SSOA Press Release on The Entebbe Proposal on Governance.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, JUL/10/2018, SSN;
The South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA), along with Other Political Parties (OPP) issue the following statement in response to the bilateral Agreement reached between two of the warring parties (the Juba regime and the SPLM/A- IO, led by Dr Riek Machar) in Entebbe, Uganda on 7th July 2018.
SSOA is deeply concerned about the fate of the Khartoum phase of the peace process undertaken as mandated by the 32nd Extraordinary Summit of IGAD Assembly of Heads of State and Government held in Addis Ababa on 21/6/2018, that Khartoum should facilitate the HLRF with a view to narrowing the gap on the outstanding issues of governance and security.
We are grateful to the government of Sudan for hosting these sessions of the HLRF and the progress on security arrangements that has now been achieved.
However, we are yet to discuss and narrow gaps, let alone agree on, the outstanding issues of governance proposals that were given to us by the Khartoum mediators to which we had submitted our written responses.
Fully cognizant of the fact that Khartoum was the chief mediator, and thus in that capacity it went to Entebbe to seek ideas on how to resolve the outstanding issues of governance, we were not expecting such a turn-around.
To our dismay, the Entebbe meeting of 7/7/2018, attended by H.E. President Omar Hassan El- Bashir of Sudan, H.E. President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni of Uganda, President Salva Kiir of South Sudan and Dr Riek Machar (SPLM/IO) turned out to be a bilateral agreement between two of the warring parties, namely; the Juba regime and SPLM/A-IO!
In our informed view, any bilateral agreement to the exclusion of other parties will not bring about sustainable peace in South Sudan!
Therefore, we maintain our commitment to the inclusivity principles adopted by the HLRF as the only way for lasting peace.
It is to be noted that the leadership of SSOA and Other Political Parties (OPP) were officially invited to Entebbe for the July 7th meeting but kept out of the 8-hour proceedings between the government and the SPLM/A-IO; only to be invited into the meeting to be briefed about what had been agreed upon by the two parties.
We note the following in the Entebbe Proposal:
1- It is all about jobs, accommodation and maintaining the status quo. Furthermore, the agreement is tailored to suit individuals rather than addressing the fundamental issues of governance.
2- It does not address the root causes of the crisis in South Sudan.
3- It maintains the illegality of imposing the creation of 28 States, which later became 32, in contravention of the ARCSS’ ten (10) States. It is surely a contradiction to talk about revitalizing ARCSS when clear violations of its provisions are upheld. The people whose lands were grabbed as a result of this division of the country will have nothing to do with that.
4- It is a repeat of the ARCSS 2015 in that it concentrates power in the hands of SPLM alone; the party that ignited the war in the first place.
5- It is oblivious to the suffering of the South Sudanese people who are at the receiving end of this devastating war. If peace prevails, they will need every pound for repatriation, resettlement, relief and reconstruction of their livelihoods and infrastructure. The little money available is now to be spent on paying a bloated government of 550 MPs, 45 Ministers and 10 Deputy Ministers in a country with about ten (10) million people. This is why SSOA is demanding a lean government.
6- Lack of inclusivity in the responsibility sharing at the Presidency, States and Counties.
7- It says nothing about the adoption of federalism which all Parties have recognized to be the will of the people of South Sudan.
Therefore, it is crystal clear that the Entebbe meeting was focusing on power-sharing instead of addressing the fundamental issues of governance.
For that reason, we absolutely reject these proposals as they do not serve the interests of the suffering people of South Sudan.
SSOA had all along been advocating for addressing the root causes to the conflict, lean government and a federal system of governance, beginning with a clear devolution of power and resources to the states as well as the localities.
We wish to assure our membership, sympathizers and the public at large that SSOA will continue to engage in the peace process in search foR a just and sustainable peace.
That is the only way to alleviate the suffering of our people and stop the current down-slide of the country into an abyss.
Date: 8 July 2018
Contact: Kwaje Lasu; +1-336-575-5965 (Direct/WhatsApp)