SPLM-IO signed deal for sake of ending the war, says Mabior Garang

By FRED OLUOCH, THE EAST AFRICAN, SEPT/19/2015, SSN;

Mabior Garang de Mabior, son of late South Sudanese rebel leader John Garang and national chairperson for Information and Publicity in the SPLM-In-Opposition talks about the movement’s perspective on the South Sudan peace agreement and their efforts to implement it.

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What are Dr Riek Machar’s reservations with the peace deal?

The SPLM-In-Opposition did not have reservations per se, but we did not get everything that we wanted in the agreement. The SPLM-IO considers the administration with which we negotiated the agreement illegitimate, and was calling for the unconditional resignation of the President Salva Kiir. The SPLM-IO has also been demanding for the establishment of a federal system of governance in the country.

However, the leadership signed the agreement as it was for the sake of peace. It is not the best agreement that we could have wanted but it is better than war.

The government maintains that the compromise peace agreement was imposed by Igad and that the two sides were not given time to examine the deficient areas.

This is not the language of anyone who wants a peaceful settlement to the conflict in South Sudan, but those for whom war has become an industry. These forces exist on all sides of the political divide. The reality is that this agreement is the reconciliation of the cumulative efforts of all the stakeholders over the past 20 months of peace negotiations. The Igad mediators only reconciled all the position papers over the period of negotiations leading to the compromise agreement. The signatories to the agreement then had two weeks to consult their respective constituencies, and their principals.

Don’t you think reservations on both sides are an impediment to the implementation?

The reservations are natural because it is impossible to please everyone in a situation of negotiations. This is also true in the implementation because it is not easy to achieve a perfect implementation mechanism after any war. These reservations should be viewed as the slow realisation by hardliners from both sides that the implementation of the agreement is inevitable. The desire for peace by the people of South Sudan on all sides of the political divide far outweigh the reservations by a minority that are benefiting from a war economy.

There are those who believe that the split within your ranks will make it difficult for Dr Machar to fully control the rebel movement and enforce complete ceasefire.

Not at all. The hardliners in the Salva Kiir administration had been under the false impression that a split within the movement may be the miracle they needed to defeat our forces once and for all. The split was as a result of the resignation of a handful of senior military officers and politicians who had been relieved of their duties. But the rank and file of the SPLM-IO forces is strong and are not affected by a few selfish individuals who want recognition for personal gains.

The forces of the SPLM-IO will respect the ceasefire as they have been ordered by their commander in chief, and secondly because they had given the go ahead for Dr Machar to sign the document. But the forces of the SPLM-IO can only fight in self-defence.

What are the challenging issues?

Topmost is the issue of justice and accountability because it is very important factor in reaching a lasting peace. There is the danger that this issue could be politicised for personal objectives.

The other challenge is in the security arrangements because the Igad Monitoring and Verification Mechanism is very weak and has led to violations which go undocumented. This has been a problem since January 23, last year after the signing of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement and Release of Political Detainees.

The SPLM-IO is confident that these challenges shall be overcome through internal and external guarantees which shall ensure that the agreement is implemented.

What is the way forward from the movement’s perspective?

To focus on the implementation of the agreement and this can only be achieved if the forces which are for peace from both sides of the political divide work together.

Despite signing the agreement, there are still skirmishes between the two sides. Why is this so?

This is a combination of the belief by some hardliners in government that the SPLM-IO has been weakened by the departure of a few senior commander and that they can now achieve a military victory. The fall of the administration’s garrisons is as a result of counter attacks by our forces.

The SPLM-IO is hopeful that Igad shall strengthen the committee responsible for monitoring so as to create the incentive for any forces to violate the ceasefire.

What is your evaluation of the ceasefire so far and what measures has the movement put in place to ensure no violation on its part?

The ceasefire was violated almost immediately after the agreement was signed. The forces of the Salva Kiir administration attacked our forces in Greater Equatoria and Greater Upper Nile. The attacks were repulsed. We have only been fighting in self-defence. The SPLM-IO leadership also reminds its fighters that the movement was the first to sign the document and they should not be the ones to violate it.

What is the way forward from the movement’s perspective?

To focus on the implementation of the agreement and this can only be achieved if the forces which are for peace from both sides of the political divide work together. END

4 Comments

  1. Deng Hanbol says:

    Bravo comrade red Mabior Garang.

  2. anyar says:

    this is so foolish. Mabior you can’t side with Riek, your Dad political opponents since 1983-2005 event if he has bribe your mother using emotional feeling and billion of dollars of dividing future south-Sudanese in ethnic dimension. All in all you will regret soon you guys are going come to Juba. you will find yourself out on Riek list of appointee. you better all your mom big money she looted when she was a minister of Road , Transports and bridges in 2007

  3. Murhaka says:

    What is your problemen guys? You fought against arab,and now you are killing each others only for the power and your people are dying. Shame on you.

  4. AGUMUT says:

    Our brother Mabior Garang have now achieved what they were looking for,go back bro. and apologzied and settle in peace or stay in exile.Our people are tired of Top Position’s Seekers.Thank the government and Bravo Think-Tanks.

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