The entire agreement is in question and not only the states allocation

By Mabior Garang de Mabior

May 12, 2020 (Thessherald)–those questioning the status of the allocation of States should understand that the entire Agreement is in question, not just the issue of the States. The SPLM/SPLA (IO) – wittingly or unwittingly – went to Juba to implement the Agreement before the critical tasks related to the pre-transitional period had been implemented, namely Security Arrangements.

It is worthy to note; however, the SPLM/SPLA (IO) went to Juba under immense international diplomatic pressure. Instead of fast tracking the peace process, this opened a “Pandora’s Box” – as it were.

If our partners in peace – the SPLM/SPLA (IG) – had made peace a non-zero-sum game, it might have been progressive. The tragic reality is the power elite have made peace a zero-sum game and to them it means maintaining the barbaric status quo in our country, which has prevailed since the days of colonialism and the slave trade.

The implementation of the Agreement in letter and spirit would dismantle this state of affairs, which is the industry of the traditional elites.
The latest violation of the Agreement is the unilateral allocation of States by the so-called Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (R-TGONU). Our civil population must understand that the establishment of the R-TGONU does not mean formation of government.

This has not yet been completed. The current regime in Juba has in reality weaponized the R-TGONU and is using it as a tool to dismantle the very Agreement we claim to be implementing.

Instead of expediting the implementation of the provisions of the Agreement – the only way to ensure radical reforms to the brutal system – the R-TGONU has become a mechanism for dismantling the Agreement by voting. It is an open secret that the South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA) and the Former Detainees (FDs) have been divided by the regime, with a component voting in line with the interests of the regime.

In any vote – the Executive and the Legislative – the revolutionary forces in our country are outnumbered by the traditional elite who want to maintain the barbaric status quo.

This will be the Modus Operandi of the so-called R-TGONU. All decisions will be put to a vote at the level of the Presidency. This will ensure the smooth and timely dismantling of the Agreement in the name of democracy. It is the use of democracy to kill democracy, it would be brilliant were it not so tragic. With four VPs voting with President Salva Kiir and the enemy within being empowered by the regime through the trappings of power, we have our work cut out. In any case, the implementation of the Agreement in letter and spirit remains the only way for our civil population to enjoy their embezzled peace dividends.

As we face the threat of the current global pandemic, we should take this time of social distancing and isolation to educate ourselves about the provisions of the Agreement. The greatest weapon of the traditional elite is our ignorance of thesd provisions, while the reforms are the most sophisticated weapons of the revolutionary forces.

The formation of the R-TGONU is not peace in and of itself, but a tool which can be used to bring radical reforms – which will then bring peace. The International community and the region in particular, have done all they can within the constraints of their national interests and international diplomacy. All that is left for them to do is “condemn in the strongest terms”, which will not solve our problems. We must understand that nobody is coming to save us, we must either save ourselves or perish.

The Transitional period and the work of the R-TGONU must be understood as the transformation of the struggle to a non-violent form. As our late Chairman – Dr. John Garang – used to teach, we must transform military power into political power. We must transform our consciousness from that of armed struggle, to implementation of the negotiated settlement brought about by the armed struggle. If there is really peace in our country, we should test it. We should be able to assemble freely and excercise our civil rights and liberties in public spaces without let or hindrance.

Peace can neither mean repression nor the culture of silence through violence or the threat of it. The interim period – like the pre-interim period before it – is being used by the traditional power elite to continue their struggle to dismantle the reform agenda and maintain the untenable status quo. This should not come as a surprise.

We should instead organise ourselves and counter the mischief of the regime by organizing a robust political organization in Juba and throughout the ten States, which can engage in national mobilization for civic education ahead of the elections in three years.

Fellow South Sudanese,

The formation of the R-TGONU is not a magic potion which will suddenly end chauvinistic and tribalistic tendencies, as evidenced by the continuation of intercommunal conflicts in all the regions of our country. We must do the hard work of peace and this in itself is another struggle.

The traditional elite in our country will not end the brutal status quo – which is their livelihood – voluntarily. In order for the revolutionary forces to bring about fundamental change, it will take a struggle and the current Agreement is the best tool at our disposal as revolutionaries on all sides of the political divide to wage this struggle as a non-violent movement.

The formation of R-TGONU alone is not victory for our civil population – it does not mean “peace”. For the revolutionary forces in our country to be victorious, it would require winning the elections at the end of the three year interim period. If we make compromises as revolutionaries, we must make them in exchange for assured victory in the elections at the end of the interim period.

This is the only way we can successfully and peacefully dismantle the barbaric status quo and deliver the promise of the liberation struggle – the welfare and prosperity of our civil population. Anything short of this is surrender in disguise and outright betrayal of the aspirations of our peoples and an outright betrayal of the aspirations of our peoples.
A luta Continua!

The writer is South Sudan’s Deputy Minister of Interior and the SPLM-IOChairperson of National Committee for Information and Public Relations.

Note: The views expressed in the ‘Opinion’ section are sole responsibility of individual authors and will take full responsibility, liability and blame for any libel or litigation that results from something written in or as a direct result of something written in a comment. The South Sudan Herald is not liable for any comment submitted by individuals authors and reserve the right to delete any opinion piece for any reason whatsoever.

Should you wish to submit your opinion piece or analysis, kindly contact us at:

Defense Minister Angelina declines to appear before Parliament, citing its illegitimacy

April 23, 2020 (Thessherald)–The newly appointed Minister of Defense and Veteran Affairs Angelina Jany Teny has declined to appear before Parliament after being summoned by an Ad hoc committee of the Transitional National Legislative Assembly, citing that it had become illegitimate and should be reconstituted.

“The Ministry of Defence and Veterans’ Affairs presents its compliments to your esteemed office, and has the honor and privilege to write on the subject thereof. Reference to your letter dated 14 April 2020, summoning me to appear before the IG-Transitional National Legislature Taskforce for COVID-19,” said Angelina.

Adding that, “In light of this summon request, I hereto, decline to appear before this committee for the following reasons.”

Angelina stressed that according to the peace agreement, the current Transitional National Legislative Assembly (TNLA) had become illegitimate and could have been reconstituted and expanded by the end of the Pre-Transitional Period.

“The IG-TNLA as per Article (1.4.4) of the revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS) is supposed to be replaced by the reconstituted TNLA by the end of the pretransitional period,” she said.

She gave a number of reasons why she was unable to turn up after being summoned by the TNLA.

  1. The last function of the IG-TNLA is the ratification of the constitution amendment bill.
  2. The IG-TNLA has no mandate to extend its life.
  3. According to Chapter VIII Article (8.1), the agreement is supreme to constitution and any other legislation that is not in compliance with the agreement.
  4. I am ready and willing to appear before the reconstituted TNLA.

The SPLM-IO senior official said that she would not appear before the government’s TNLA until an inclusive Transitional National Legislative Assembly is established.

“Given the above-mentioned reasons, I cannot appear before the IG-TNLA until a reconstituted Transitional National Legislative Assembly is formed. However, I recognize your concern regarding the impact of COVID-19 pandemic.”

SPLM-IO honors CDR Koang for his outstanding role in the movement, wishes him best luck

Gen. James Koang Choul, Former Deputy Chief of General Staff for Administration and Finance and former Co-chair of Joint Defense Board (JDB) and other high-ranking military commanders of the SPLA-IO/Photo: File

(Thessherald)–The main opposition movement, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement – IO, on Tuesday honored CDR Koang Chuol Ranley for the role he played during the conflict and wished him good luck in his future endeavors.

“We highly value the considerable role played by General CDR James Koang Chuol during the period of the armed struggle. Thus, we wish him the best of luck in his new course,” said Puok Both SPLM (IO) Director of Information & Public Relations.

Gen. James Koang Choul, Former Deputy Chief of General Staff for Administration and Finance and former Co-chair of Joint Defense Board (JDB) and other high-ranking military commanders of the SPLA-IO declared their allegiance to the SSPDF on Tuesday.

In a statement, the senior officers accused the SPLM / A leader, Dr. Rick Machar and his wife, Angelina Teny, of running the movement as an individual business.

“We are hereby announcing our resignation from the SPLA/M (10) with effect from 17/3/2020. We have also decided to resign from our respective assignments. The reasons are many but important among them is the way the movement is being run and managed.”

Adding that: “The SPLA/M (10) has lost direction, vision and command of the forces that it is turned into a family Affairs or business enterprise.”

The military leaders criticized the SPLM / A-IO leadership for allocating ministerial portfolios without consulting high-level military leaders.

“The recent appointment of Minister of Defense and Veterans Affairs without consultation with Military Command Council in the movement is case in point. Therefore, in the interest of full implementation of the Sept 2018 Peace Agreement and in the spirit of ensuring stability and peace to our beloved country of South Sudan, we have decided to join hands, declare our support and allegiance to the president of the Republic of South Sudan General Salva Kiir Mayardit.”

The defection of the senior officers of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army-IO came within only a week after the government and the opposition appointed the cabinet ministers of the coalition government.

PMPC accuses SPLM/A-IO of planning attacks on its forces

(Thessherald)–The Provisional Military and Political Council (PMPC), a breakaway faction allied to the government has accused a group of armed men from the Gajiok community of planning to launch an attack against PMPC forces and the civilian population in the area.

In a statement extended to The South Sudan Herald on Saturday, the leadership of the Provisional Military and Political Council accused senior SPLA-IO commanders of being behind all this warfare.

“As we have received reports from multiple sources on the ground, we are fully aware that the SPLM/A-IO is mobilizing armed men from Gajiok to launch attacks against our forces,” said the PMPC in a brief statement.

“The attackers are now in Malual heading towards Yieth- Yier.”

The group pointed an accusing finger at two commanders of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army – IO, for failing to honor the agreement and inciting more violence between the Gajaak communities.

“After we signed the agreement on February 11, 2020, we were supposed to strictly abide by the permanent ceasefire, but it’s now obvious that General Khor Chuol and Koang Ruot Luach are not happy to see peace prevail in the area,” the statement added.

PMPC is a splinter group headed by Major General James Ochan Puot, a high-ranking commander, who was
deputy commander of the SPLA-IO’s 5th Infantry Division.

Earlier this month, the two warring parties signed an agreement and committed to halting violence that has so far claimed lives and displaced the population.

“[We’re] convinced that any practice of dividing our people on the basis of clan-ism and hatred for the purpose of acquiring a political status is unacceptable, and that political issues should be resolved without first pitting communities against one another, Hereby Resolved the following,” the document signed by both parties partly reads.

“By signing these resolutions, we, the Parties, declare a permanent ceasefire to be immediately observed throughout Adar/Maiwut State,” the joint statement further said.

According to that agreement, the parties were obligated to immediately stop the fighting, allow reorganization, screening, training and reunification of forces to take place with immediate effect.

Where is IGAD-Plus to pressure parties in Juba?

Opinion, By James Gatdet Dak 

(Thessherald)–South Sudan’s government is now a paralyzed government of the ’big six’ as heads of institutions and states governors and would-be revitalized parliamentarians, who should have provided policy guidance across the nation, are nowhere to be named or seen.

The Presidency of the ’big six’ (President, First Vice President, and four Vice Presidents) of the slowly budding Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (R-TGoNU), was formed since 21 February 2020, but seven days later the Parties could not form a revitalized unity government: Cabinet, Parliament, States governments, etc.

SPLM-IG, led by President Salva Kiir, wants to take almost all the important governance and economic ministries, such as Defense, Interior, Petroleum, Finance, etc. How should this be in a coalition government, composed of different parties, some with separate huge armed forces?
SPLM/A-IO, the main opposition party, led by the First Vice President, Dr Riek Machar, is supposed to be leading the Governance Cluster, and lead the reform agenda as well, in accordance with the R-ARCISS, and so by denying them some of such vital governance and economic ministries, it sadly means the reform agenda is nibbed in the bud.

No IG party nominated ministers in charge of all these governance ministries will be cooperating with Dr Machar, who will be heading the Governance Cluster, in order to initiate reform policies on good governance in the new Cabinet. Reform agenda will be suspended until further notice.

Now the IG, led by President Kiir, has sadly applied the game of divide and conquer the other weaker opposition parties by giving them their whatever ministries through the back door, sidelining the IO, led by First Vice President, Dr Machar, in a process which is suspiciously not transparent.

As a result of these disagreements, the whole government in Juba and in the states has come to a standstill without the needed appointments of ministers and governors and a revitalized transitional national legislature.

Where is IGAD-Plus, as guarantors, in this unhealthy stalemate in Juba? Where is their sustained pressure on the Parties to ensure that they do the selection fairly and transparently and form a revitalized transitional government of national unity, not simply the uncooperative Presidency? – Is it not time for IGAD and the rest to step in again, and to remind the respective leaderships of the Parties that if they can’t agree as gentlemen and a woman, or as main Parties, then they should refer to what the Agreement says, and that is to select the 35 ministries on “rotational” basis. This means IG selects one ministry first, followed by IO, followed by SSOA, followed by FDs, followed by OPPs, and the cycle continues until each party gets its power-sharing ratio per the R-ARCISS, and the IG that has 20 ministries collects the remaining ministries.

IGAD and AU, and the wider international community, should not repeat the mistake they made in 2016, when they relaxed their pressure on the Parties, leaving the whole process to blow up again.

And who knows, somebody might be delaying the formation of the R-ARCISS in order to delay priority discussions on pending issues on the security arrangements, etc., and hence delay implementation of the security sector.
I hate to believe that pushing the IO into prematurely forming a unity government first, without implementing the security arrangements and protection of VIPs and vulnerable citizens in Juba and in other major towns, was to make IO and other Parties negotiate the pending pre-transitional issues from a weak position.

And it is risky by the way, but God is great.
Again, IO’s goodwill and trust-building approach and love for peace, stability and recovery of the lives of the suffering people of South Sudan, is being betrayed in daylight and in the watchful eyes of IGAD and the wider international community.

IGAD-Plus and their partners should intervene immediately and save the R-ARCISS if the Parties will not agree by Sunday, 2 March 2020.

The international community should not relax, but keep sustained pressure on the Parties until the Agreement is fully implemented and free and fair elections are held by 2023, God willing.
We should not quickly forget that the R-ARCISS itself was made possible through intense regional and international pressure And IGAD-Plus should also be reminding itself that it was responsible for pushing Dr Riek Machar into JUBA in 2016, without proper security arrangements put in place first, and it is the same scenario repeating itself today, and maybe even worse, given this intransigence on the part of IG …God forbids.

May God bless and take care of the ever-suffering people of South Sudan, and impose a positive divine intervention in the hearts and minds of their leaders.

The writer is a former Press Secretary in the Office of the President (Vice President’s office) and former Official Spokesman of the leadership of the SPLM/SPLA (IO). He is also the author of a testimonial book, ‘My Painful Story, Abducted from Kenya, Imprisoned in South Sudan’.

South Sudan government rejects IGAD proposal to establish 23 states

Sudan's PM Hamdok chairs a meeting of the IGAD leaders in Addis Ababa on 9 Feb 2020 -IGAD photo)
February 9, 2020 (Thessherald) – South Sudanese government has rejected a compromise proposed by the IGAD special envoys to adopt 23 states as a solution to end the disagreement over the number of states.

The South Sudanese government on Sunday issued a statement saying that the IGAD Council of Ministers on Saturday 8 February adopted a proposal made by the IGAD envoys providing to establish 23 states in the absence of the South Sudanese foreign minister.

The statement which was released late during the night from Addis Ababa where is held the annual summit of the head of states and governments of the African Union further added that the proposal was rejected by the South Sudanese president during a meeting of the IGAD head of states and governments.

“The Government of the Republic of South Sudan objected and argued to maintain its position of 32 States,” said the statement.

“Moreover, the Government proposed that the R-TGON (revitalized transitional government), which will be inclusive of all the signatories, be formed in time and given the responsibility to resolve the outstanding issues including the number and boundaries of the States,” it further said.

Before the issuance of the statement, Information Minister and Government Spokesperson Michael Makuei told the official TV that his government rejects the IGAD’s proposal on the 23 states.

He further said that the SPLM-IO leader Riek Machar instead of standing with his initial proposal of 23 states went further to call for a 10-state territorial administrative system.

“But our position is clear, we are not ready to even change a single state,” he said before to add that this a popular demand, not a government’s decision.

Makuei further said that when they saw Machar backing the 10 states they stopped the discussions.

“We told him that we are no longer ready to continue and the only thing we can do is to suspend the talks and go to inform the people about your position and the position of the government”.

He stressed that the government will accept whatever the people decide.

Accordingly, the information minister announced that they will go back to Juba to inform people and hold a consultation with them before to decide.

Also, he called on Machar to be ready to defend his position before the people of South Sudan.

UN Secretary-General on Saturday made a very strongly worded message to the South Sudanese leaders on Saturday as he called to end quarrelling on the critical issues and to end the suffering of South Sudanese.

“So, I have one with one simple message to the leaders of the country: think about your people. Respect your people”.

The parties have only 13 days before the end of the 100-day extension of the pre-transitional period as they have to form the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (R-TGoNU) on 22 February 2020.

In a statement on Sunday, the IGAD leaders said they agreed to the request of the President Salva Kiir Mayardit to conduct further consultations with his constituents and report back to the IGAD Chair on 15 February 2020.

The decision was taken after a meeting including, Presidents Salva Kiir, Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok of Sudan and Riek Machar SPLM-IO leader.

The South Sudanese government disclosed that IGAD heads of states and governments will meet in Juba “on/or before the 18th February 2020, for a final decision on the number and Boundaries of States”.

The Troika countries on Friday called on the peace parties to make the needed concessions on the sticky issues and stressed that the IGAD and the African Union meetings on South Sudan in Addis might be the last chance to get the process back on track before the deadline