Kiir, Machar reach breakthrough on pending issues, agree to form TNLA

South Sudan's President Salva Kiir Mayardit and his Deputy Dr. Riek Machar Teny | Photo: File

The main signatories to the peace deal reached a major breakthrough on Tuesday in the capital, Juba, and agreed to form the Reconstituted Transitional National Legislative Assembly and the Council of States before mid-February.

The statement issued today by the Minister of Presidential Affairs, Nhial Deng Nhial further reaffirmed the agreement reached yesterday by the Presidency.

“Further to the Press Statement issued on the outcome of the meeting of the Presidency that was held yesterday Tuesday, Feb 2, 2021, the Ministry of Presidential Affairs hereby wishes to declare that the said meeting also resolved that the (R-TGONU) shall finalize the reconstitution of the Transitional National Legislative Assembly (R-TNLA) and the Council of States on or before February 15, 2021.”

On Tuesday, the Presidency convened a meeting and agreed that:

• The unification of the top echelons of the Army Command shall be expeditiously carried out to pave the way for the commencement of the process to integrate all forces into a single National Army under one unified command.

• The graduation of the first batch of the Unified Forces currently in the various Training Centers across the country be conducted without further delay, notwithstanding the lack of equipment essential for their graduation and launch preparations to admit the next batch of trainees to the Training Centers.

• H.E, the First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar Teny, accompanied by some Vice Presidents and Ministers shall undertake a tour of different areas of the country for the purpose of disseminating (R-ARCSS).

Machar, top officials to disseminate peace messages across the country

Chairman of the SPLM-IO, Dr. Riek Machar delivers a speech during a high-level Peace Conference held in Juba |Photo: Office of the FVP

South Sudan’s Presidency held a meeting on Tuesday, and agreed to allow Dr. Machar and other Vice Presidents to disseminate messages of peace and reconciliation across the country.

Statement by the Presidency

His Excellency President Salva Kir Mayardit, President of the Republic of South Sudan convened today Tuesday 2/2/2021 a meeting of the Presidency, which was attended by the 1st Vice President and all the four (4) Vice Presidents of the Republic.

After extensive deliberations that lasted for three (3) hours on a broad range of critical and pertinent issues revolving around the implementation of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflicts in South Sudan (R- ARCSS), the meeting resolved:

• 1. That completion of the process of the formation of State Governments be expedited, by finalizing the list of nominations and issuance of the requisite Presidential Decrees, in the course of this week, effecting the appointments of:

I. State Advisors
II. State Ministers
III. State Commission Chairpersons and Members
IV. County Commissioners
V. State Legislative Assemblies
VI. County Councils

• 2. That the unification of the top echelons of the Army Command shall be expeditiously carried out to pave the way for the commencement of the process to integrate all forces into a single National Army under one unified command.

• 3. That the graduation of the first batch of the Unified Forces currently in the various Training Centers across the country be conducted without further delay, notwithstanding the lack of equipment essential for their graduation and launch preparations to admit the next batch of trainees to the Training Centers.

• 4. That H.E, the First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar Teny, accompanied by some Vice Presidents and Ministers shall undertake a tour of different areas of the country for the purpose of disseminating (R-ARCSS).

This measures is intended among other things, to help address some of the recurrent problems associated with freedom of access to and movement within, areas still under the administrative control of the SPLM (IO) by entrenching the reality that the R-TGONU is a single unified Government having undivided jurisdiction over the entire territory of the Republic of South Sudan.

President Kiir, Machar had rare conversation for the first time

President Salva Kiir Mayardit and his Deputy Dr. Riek Machar were seen sharing ideas on January 30, 2021 |Photo: File

South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir Mayardit and his Deputy, Dr. Riek Machar, were seen on Saturday having normal conversations and exchanging views for the first time since the formation of the coalition government.

The key leaders were applauded on social media for showing a positive gesture and sharing ideas on current issues affecting the world’s youngest nation.

They were also encouraged to continue holding similar meetings as part of the trust-building effort as the nation is seen slowly getting back on the right track.

“This is actually encouraging, I hope they will continue with the same spirit and understanding,” said a social media user identified as Emmanuel Chol D.

Since the outbreak of the conflict in mid-December 2013, Kiir and Machar have had a bad working relationship and the two have never exchanged views on how to tackle the country’s deep-seated problems.

“Such a positive interaction between our leaders is a sigh of relief for the people of South Sudan, I wish the newly appointed Governor and his Deputy the best of luck as they begin the first phase of reconciliation in Upper Nile State,” another user wrote in the comments section.

South Sudan’s leaders signed an agreement in September 2018 aimed at ending years of violence that has driven millions from their homes and outside the country.

However, the implementation of key components of the agreement fall behind schedule, including security arrangements, the formation of Hybrid Court, and the reconstitution of the Transitional National Legislative Assembly.

Last week, the R-JMEC called on the parties to accelerate the graduation of the Unified Forces that are currently undergoing training in cantonment areas.

“We believe that the successful implementation of PCTSA is a guarantee to a permanent foundation of enduring peace in the South Sudan. Protracted delays and passing of time without progress is detrimental to the overall situation in South Sudan,” said peace guarantors in a joint statement.

Kiir praises Machar for changing warmonger Johnson Olony

President Salva Kiir Mayardit commends FVP Dr. Riek Machar for changing General Johnson Olony |Photo: File

Speaking at the swearing-in ceremony of newly appointed governors, President Salva Kiir Mayardit commends First Vice-President Dr. Riek Machar for changing his mind and replacing General Johnson Olony.

On Friday, President Kiir issued a Republican decree appointing Budhok Ayang Kur as Governor of Upper Nile State and picked James Tor Monybuny as his Deputy.

“H.E. President Salva Kiir Mayardit presided over the swearing in ceremony of Hon. Budhok Ayang Kur as the Governor of Upper Nile State, Hon. Aleu Ayieny Aleu as the Governor of Warrap State and Hon. James Tor Monybuny as the Deputy Governor of Upper Nile State,” the Office of the President said in a statement on Saturday.

The oath-taking ceremony was officiated by President Kiir and was administered by Chief Justice Chan Reech Madut at the President’s Office in the capital, Juba.

“In attendance also were, The First Vice President H.E. Dr. Riek Machar Teny, Presidential Adviser on National Security Affairs Hon. Tut Gatluak Manime, Minister of Presidential Affairs Nhial Deng Nhial , Minister of National Security, Hon. Obuto Mamur Mete, Minister of General Education and Instruction Hon. Awut Deng Acuil, Minister of Livestock and Fisheries Onyoti Adigo Nyikwec.”

“H.E. President Salva Kiir Mayardit said, he was happy when he got the letter from Dr. Riek Machar that he changed General Johnson Olony Thabo as his nominee for the sake of peace and security for the people of Upper Nile State after Johnson Olony Thabo declined the post two weeks ago.”

The President urged the newly appointed Governor and his Deputy to unite the people of Upper Nile State instead of sowing seeds of division.

“H.E. President Salva Kiir urged Hon. Budhok Ayang and Hon. James Tor Monybuny to work together to reconcile and unite the people of Upper Nile State.
H.E. President Salva Kiir said, the people of Upper Nile State are one blood and they should learn to co- exist and not fight with each other.”

President Salva Kiir urged the State Governors to get to work and bring for him their recommendations of States and local Governments officials for him to issue the decrees for appointments.

“H.E. President Salva Kiir urged Hon. Aleu Ayienyi to bring back law and order in Warrap state, H.E. President Salva Kiir said, he is confident that Aleu Ayieny Aleu will do his work to end hostilities in Tonj and Warrap State in General.”

On his part, the First Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar said he decided to replace General Johnson Olony after declining to be appointed as Governor.

JCE returns to politics in full swing, denounces R-ARCSS as useless

Press Release |By The Jieng Council of Elders (JCE)
Aldo Ajou Deng Akuey, a South Sudanese politician and a senior member of the Jieng Council of Elders.
Aldo Ajou Deng Akuey, a senior member of the Jieng Council of Elders |Photo: Courtesy

Breaking the Silence

We the members of the JCE wish to break our long silence. We want to speak about the state of affairs in our country, South Sudan. Our nation came into existence on the sacrifices of millions of South Sudanese people who paid the ultimate price to free us with the hope that such freedom, once achieved, would be grounded on liberty, justice and prosperity for all.

It is self-evident that South Sudan is indeed an independent country, but we can all attest that liberty, justice and prosperity remain elusive in South Sudan. Since its inception, the JCE intensified its activities in 2014 after the country descended into a political crisis. Our hope then was that we could save the country from fragmentation.

However, the JCE came under extreme criticism over the last few years for its stand on issues of importance in public discourse. The JCE did not exist, in any form, prior to the 2013 political crisis, it was born as a result of the conflict to contribute to the restoration of peace, stability and unity. The JCE has been accused of being responsible for the detrimental decisions that have pushed the country to the brink of collapse.

It was accused of pursuing a parochial interest to establish a state that only serves the interest of the Jieng people. Many of the opposition leaders, who rebelled against the state, have always cited that they were opposed to the system that is influenced by the Jieng Council of Elders.

We have not publicly responded to these allegations because such exchanges at a time when people are in the state of war would simply widen the divide. Now that there is semblance of peace in the country, we see it appropriate to address these allegations and to speak about the state of affairs in the country and the way forward. First, the Jieng Council of Elders wishes to make it absolutely clear, that the crisis in the country, as diagnosed perfectly by the National Dialogue, is a result of state and leadership failure and has nothing to do with the Council.

The JCE has, in fact, tried its very best to prevent the collapse of the state, but the political stalemate and the acrimonious power struggle chokes every effort. We can say with confidence that we played a positive role to keep the dialogue among communities alive. We did not do this by making decisions for the state, we did it by simply engaging various stakeholders in dialogue.

We have been deliberately misunderstood, although the JCE is a force for good of the country, not its destruction. Yet, in 2017, President Kiir spoke in the National Parliament and complained that his biggest problem in South Sudan were the Jieng (ethnic group) and the SPLM. The Council is deeply aware of the history that brought the independence of this country.

The people of South Sudan fought collectively against a system that was built to favor one race, Arab, and one religion, Islam, at the expense of the African majority and their traditions. Third, the JCE saw the need in 2014 to organize the Jieng Community to maintain its unity and to discredit reports propagated in the international media, at the time, that the conflict was a Jieng-Nuer conflict. It was not; rather, it was a political conflict, triggered by power struggle between those who wanted to capture state power forcibly and those who wanted to maintain it.

The 2013 conflict was and remains a political conflict that has nothing to do with the Jieng, the Nuer ethnic communities, nor any other community. We did not only say this, but we also went ahead to engage the Nuer elders and issued a joint statement under the auspices of former President of Kenya, late Daniel arap Moi stating clearly that our communities are not in conflict, the politicians and warlords were.

We have also engaged other elders from Equatoria, Bahr el Ghazal and Upper Nile to defuse tensions and to give our word to them that the Jieng Community is not at war with any community. The JCE also came out openly against attempts by some quarters to advocate for international trusteeship.

The JCE maintains its position and would oppose any external intervention to recolonize South Sudan, but it welcomes any constructive engagement to advance human security, democracy, and economic prosperity. Regarding the current state of affairs in our country, the JCE is appalled by the outrageous violence happening across the country. States and local governments were dissolved abruptly a year ago, and there is no government in the countryside but the proverbial state of nature in our country as we speak.

Evidently, we have seen escalating communal violence in the country. The economy has manifestly collapsed and our people are starving even here at the National Capital, Juba. The national army and other organized forces, who are entrusted with defense of the country, keeping the rule of law, and security are not paid regular salaries. The same is true for civil servants who go for months, or years in the case of diplomatic missions, without salaries.

Needless to speak of the perennial corruption, which has bankrupted the country and enriched a very few. The international relations have worsened, and the country is extremely isolated. In 2015, the JCE came out openly to oppose the Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (ARCSS).

The JCE’s position was that the Agreement was partially imposed on the parties and did not fairly settle the conflict and ignored the root causes. The whole (Ssue affecting South Sudan was reduced to power sharing, nothing significant was done to address governance challenges facing the country, including corruption. We were misunderstood and villified for our position.

However, we were proven right as the Agreement collapsed in July 2016, only three months after commencement of its implementation, and the country returned to war. When the parties signed the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS) in September 2018, the JCE did not make any statement because we did not want to be misunderstood again and be considered as anti-peace. Now the verdict is out, and our fears have been confirmed once again.

The 2018 R-ARCSS is far worse than the 2015 ARCSS and so the JCE does not believe it will bring permanent peace in South Sudan. As we write, the Revitalized Agreement has existed for two years and four months and nothing much has happened in the way of implementation. The Army is not unified, while this is the basis of the whole security arrangement; the RTGONU is not fully formed, although this is the core of the entire Agreement.

The verdict is that the R-ARCSS is failing, or has already failed, and its breakdown cannot and should not be attributed to the Jieng or Nuer communities; it is a failure of the parties contending for power. The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), Troika and the international community must reconsider the R-ARCSS.

In our view, the South Sudan National Dialogue has come with a very clear way forward and ignoring it would be a recipe for discontent and could have negative and far-reaching consequences. In our view, the aspirations of the South Sudanese people have been clearly articulated through the National Dialogue resolutions.

All the nationalities, ethnic communities, and religious communities have talked, and they have listened to one another and they have charted a way forward. The Jieng Council of Elders fully endorses the outcomes of the National Dialogue, including the Covering Note of its Leadership. The JCE, therefore, wishes to congratulate the people of South Sudan for embracing one another and for ultimately deciding on the future of their country through the National Dialogue.

We want to also congratulate the delegates to the National Dialogue National Conference, the Steering Committee, especially the leadership team and the Secretariat, for doing a great service to their country, and indeed President Kiir for initiating the Dialogue and sponsoring it for nearly for years.

We applaud the National Dialogue for pointing out the truth and for sharply dissecting and pointing out state and leadership failure as the root causes of the current crises in South Sudan. We are in agreement entirely with their assessment and call upon President Kiir and 1st Vice President Dr. Riek Machar to listen to the voices of the people.

IGAD says Machar is “free” to travel anywhere in the world

IGAD's Heads of State and Government at 38th Extraordinary Assembly held in Djibouti |Photo: © IGAD Secretariat
IGAD’s Heads of State and Government at 38th Extraordinary Assembly held in Djibouti |Photo: © IGAD Secretariat

Dec 21, 2020 (Thessherald)–The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) has denied reports speculating that the country’s First Vice-President, Dr. Riek Machar, is still under “house arrest” in the capital, Juba.

In a statement issued on Sunday following the 38th Extraordinary Assembly of the IGAD Heads of State and Government, the East African regional bloc that brokered the South Sudan peace agreement confirmed that the opposition leader, Dr. Riek Machar, is free to travel anywhere in the world

“The Assembly of the IGAD Heads of State and Government underscored that currently there are no travel restrictions of any kind imposed by IGAD on the First Vice President of the Republic of South Sudan, Dr. Riek Machar Teny,” the IGAD said in a communique issued on Sunday.

Regarding the implementation of the peace agreement, the IGAD commends the South Sudanese leaders for having achieved an important milestone in implementing outstanding issues.

“The Assembly of the IGAD Heads of State and Government acknowledged the milestones achieved through the Rome Initiative towards engaging the non-signatory groups to the peace process in South Sudan and the need to bring the talks and the negotiating parties closer to the people of South Sudan,” the statement added.

Despite being part of the coalition government, Machar has been in a situation similar to House Hetention, as he is not allowed to travel in and out of the country.

Last month, the SPLA-IO’s top military commanders expressed their frustration and demanded the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to allow Machar to visit his forces and brief them on the status of the agreement.

South Sudan’s government and opposition groups signed the R-ARCSS in September 2018, that marked an end to deadly violence that has killed more than 400,000 people and displaced millions from their homes.

Makuei denies Machar’s alleged house arrest

Machar’s full statement on Upper Nile State Conference due on Wednesday

The Upper Nile State Conference is expected to be held in the capital, Juba, from December 16 to 19, and will attract about 500 participants across the country as well as neighboring countries.

Chairman of the SPLM-IO and First Vice-President Dr. Riek Machar delivers a speech at the opening of the 6th SPLM-IO National Conference held on December 1st – to 5th in Juba |Photo: © FVP Office

1: Introduction:

Dec 14, 2020 (Thessherald)–On December 9, 2020, the Presidency held its forth meeting in which it decided to declare the formation of the nine (9) states and local governments except the government of Upper Nile State and its counties.

The Presidency also decided to convene a peace and reconciliation conference for all the communities of Upper Nile State in Juba. The conference shall run for three (3) days under the theme:

“Peace, Reconciliation, Healing and Unity among the people of Upper Nile State”.

2: Background

Upper Nile State is home to five (5) ethnic groups namely the Chollo, the Dinka, the Koma, the Maban and the Nuer. These diverse communities have been living together in harmony since time immemorial. Their social, cultural and linguistic co-existence has been cemented by long history of intermarriages and neighborliness. This social cohesion reflects the unique relationship between them.

For centuries, there has been no history of devastating conflict and enmity among the people of Upper Nile. However, twe isolated incidents, to be recalled, occured in 1973 (The Hippopotamus Incident) between the Chollo and the Nuer, and on the day of the CPA Celebration in January 2009 at the Malakal stadium between Chollo and Dinka, were amicably contained.

The major violence in history breakout on December 23, 2013, following the Juba December 15, 2013 crisis, resulted in the loss of many innocent lives and
property among the five communities.

The violence has awfully devastated the state infrastructure, forced many people to seek refuge in the United Nations Protection of Civilian Sites (PoCs), displaced others internally and created an exodus of refugees neighboring countries, and destroyed the social fabric of the communities.

However, the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS of 2018) provides an opportunity for the people of Upper Nile to reconcile, heal, unitr, and restore the social fabric of their society as well as rebuild their State.

3: Objectives:

The objectives of the conference are to:–

• Provide a platform for the people of Upper Nile State to dialogue among themselves and address their grievances;

• Enhance the process of peace. reconciliation, liealing and unity among the affected communities;

• Restore the destroyed social fabric and peacefal co-existence; and

• Encourage the return and resettlement of the internally displaced persons, refugees and POCS residents in Malakal and elsewhere into their homes.

4: Participants

The conference under the sponsorship of the RTGNOU is estimated to bring together around four hundred and ninety-six (496) participants from all political and social spectrum of the communities of Upper Nile State.

The breakdown of invited delegates from different locations inside and outside South Sudan is as follows:

Neighboring Countries:

• 1 Sudan:––65 delegates
• 2 Ethiopia:––26 delegates
• 3 Uganda:––26 delegates
• 4 Kenya:––26 delegates

Inside South Sudan:

• 1 Malakal POCS:– 30

• 3 Counties of the State:– 65 delegates

• 4 Juba:– 232 delegates

Grand Total: 496 delegates

Cognizant of the report of the Tribal Boundaries Commission (TBC) on the tribal boundaries in dispute in South Sudan; and the reverting of the country to ten states recognizing Upper Nile State as the geographical, administrative and political entity as it stood in January 1956, the sons and daughters of Upper Nile State shall engage in an all-inclusive dialogue amongst themselves to address, among other things, the following:

a) Reconciliation and Healing

• b) Cohesion among the communities living in the State;

• c) Civil Administration of the State, especially the redress of the status of the civil servants that were laid off without due procedures of the civil service;

• d) Cooperation among the political leaders in order to develop the State; and

In the light of the above, the Upper Nile Conference shall be held in Juba at Freedom Hall from 16 to 19 December, 2020 under the patronage of HE. Salva Kiir Mayardit, President of the Republic of South Sudan and under chairmanship of the First Vice President, H.E. Dr Riek Machar Teny-Dhurgon.

Mabior finally sheds light on SPLM-IO’s hidden internal affairs

Response to Matthew Debuol – Personal Assistant to the Minister of Defense of the R-TGONU)

Opinion |By Mabior Garang de Mabior 

Dec 13, 2020 (Thessherald)–On the 12th of December I received a missed call, followed by a message from Matthew Debuol, who goes by the username Troika on Telegram. He urged me to contact him directly, which I did later on the same day. I was taken aback since I have never received a call from this Comrade. To my surprise, he was calling me regarding the now infamous Facebook post by Comrade Kalany Mamuon in which he criticised the Hon. Minister of Defense, Mama Angelina.

He went on to – in a passive aggressive manner – intimidate me by giving me a lecture on party regulations and procedures. He wanted me to take disciplinary action against Comrade Kalany, whom he had previously threatened and failed. I wondered with which authority he was calling me and giving me directives.

In response, I declined to take any official action against Comrade Kalany since his was a personal opinion expressed on social media and not an official SPLM/SPLA (IO) position. It is the right of any citizen to criticise and hold accountable any constitutional post holder. While what Comrade Kalany said may have been insensitive, it was accurate.

It is for the same reason we criticise the President, that we can criticise any Minister; it comes with the territory, as it were. It is for this reason that I resigned as the Deputy Minister of Interior. In the absence of security arrangements, it was a set up for failure. However, I did agree to talk to Comrade Kalany and told him he could have found a better way of expressing the same view.

After several unsuccessful attempts to use me to intimidate Comrade Kalany, Comrade Matthew Debuol’s true colours came out suddenly in a sectarian rant. It started with an innocent question, asking how I propose we change the regime, which I told him was a question to be answered by the leadership, rendered irrelevant by the Luak Ltd. He then went on to tell me, ‘with all due respect’, Nuer children should not die for my regime change agenda. That I should go and bring children from Bor to die for regime change. At this point, I knew the Conversation was over.

I have received several messages from some party members counselling me not to dignify such myopic views with a response. I agree with these Comrades in principle. However, I felt it was necessary to write an “Opinion” on this issue because it is one of the propaganda talking points of a sectarian-cultural interest group in Juba who have hijacked the leadership of the peoples’ movement in the name of “giving peace a chance”.

Compatriots, this is mischief!

I am less concerned about the damage these words may do to my ego. I do not even believe they are the words of Comrade Debuol, I believe he picked them up from the senior partners in what I call the Luak Ltd. The enemy within is trying to use sectarian sentiments as a smokescreen to conceal their surrender to the status quo. They are suffering from struggle fatigue. The dishonourable surrender of the NPTC regime has nothing to do with saving the lives of Nuer children, it is magendo – corruption in the South Sudanese vernacular.

If these people cared about Nuer children, why have they forgotten about those in the Protection of Civilians Camps (PoC) and those in the refugee camps? The very same army he (Matthew Debuol) claims he wants to save by going to Juba, is the very same one which has been abandoned in the bush and are languishing in the cantonment centers. They are now under attack by an army led by a senior member of their party also in charge of security in the party.

In 2014, many South Sudanese from all walks of life joined the struggle for fundamental change in our country after the Juba massacre. Our indignation at this tragic chapter in our history was not because Nuers per se were killed, but because those who died where our fellow citizens.

In conclusion, members of the SPLM/SPLA (IO) and our civil population in general, should understand the difference between Peace and an Agreement. The current Agreement in Juba will never bring peace, which is our ultimate objective. Not necessarily the implementation of the Agreement. There is a difference between giving an Agreement a chance and giving Peace a chance. We have seen the results of giving this Agreement a chance, it has ended in war in Moroto. Let us now give real peace a chance by being honest with ourselves; there is no Agreement and we the politicians have surrendered.

Perhaps we may find peace out of this noble admission and negotiate a good surrender which may have a better chance at ending in peace.

Mabior says he’s being intimidated by some SPLM-IO members

Mabior Garang de Mabior says he’s being intimidated by some SPLM-IO members |Photo: Courtesy

Dec 13, 2020 (Thessherald)–Mabior Garang de Mabior, head of the SPLM-IO Committee for Information disclosed on Saturday that he had been threatened and intimidated by some SPLM-IO members after one of his aides shifted the blame onto Defence Minister Angelina Jany for failing to take action following a series of attacks on SPLA-IO forces in the Equatoria region.

“I was called today by one of the Junior Partners in the Luak Ltd [ referring to the SPLM-IO]. He tried to intimidate me about the Facebook post of Comrade Kalany Mamuon in which he criticized Mama Angelina – the Hon. Minister of Defense. He wanted me to take disciplinary action against him (Kalany), which I declined to do,” said Mabior in a Facebook post.

“His contention was that they went to Juba – in essence surrendered – because Nuer children are dying and that I should bring an army of our own children from Bor if I want regime change. He went on to talk a lot of sectarian nonsense. It seems he’s popular view among certain sectarian interest groups in Juba.”

This is not the first time that the senior member of the opposition has complained of being discriminated on the basis of his ethnic identity by a certain group he always refers to as the ‘Intellectual Mercenaries of the NPTC Regime’ in Juba.

Mabior, who hails from the Dinka Bor, has been a staunch supporter of the SPLM-IO and has since held top ministerial positions in the previous unity government as well as the current Eevitalized Transitional Government of National Unity formed earlier this year.

Machar’s remark at the opening of the 6th SPLM/A-IO Conference

   Full Text: Dr. Riek Machar
Opposition pleader D. Riek Machar Teny-Dhurgon delivers an opening remark at the 6th SPLM-IO National Conference in in Juba |Photo: Vice-President's Office
Opposition pleader D. Riek Machar Teny-Dhurgon delivers an opening remark at the 6th SPLM-IO National Conference in in Juba |Photo: Vice-President’s Office

Dec 2nd, 2020 (Thessherald)–Good Morning, It is my pleasure to welcome all of you to the SPLM/SPLA (10) 6th National Conference. I must thank all of you, especially those who travelled long distances from states and counties despite the many challenges including lack of transport, bad roads, insecurity, poor weather and floods that have affected our country to attend this historic Conference.

I would like to thank the members of the Leadership: The Political Bureau, the National Liberation Council and state branches for sailing and steering the Movement through and during very difficult moments of our history since the inception of the SPLM/SPLA (10) on April 18, 2014 in Nasir in Upper Nile State. You have been working diligently under difficult circumstances to promote peace, security, law and order in your respective capacities with limited means at your disposal.

I also would like to take this opportunity to whole-heartedly thank and appreciate every member of the Movement present here and those who could not make it to this Conference as we recognize and value every sacrifice and contribution made towards achieving lasting peace, justice, equality and prosperity for our country.

I would like to reiterate our vision to create a prosperous, peaceful and united country guided by principles of democracy, justice and liberty anchored on a federal system of governance where Human Rights and fundamental freedoms are respected.

At this juncture, I salute our fallen heroes, heroines and also the members of the armed forces of the SPLM/SPLA (10) who are currently enduring hardships in their different locations of Assembly Areas, Cantonment Sites and Training Centers. The sacrifices you make to achieve peace and justice for our country is the ultimate necessity for laying the foundation of a true independent, prosperous and democratic society in which all our diversities shall peacefully coexist.

Last but not least, allow me to thank the members of the Organizing Committee and those who have contributed in one way or another to make this Conference possible.

Dear Comrades, invited Guests;

It has been a tradition for the SPLM/SPLA (IO) to hold annual National Conferences for the past seven years. These events have enabled the leadership of the Movement to come together to deliberate and dialogue on critical and important policy issues pertaining to the Movement and the nation including peace processes. The purpose of the 6th National Conference is reflected in its theme: “Building and Sustaining Peace through Implementation of R-ARCSS. “

The parties to the Agreement are currently engaged in the process of implementation of R-ARCSS with the overarching objectives of achieving sustainable peace, security and transition to democracy.

This is in line with the African Union (AU) theme, “silencing the guns…2020” as well as the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution 2532 (2020) on Universal Ceasefire in conflict areas. Thus, the security of our people and their property depends on ensuring the implementation of the Agreement and compliance with these themes.

The R-ARCSS offers the best opportunity for the country to put an end to the tragic civil war and political violence that have engulfed and wrecked the country for the past seven years. The R-ARCSS also offers the people of South Sudan an opportunity for reconciliation, healing and development. There is no alternative to building and sustaining peace in the country other than the R-ARCSS.

Dear Delegates and Invited Guests,

On the dawn of the independence, the people of South Sudan had high hopes that their aspirations for a united, peaceful, prosperous and democratic state would be realized. However, barely two years of the independence the country was plunged into a tragic civil war on 15th December 2013. The civil war dashed all their hopes. Similarly, our regional and international partners, who had walked with us the long path to independence, were disappointed.

The political disagreements that had been brewing within the ruling Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement (SPLM) over issues of vision, direction, internal democracy and governance were the triggers of political crisis in the country. On December 6, 2013, members of Political Bureau publically expressed in a press conference these disagreements. The issues raised were as follows:

• Rampant insecurity manifested in the inter-communal conflicts and killings with impunity throughout the country, including the capital, leading to needless loss of innocent lives and property;

• ii. Institutionalized tribalism that engulfed the entire sector of the public service, limiting opportunities and depriving those who do not control the sector;

• Rampant corruption and theft of public funds; iv. Lack of socio-economic development, resulting in acute poverty and dependency on humanitarian aid;

• v. Disregard for constitutionalism and rule of law manifested in the dismissal of democratically elected officials, including Governors, thus undermining the will of the people; vi. Poor regional and international relations that undermined the goodwill of our partners and friends who stood beside us; and vii. Last but not least, loss of vision and ideological direction by the ruling SPLM party.

The raising of these issues publically on December 6, 2013 was construed to be a coup attempt and consequently triggered violence on December 15, 2013 that turned political conflict into a civil war. The war led to massive loss of lives, destruction of property and displacement of millions of people.

Distinguished Delegates and Invited Guests;
The SPLM/SPLA (10) was formed on the 18th April 2014 from the ashes of the tragic war. The SPLM/SPLA (10) mission is to respond to this national tragedy and turn it into an opportunity to peacefully address political, social, economic, state and nation building crisis to achieve unity, reconciliation, healing, social cohesion, and to restore the dignity of our people.

It is for this reason, and as part of its mission, we signed a number of Agreements including Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (COHA) and Agreement on the Status of Political Detainees on 23 January 2014 respectively; Agreement on Humanitarian Matters on 6 May 2014; and a political framework Agreement that paved way for a negotiated political settlement signed on the 9 May 2014. Consequently, the Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCRSS) was signed on 17th August 2015. Unfortunately, the ARCSS of 2015 collapsed.

Despite the challenges that the SPLM/SPLA (10) faced following the collapse of ARCSS in 2016, the Movement, in its quest for peace, continued to pursue a peaceful settlement of the conflict. In efforts to resuscitate the collapsed ARCSS, the SPLM/SPLA (10) engaged in diplomatic activities with regional and international partners, namely IGAD member states, East African Community (EAC), AU, EU, UN, Troika and IGAD Partners Forum.

Finally, IGAD convened a High-Level Revitalization Forum (HLRF). The process of the HLRF culminated into the signing of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCRSS) on September 12, 2018.

Distinguished Delegates and Invited Guests;

The SPLM/SPLA (10), because of its commitment to peace and the implementation of the Agreement, took the risk and dispatched its members assigned to the implementation mechanisms to Juba on 5th November 2018 without any security arrangements in place.

The Pre-Transitional tasks of the Agreement were not completed in the first 8 months.

This warranted an extension for 6 months and further 100 days, making the PreTransitional Period 17 months and 10 days. Despites the many extensions to the PreTransitional period, critical tasks of the Agreement remain unimplemented including the Unification of Forces and Transitional Security Arrangements. Reverting the country to the former ten states was the only task accomplished.

Because the SPLM/SPLA (10) is committed to the Agreement it had to agree to the commencement of the Transitional Period on 22nd February 2020 and to the formation of RTGoNU without the completion of the critical tasks outlined in the Agreement most importantly the Security Arrangements.

As a result of failure to meet datelines and requirements of implementation matrix, the following are some of the critical tasks still pending:

• Appointment of the Governor of Upper Nile State;

• Unification and Deployment of the Necessary Unified Forces;

• Reconstitution of Transitional Legislature;

• Completion of Formation of RTGoNU;

• Reconstitution of the National Petroleum and Gas Commission and other
• Economic Sector Institutions as per the Agreement;

• Devolution of Powers and Resources to States and Counties;

• Drafting and Review of National Legislation;
• Establishment of Ad hoc Judicial Reform Committee;

• Permanent Constitution Making Process;
• Implementation of Chapter Five (Transitional Justice);

• Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration and Voluntary Repatriation and Resettlement of IDPs.

Distinguished Delegates, invited guests;

While SPLM/SPLA (10) remain steadfast and committed to the implementation of the Agreement in letter and spirit, we expect the same commitment from our peace partners so that we can better manage together the challenges impeding the implementation process.

These challenges include:

Limited resources:–The Agreement clearly stipulates that the government avails resources for implementation of the peace Agreement. However, the government has only provided limited resources in an intermittent manner.

Lack of political will:–There are many activities of the agreement that only require decision of the parties and do not need any substantial resources for implementation. Such activities include devolution of powers and resources, reconstitution of TNL, reforms, completion of the formation of RTGoNU, National Healing and Reconciliation, opening of humanitarian corridors, and opening of political space;

Lack of political space:–In order to implement the peace Agreement and ensure transition to democracy, there is need to create a conducive environment that allows parties to exercise freedom of expression, association, and assembly. Political space is critical for the process of Truth, Reconciliation and Healing and peace dissemination;

The economic crises:–The political uncertainties, weak economic institutions, dependency on oil revenue, high public debt, and limited foreign exchange flows continue to affect the economy. It is to be recalled that the parties signed an agreement on 27th June 2018 for the resumption of oil production in the areas affected by war purposely to fund the implementation of the Agreement. As a result, the economy rebound in 2018/2019 with real GDP growth at 5.8% in 2019, a huge increase from 0.5% in 2018, and inflation fell to record 24.5% in 2019 from 83.5% in 2018. Therefore, the government should allocate more funds for the implementation of the Agreement.

The first case in the country of the corona virus (Covid19) pandemic was discovered on 5th April 2020. Due to strict measures and protocols introduced to combat this pandemic, Covid19 impacted negatively on the economy, implementation of the peace Agreement, provision of services, and access to humanitarian assistance.

Unprecedented floods:–Seven out of ten states have been affected by the floods causing displacement of over a million people, destruction of homesteads and livelihoods. This disaster has exacerbated the already dire humanitarian situation and made delivery of relief services difficult as well as voluntary repatriation and resettlement of returnees thus impacting on the implementation of the Agreement;

Widespread inter and intra-communal violence and insecurity leading to waves of unrest in Bahr el Ghazel and Upper Nile regions. This phenomenon is clearly a national security threat resulting into of loss of lives and destruction of livelihoods and shifting focus away from the implementation of the peace

Agreement:–Political and administrative vacuum in the States caused by delays in agreeing on the allocation and application of responsibility sharing at the state and local government levels. This impasse has led to lapse in service delivery, and breakdown of law and order;

Violations of the Agreement; breaches of Permanent Ceasefire and Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (COHA) in Maiwut and Maban counties in Upper Nile State, Wau county in Western Bahr El Ghazel State, Tumbura County in Western Equatoria State, lately in Kajokeji county of Central Equatoria State. The SSPDF committed these violations; appointments without consultations; the non-dissolution of ITGoNU National Legislature;

These violations are a clear demonstration of lack of political will and commitment to implementation of Transitional Security Arrangements. Holdout groups; the presence of non-signatories to the agreement poses a threat to achieving sustainable peace and security in the country.

Distinguished Delegates, invited Guests;
It is the first time for SPLM/SPLA (10) to hold its National Conference in the Capital Juba since its inception. This is a great milestone towards building sustainable peace and transition to democracy. The SPLM/SPLA (10) would like to take this opportunity to congratulate its members and the people of South Sudan for this milestone. Despite the slow progress in the implementation of the Agreement, we are optimistic that peace shall prevail.

In this light, the Movement must prepare and re-organize itself to manage new challenges presented by the realities of the new dispensation. As the transitional period moves towards general elections as provided for in the Agreement, the Movement must complete its structures and institutions at all levels; National, States, Counties, Payams and Bomas. The time is opportune for the Movement to register all its members and establish its offices at all levels. The Movement must open political cadre schools for training of its members.

Members are expected to abide by the principles outlined in the basic documents of the Movement namely; the Constitution, the Manifesto, the Internal Regulations and the Code of Conduct.

Distinguished Delegates, invited Guests;

Allow me to make the following recommendations:

On the Implementation of R-ARCSS

Establishment of fund for the implementation of the Agreement and to be independently managed;

• Direct allocation of a fix amount from the oil revenue for the fund;
• Call for a donor conference to support the implementation of the Agreement;
• Hold parties accountable for actions of defectors that join them;

• Accelerate graduation of the Necessary Unified Forces and immediately commence phase Il of the unification of forces;

• Ensure timely provision of logistics to cantonment and training centers; Ensure that the Rome talks are concluded successfully;

• Call for the appointment of the governor of Upper Nile State;

• Kick-start the economic sector and institutional reforms
• Establishment of the Ad hoc Judicial Reform Committee;

• Accelerate the establishment of the following funds: Special Reconstruction Fund (SRF), Student Fund, Social Security Fund, Women Enterprise Development Fund and Youth Enterprise Development Fund;

On Economic Governance:

• Put in place economic recovery programs;

• Liberalize the exchange rate to eliminate parallel market rate;

• Ensure prudent management of resources and compliance with public financial management regulations; Combat corruption;

Diversify the economy:–Ensure devolution of power and resources to States and Counties;
–Ensure resources are directed towards service delivery sector namely; health, education, water and sanitation etc.

Call upon the international partners to support efforts in combating Covid19;

Declare all loans and contracts collateralized or guaranteed against oil; Develop debt management strategy;


In conclusion, allow me to reiterate, on behalf of the Movement and on my own behalf, our commitment to peace and its implementation. I again want to thank our gallant SPLM/SPLA (10) forces for their patience and enduring all hardships to ensure peace prevails in our country;

My special appreciation goes to all the Necessary Unified Forces awaiting graduation and deployment in the training centers for their endurance and steadfastness. I assure you of your graduation and deployment. And you will for sure serve your country;

I call upon all the forces of the parties to continue observing the Cessation of Hostilities and the Permanent Ceasefire. The R-ARCSS is the only option we have for building and sustaining peace in our country.

At this juncture, I would like to appreciate and acknowledge the role played by peace implementation mechanisms for pushing forward the process of implementation amidst scarce resources and other challenges;

I would to whole-heartedly appreciate IGAD and the Guarantors for their tireless efforts to ensure that the peace Agreement was achieved and for remaining seized of its implementation.

In this regard, I wish to express our solidarity with sisterly country Ethiopia, and urge for an expeditious peaceful resolution to the ongoing conflict in their country;

I appreciate the roles played by international partners in support of peace in South Sudan; the AU, UN, EU, Troika, IGAD Partner Forum, without whose support, we would not have been where we are today;

I would like to thank the Community of Saint E’gidio for accepting the mediation with the holdout group and for facilitating the process and I wish them success;

I sincerely thank his Holiness Pope Francis, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin

Welby, the former Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland The Rt Reverend John Chalmers and the South Sudan Council of Churches for spiritual guidance and for supporting South Sudan peace process. The people of South Sudan look forward for your joint visit to South Sudan;

Finally, I take this opportunity to congratulate H.E. President Salva Kiir Mayardit for his tireless efforts to bring peace to our sisterly country the Sudan, I also would like to thank Your Excellency for your efforts in the implementation of R-ARCSS. I urge you to do more in this course.

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