Salva Kiir and Riek Machar must go if they Care the Future of South Sudan, says SSFDP

The  eruption  of  fighting  on 7th July 2016 between the Sudanese  People’s Liberation Army(SPLA) and the SPLA in Opposition ( SPLA – IO) in  Juba and the huge  loss  of life and casualties as well  as the destruction of properties that  it  has  caused are  clearly an indication of  flaws of the Compromised Peace Agreement.[1]

Clearly  the Compromised Peace  Agreement is in  tatters  and  there is  an urgent  need to  address the key shortcoming of the  agreement and in  particular  for  IGAD mediators to  consider the meaningful  inclusion  of  diverse voices from South Sudan  both  political as  well  as  from Civil Society .

In 2015, during the negotiation of the Compromised Peace Agreement in Ethiopia ,  Senior Generals and Politicians from the SPLM-IO  were  already  dissenting and defecting  from SPLM-IO and   accusing  rebel   leader  Dr Riek  Machar of  poor  leadership because of  provision of the Compromised  Peace Agreement

At  the time,  General  Peter Gadet , a hardliner famous  for the capture of Bor in the aftermath of  December  2013, was one of the early  defectors who  rejected the  proposal  for the formation of  Transitional Government  that included  both President  Salva Kiir and  Dr Riek  Machar and  consequently  vowed to fight  both  sides. At the time the significance of Gadget’s defection was downplaid by SPLM-IO.

In  August  2015 ,  prior  to the  singing of the Compromised Peace Agreement, the South Sudan  Federal  Democratic Party ( SSFDP)  broke  away from the Riek  Machar  led  Sudan People  Liberation Movement – In Oppositions  ( SPLM – IO ) . The chairman of the SSFDP is H.E. Gabriel Changson Chan, is the former Minister of Youth, Culture and Sports

The SSFDP has an armed wing called South Sudan Armed Forces (SSFA) initially lead by General Peter Gadet. However by April  2016  there was  a formal separation between  SSFDP and  General  Peter Gadet  as  the latter had  formed  the National  Defence  Alliance ( NDA). During the same period, reflecting the fluidity and complexity of South Sudan politics, the SSFDP suffered the defection to the Government of Gen. Gathoth Gatkuoth, Gen. James Malith Gatluak and Brig. Gabriel Gatwech Puoch

During the negotiation of the Compromised Peace Agreement and in particular in August 2015, matters were not much better on the Government side.  Because of these  tensions and  dissentions, President Salva Kiir    signed  the Peace  Agreement, with  reservations on  26  August  2015, almost  2  weeks  after  the  document had been  signed by  Dr Riek Machar  ( SPLM-IO  ) and  Mr  Pagan Amun –  the  reinstated  Secretary General of  the SPLM South Sudan  who  signed on behalf of the  former  detainees –  a  group  of  high  ranking politicians  briefly  jailed  in the  aftermath of  the events of  December  2013.

During an interview   given to the Sudan Tribune on 11 February 2016, HE Gabriel Changson Chan stated:

 “……. Depending  on the peace  agreement as the basis  of the Transitional Government of National Unity ( TGoNU) without  constitution  will lead to  failure in  the implementation  of the peace  agreement. “

“The agreement will be dead as soon as the First Vice President [2]takes oath of office as the First Vice President”  

“The President [3] will then govern the country with un –amended constitution and shall have the liberty to appoint and dismiss the First Vice President and the cabinet minister because there  will be no constitutional  protection for them”

In April 2016, Dr Riek Machar finally arrived in Juba and the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU) was formed.  Though  people wanted to hope for the best, the   general  feeling in Juba  was  that the formation of the TGoNU  had simply reset the country in the same position as  it was in 2013  with the same  players  and  tensions  in place.

Earlier this month ,  fighting  reminiscent  of December  2013 erupted in Juba ,causing  more than  300  deaths, and the displacement of  over 30,000  people in Juba .In Addition  the fighting  was not restricted to Juba as almost simultaneously armed clashes were reported in Wau, Torit, Bentiu, Lainya, Yei , Kajo Keji. Though it is not   possible to say that there was a deliberated coordination it is clear that there was a widening of the conflict throughout South Sudan.

Thought the ceasefire in Juba is most welcome, it is disturbing that:

  • Dr Cirino Hiteng g Deputy  Foreign Minister  – was unilaterally removed  from his  post by  President  Salva Kiir  following the IGAD press  release of  12 July 2016  condemning  the  eruption  of  fighting  on 7th July 2016 between the Sudanese  People’s Liberation Army(SPLA) and the SPLA in Opposition ( SPLA – IO) in  Juba and the huge  loss  of life and casualties as well  as the destruction of properties that  it  has  caused . The  dismissal has been strongly condemned by the SPLM Former Detainees and in  particular   Dr Cirino Hiteng himself , who during an interview with Radio  Tamazuj ( 14 July 2016  radiotamazui/en/article/cirino-hiteng-says-his-removal-violates-peace-deal ) stated that :

“..He[4] has basically violated the Peace Agreement[5]

“He[6] has no right to do that because this is the coalition government and I have my group. We should discuss the issue, and if the Former Detainees are convinced, than it is up to us to look for a replacement.”

  • Cabinet Minister of the SPLM – IO Minister of Energy Dr Dhieu Mathok Ding Wol was arrested. It appears that the Minister has been seriously beaten.  Dr Dhieu is the Secretary General of the SPLM-IO and hails from Bahr El Gazal region, homeland of President Salva Kiir and his SPLA Chief of Staff Paul Malong.  This event lends  credence to  recent  reports that  certain Dinka  member of the SPLM –IO  are under  pressure to  defect
  • The apparent  targeting and killing, because of his Nuer  ethnicity, of  John  Gatluak Manguer  Nhial a journalist and  radio  manager
  • The killing of the SPLA body guards to  Brig General Lul Ruai, the spokesman  for  the SPLA
  • The Government is preventing  South Sudanese  from  crossing into   Uganda , or from leaving from Juba Airport,

On  14  July  2016 ,I interviewed   HE Gabriel Changson Chan, former  Minister of Youth ,  Culture  and  Sports and  present   chairman of the Political  Committee  of the South Sudan  Federal Democratic Party   ( SSFDP). He  explained  that  recent  events  in South Sudan  clearly  demonstrate that the Compromised  Peace Agreement  is  very  weak  and that  that  there are no safeguards  to  ensure  its viability and implementation.  The mistrust and  antagonism  between  President Salva Kiir and Dr Riek Machar is  such  that it is not possible for the  two  personalities to  work  together  in particular in light of the fact that both expect to contest the 2018  elections.  Changson  claims  that during the  negotiation  phase of the  Compromised  Peace  Agreement  IGAD  was informed of the concerns  about the ability of President Kiir and  Dr Riek Machar to overcome  their  mutual antagonism, however such concerns were ignored .

According to the SSFDP Chairman the way forward is as follows[7]s:

  1. Immediate military and political  intervention  by  IGAD  and partners  to :
    1. Stop  the fighting , maintain  law  and order  and  prevent South Sudan  from  descending into  total chaos
    2. Oversee the restructuring of the security sector institutions to reflect the diversity of South Sudan. In this  regard  HE Gabriel Changson Chan stressed the importance of the complete  demilitarisation of  Juba and  all other  major  towns  in South Sudan and  that South Sudanese forces must be  assembled in specific cantonment sites with clear buffer zones between them .IGAD/UNMISS to take up the responsibility of security in the country.
    3. Support the setting up of truly inclusive Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU) without President Kiir and First Vice President Riek Machar. The SSFDP  Chairman  explained that the  in the event that the two  leaders are to continue to participate in the TGoNU,   then it should be clear that  they   are doing so  only in  a caretaker  capacity and are not  to contest any  future  
    4. Support the voluntary resettlement of  IDP’s and Refugees to  location of their  choice in South Sudan 

Such stabilisation action   would then support: The process of reconciliation in the country and in particular the:

  1. The Democratisation of the country including a well-studied and participatory process to decide on the type of Federation as well as the number States that will comprise such Federation.
  2. The establishment of Transitional Justice and  Accountability  for  war  crimes and crimes against  humanity
  3. The development of a comprehensive economic recovery programme  for the country

H.E  Gabriel  Changson Chan is of the view  that in  the  event that  IGAD  and partners  fail  to  take immediate action  to  stop  the fighting, maintain  law and order and  support the  setting up  of  a  truly inclusive  Transitional Government of National Unity ( TGoNU), the current  conflict  will  expand as the South Sudanese People will  look  to  take such  action as they deem  necessary to protect their rights

Makeda  Saba                            

Salva Kiir and Riek Machar must go if they care the future of South Sudan,says SSFDP

[1] IGAD Plus  Agreement on the  Resolution  of the  Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan ( ARCSS) 

[2] Dr Riek Machar

[3] President Salva Kiir Mayardit

[4] President Salva Kiir Mayardit

[5] Compromised Peace Agreement

[6] President Salva Kiir Mayardit

[7] 2016.07.14 South Sudan Federal Democratic Party ( SSFDP) /South Sudan Armed Forces (SSAF)  –  Urgent  Press Release – The Juba Two  Massacres  2016



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s