Juba in a pretext of the pact and refuses to implement the agreement.

Kiir demonstrated his unwillingness to implement the deal on August 8 at Bilpham military headquarters when he told his troops that they should be prepared to receive and integrate the armed opposition soldiers.

This is not what the security arrangements stipulate. The security pact specifies that both incumbent government and rebel forces shall be screened and classified based on established military standards and those who pass such a screening will be combined and given proper training during the Pre-transitional period.

This provision was included in the proposal to make sure South Sudan has a professional army after the three transitional periods.

Kiir is the one who does not want peace to return to the country. He violated many pacts by refusing to release the armed opposition officials he kidnapped as well as Prisoners of Wars (POWs) even though this demand was clearly stipulated in the previous ceasefire agreements.

The people of South Sudan are not interested in this elitist agreement. As you can see, Kiir is trying to deceive people before the deal is even finalized — this is how he operates.

The man is a cunning oppressor who cannot be trusted when it comes to peace. The armed opposition should not succumb to this dubious accord — an accord which irrefutably castoffs reforms demanded by the people.

Having a defined and well-developed political doctrine is essential for any political party to succeed.

The SPLM-IO is theoretically an opposition party. It’ll, supposedly, if all things go as planned, have its own political and economic agendas that it would want to be passed by the parliament.

The armed opposition knows its success in the TNLA may not be feasible given the fact that it lacks numbers to wage a successful legislative fight.

Politics is all about strategies, numbers, games, back-stabbing, making closed-door deals, and selling your policies to the people.

If the SPLM-IO wants its reform agenda to survive, it must have specific policies in place and these policies must be staunchly championed and defended by the leadership of the SPLM-IO as well as its proposed parliamentarians.

If the armed opposition deserts its reform agenda, then it will be a new chapter for Kiir’s cruelty to continue and the death for a democratic hope for the country — it would be a chapter that the people of South Sudan would not like to see happening.

The SPLM-IO must not allow its democratic vision to die; it must continue to use all necessary means to make sure that those who lost their lives in the war did not die in vain.

The leadership of the SPLM-IO must rethink its peace strategy or it risks being an extension of Salva Kiir’s tyrannical regime.

The author can be reached at duop282@gmail.com.