To: Hon. Mr. Gabriel Changson Chang
Interim SSOA Chair
Mobile: +254 725 331 244 (Direct/WhatsApp)
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