SPLM/A-IO condemns surprising attack on its forces in Nasir by SSPDF

The main armed opposition group, SPLM/A-IO, has issued a statement condemning the recent attacks on its forces by the SSPDF forces in Kedbek, Nasir county.

“On Monday, 15h March, 2021, the SPLA-IO defensive position of Ketbek in Nasir surprisingly came under aggressive attack from some anti peace elements within the SSPDF base in Nasir. They burned down ketbek base to ashes making the SPLA-IO to tactically withdraw to Pananyang in respect of the R-ARCSS,” said Lam Paul Gabriel, SPLA-IO Deputy Military Spokesperson.

The opposition party strongly criticized the government forces for starting the violence at a time when the whole country is yearning for peace.

“The SPLA-IO is aware of the start of the clashes between the SSPDF and civilians in Koat on Sunday 14 March, 2021 where they also burnt civilian’s houses and destroyed other properties. The SPLA-IO would like to make it clear that its forces in Ketbek didn’t start or influenced the fight in Koat but wonders why its base was attacked and destroyed at this time when majority of the suffering South Sudanese want peace.”

The opposition lauded the top leadership of the SSPDF for pledging to bring perpetrators to account.

“The SPLA-IO acknowledged the effort from the SSPDF high command to bring those responsible for the violations in Ketbek to account; however, its calling upon the JDB, CTSAMVM and UNMISS to investigate this violation as mandated by the R-ARCSS.”

“The SPLA-IO remains committed to the implementation of the Security Arrangement and reserve the right to self defense when aggressed. LIBERATION 17MAR 2021 Col. Lam Paul Gabriel SPLA-IO Deputy Military.”

Machar accused of betraying Shilluk Kingdom, by colluding with land grabbers

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

The Upper Nile Youth Committee in the SPLM-IO has strongly condemned the recent agreement between Machar and ITGNU officials regarding the relocation and detachment of Makal County from Malakal town.

“On behalf of Upper Nile Youth Committee in SPLM(IO) and in my own behalf, we condemn and reject the detachment of Malakal town from Makal county in the strongest term possible. This happened yesterday on 12th March, 2021 after a meeting between H.E. Dr. Riak Machar Teny Dr. Elia Lomoro, Hon. Tut Gatluak and Hon. Obudhok Ayang. The resolution of their meeting was to detached of Makal county from its original headquarter Malakal town to Wau Collo,” the Committee noted in a statement.

The Youth Committee pointed out that the agreement reached by the leaders is unconstitutional and has no legal basis as it was done outside the constitution or the current peace agreement.

“This move was unconstitutional and lacks legal bases since no article or constitutional right to give them the power do so. Detachment of Malakal town from Makal county is a total violation to the Constitution of South Sudan and peace agreement since the agreement was based on 10 states. What happened yesterday was a betrayal to the cause of our struggle and also contrary to TBC report which clearly indicates Malakal town being part of the greater Makal county.”

“This is the act to jeopardize peace agreement. Malakal town as the capital of Makal county was established based on the former British colonial districts of 1956 and later was witnessed during the signing of the CPA which gave Collo Kingdom the ownership of the land by the late Dr. John Garage De Mabior the former Chairman and Commander in chief of SPLM/A based on the historical fact Therefore, Dr Riek Machar, Dr. Elia, Tut Gatluak and Obudhok Ayang have no power to detach Malakal town from Makal county without consulting the owners of the land.”

“Separating Municipality from county is an act of land grabbing and is just a political game trying to create confusion and division between the people of upper Nile since in other states Municipality and county capital exist in the same town for example Juba Municipality and Juba county headquarter are all located in Juba town.”

“Sacrifices made by the SPLA(IO) and Agwelek Forces to achieve a better South Sudan and defend their land cannot go in vain, no human power on this earth will be able to take Malakal ownership from Collo Kingdom.”

“Malakal will remain forever and ever the Land of Collo Kingdom no matter what. In conclusion, we call on our people to be optimistic since all historical documents prove the ownership of the land of Malakal belongs to the Collo People. Let us be hopeful and peace will prevail. Best wishes Sign,” said Omojok Obac, Chairman of the Upper Nile Youth Committee, SPLM-IO.

Shilluk representatives reject relocation of Makal County hqrts

Dr. Riek Machar Teny, Chairman of the SPLM-IO (Photo Credit: File)

Members of the Shilluk community have rejected the recent unilateral decision taken by the SPLM-IO and ITGNU to relocate the headquarters of Makal County to Wau Shilluk.

“We, the representatives of Makal County, met the first vice President Dr. Riek Machar, to register our deep concern about failed announcement of our County Commissioner. The meeting lasted about two hours at the end of which H.E. Dr. Riek expressed his satisfaction and assured us that the mistake involving failed announcement of the County Commissioner would be rectified sooner than later,” the group said in its statement.

“The decision relayed to the public by Dr. Martin Elia Lomoro in a press statement on Friday 12″ March following a meeting between Dr. Riek Machar, Hon. Tut Gatluak, the Presidential Advisor on Security, Dr. Martin Elia Lomoro, Hon. Budhoge Ayang Aney Kur, Governor of Upper Nile State and his Deputy Hon. James Tor Monybuny came to us not only as a surprise. but, indeed contrary to the spirit in which we discussed the matter with the First Vice President; if anything, the information we gave has been spined dishonestly to serve a hidden agenda.”

“The Establishment Order of Makal County contained in a message No. 003/10/2004 dated 16/10/2004 specifically mentions Malakal as its capital. This provision does not contradict the status of Malakal as a Municipality or a City as is the practice in Juba, which houses the capital of the Republic of South Sudan as well as the capital of Central Equatoria State, Juba County, Juba Payam, Juba Boma and the Juba City Council.”

On a positive note, the representatives applauded the opposition and the government for agreeing to change the name of their county from Ogod to Makal.

“Therefore, reverting back the name of our County to Makal from Ogod is appreciable. We, the people of Makal County, condemn divisions being created by the decision in Lelo Payam through the creation of the so-called Wurjwok Payam and Wau Payam.”

“We also reject, in the strongest possible terms, the attempts to separate Makal County from its capital in Malakal. We also reject the wrong practice of non citizens of a county taking major decisions without consultations with the indigenous people of a county.”

“The available State Laws ought to be followed. Malakal town, over the decades, peacefully accommodated our people until the surge of ethnic ideology in the wake of CPA implementation. Since 2005, it has been a thorny road of conflict, hatred, tears and bloodshed. It is our cherished hope that the R-ARCSS ushers a new spirit of peaceful coexistence, social harmony and unity among our people,” said Hon. Joseph Kwonyireth Deng Yieljak On behalf of Makal County Committee.

Machar orders caretaker governors to handover offices to newly appointed officials

South Sudan’s Vice-President and Chairman of the SPLM-IO, Dr. Riek Machar has directed all caretaker governors in the SPLM-IO-controlled Areas to step aside and allow the newly appointed leaders to take over with immediate effects.

“Reference to my message 001/7/2020 dated 23 February 2020, and 002/7/2020 dated 23 February 2020 now that governors, deputy governors and commissioners of Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (RTGONU) have been appointed all former SPLM/SPLA (IO) caretaker governors, deputy governors, and commissioners of SPLM/SPLA (IO) are hereby ordered to step down and to hand over to senior civil servants in the areas and executive directors in the counties,” the statement issued by the First Vice-President Dr. Riek Machar partly reads.

The opposition leader ordered executive directors in the counties to take charge of security until the newly appointed commissioners report to their respective areas in the next few days.

“Until when the commissioners report to their stations, the Executive Directors,” ordered the First Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar Teny.

Last year, the main opposition group, SPLM-IO, canceled its 21 states to reciprocate President Kiir’s decision for revert the country to its previous 10 states.

Open Letter 1 to citizens–The Status of Peace Implementation: SSCSF

1) Introduction

Dear fellow citizens,

The South Sudan Civil Society Forum (SSCSF) writes to you following the eve of the first anniversary of the Transitional Period of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS).

“This letter aims to update you on what is happening with the implementation of the 2018 Peace Agreement.”

SSCSF, with a nation-wide membership of over 200 diverse and independent civil society organizations and individual activists, has represented you in the peace process right from the High Level Revitalization Forum (HLRF) and now in the implementation mechanisms of the R-ARCSS.

The Forum held numerous consultations throughout the country, engaged in radio talk shows, social media and channelled your voices to various institutions of the agreement. It is therefore obligatory for SSCSF to report to you the status of implementation of the R-ARCSS, one year into the Transitional Period and about 29 months since the signing of the Agreement.

The purpose of this letter is to inform you about prospects for peace in our country through the implementation of the 2018 Agreement by the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (RTGoNU) and its constituent parties. This letter also intends to draw your attention to active citizenry in pursuit of lasting peace in the country.

  1. Missed Opportunities during the Transitional Period

Fellow Citizens, the R-ARCSS is a framework for peace in South Sudan. It was agreed upon by parties to the conflict and endorsed by stakeholders including faith-based leaders, civil society, academia, women, youth, business community and eminent persons.

If implemented on time, the Agreement would have established and strengthened the government to deliver on its core mandate of protecting us, our property and our country. Public institutions at all levels of government would have been reformed and strengthened to deliver social services to South Sudanese. It would have also allowed internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees to return home voluntarily, in safe and dignified manner.

Through transitional justice processes in the Agreement, families and individuals offended and aggrieved during the conflict would have gotten an opportunity to seek justice. We would have also engaged in a process of truth, reconciliation and healing to overcome the pains of the past and unite across our diversities to build a peaceful, just and prosperous South Sudan.

True implementation of the peace agreement would have enabled us to write a new constitution and prepare for democratic elections to elect leaders of our choice at all levels of government in our country.

  1. Status of implementation of the R-ARCSS

Fellow citizens, we regret to inform you that progress made in the implementation of the peace agreement, over the last one year of the Transitional Period, has been very limited and mainly elitebased and Juba-centric. We are disheartened at the extent to which the Agreement has failed to offer you anything tangible so far, whether peace or peace dividends.

The parties formed the executive of the national government, appointed state governors, and allocated responsibilities (positions) among themselves for state and local government institutions. The national executive of RTGoNU was structured into five ministerial thematic clusters, each headed by a Vice President. Despite the disruptions related to COVID-19 pandemic, these institutions including the Council of Ministers have been operational.

After one year of delays, the parties to the Agreement have started reconstituting state governments. By the time of writing this letter, appointments were made for officials in the executive arm of Central Equatoria, Warrap, Northern Bahr el Ghazal, Unity, Western Bahr el Ghazal Jonglei and Western Equatoria state governments.

A National Constitutional Amendment Committee (NCAC) reviewed several laws and drafted them into bills for enactment. These legislative bills were submitted to the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs for presentation to the Council of Ministers and subsequently to the parliament for enactment, as part of numerous reforms envisaged in the R-ARCSS.

Fellow Citizens, the remaining provisions of the Agreement which are crucial to our lives have not been implemented over the last one year of the Transitional Period.

The 2018 Agreement provided for restoration of permanent and sustainable peace, security and stability in our country envisaged through training, graduation and deployment of national unified forces to take charge of security. Sadly, there is little progress to report on this front.

During our visits to the unified training centers, we confirmed that the training was supposed to last for sixty day. However, the trainees have been in the training centers for over fourteen months and there is no clarity on when they would be graduated and deployed.

A comprehensive national plan to facilitate and support repatriation, rehabilitation and resettlement of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and returnees in a voluntary and dignified manner has not been developed. Lack of plans by the government, looming insecurity and poor services continue to discourage IDPS and refugees from returning home.

Reconciliation and healing of our society, especially through transitional justice mechanisms of the Agreement did not move an inch in the whole first year of the Transitional Period.

We should have been engaging in writing a permanent constitution for our country to address unsettled matters of governance, wealth sharing and elections. This too has not formally commenced.

Radical reforms and transformation in public financial management systems to promote transparency and accountability in the utilization of our national resources have not been accomplished. Commitments in the Agreement for much needed reforms, restructuring and transformation in the civil service, security sector, judicial and electoral systems have not been meaningfully realized.

The commitment to devolve powers and resources to state and local government levels, closer to us throughout the country, still remains only on paper.

The Agreement provides for representation of women by at least 35% in constitutional posts. Unfortunately, out of 264 officials so far appointed in governments of seven states, only 33 (12.5%) are women. At the national level, this 35% was not also met and the former Incumbent Transitional Government of National Unity (ITGoNU), dominated by Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) is the main party that consistently undermined this commitment of the Agreement.

  1. Effects of slow implementation
    Fellow Citizens, in the slow and selective implementation of the agreement, the one year-old RTGoNU has done very little to develop sufficient administrative, institutional, systemic and security capacities to effectively govern the country and address the multiple challenges facing South Sudanese.

Security situation

The country is beginning to lose the gains made in implementation of the Transitional Security Arrangements (TSAs). Reports by the monitoring mechanisms of the Agreement – the Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation (RJMEC) and the Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements, Monitoring and Verification Mechanism (CTSAMVM) indicate that forces assembled in both cantonment sites and training centers have been deserting those facilities due to unbearable living conditions and wilful neglect by the parties to the agreement.

Within the last one year of the Transitional Period, the parties have been accepting and even promoting on the national television, the defections of forces who are supposed to be unified within the framework of the Agreement. The defections amounts to recruitment, hence violating commitment of the parties in Article 2.1.8 of the Agreement, to cease recruitment of forces. Acceptance and promotion of defectors on the national television also amounts to violation of commitment under Article to refrain from offensive, provocative or retaliatory actions such as dissemination of hostile propaganda, recruitment, mobilization, redeployment and movement of forces.

In Moroto unified training center, these defections resulted in serious fighting among forces affiliated to the SPLM/A-IO and defectors allied to ITGoNU, especially in September and November of 2020, undermining Agreement commitments to cessation of hostilities. The fighting also resulted in loss of lives of our fellow citizens, some of whom were your close relatives.

At the community levels, inability of the RTGoNU to provide adequate administrative controls and security to civilians gave way for numerous armed violence that resulted in destruction of lives, property and villages; abduction of women and children, raping of women and girls; displacements of populations and disruption of means of livelihoods of our populations. In our interactions with many of our fellow citizens, especially in the affected areas around the country, they reported living in fear and not having seen the “Juba-based” Agreement helping to improve their conditions.

Fellow Citizens, instead of using the provisions contained in the agreement to address major security issues affecting the country, RTGoNU relies on ad-hoc interventions of holding political, elite-level and Juba-based dialogues. While doing so, conflicting groups in the communities and villages continue with the menace. Moreover, the dialogues are concluded only at closing ceremonies and their outcomes are never seriously implemented.

Meanwhile, the United Nations has found evidence that senior army and elite politicians are providing weapons to communities . The country is yet to witness any action by the RTGoNU to hold to account individuals or groups responsible for the flow of combat grade weapons to civilians involved in killings, cattle theft, abductions of women and children and destruction of villages.

While the forces under unification desert cantonment and training centers, civilians roam the villages, so armed and powerful that local government authorities and available government security cannot manage to contain them. In some parts of the country, for example Tonj East County of Warrap State, selective and poorly planned disarmament of civilians resulted in more violence and loss of lives; leaving heavily armed civilians in control of villages.

We are repeatedly told by the parties that our country has no resources to fund the implementation of the agreement, especially the security arrangements. However, we see hotels in Juba demanding millions of dollars of our national resources in accommodation bills from the RTGoNU. We equally witness heavy spending of our national resources on very expensive luxurious vehicles. With priorities, these resources would have helped in the implementation of many aspects of the Agreement.

Economy situation

Fellow Citizens, we measure progress in the R-ARCSS not by elite- and Juba-based activities but by the level of improvements the Agreement brings to your living conditions in your respective locations. Generally, the economic situation has continued to worsen since the signing of the Agreement and particularly over the last one year of the Transitional Period.

By the time Agreement was signed in September 2018, the exchange rate of South Sudanese Pounds (SSP) against the United States dollar was about $1 to 200SSP in the parallel market, today $1 equals to 340SSP. And it has further plunged to $1 equals 650SSP, raising market prices on goods and services far above the reach of ordinary citizens who are not usually paid salaries for months.

These difficult economic conditions cause some institutions of the RTGoNU to improvise means to extort money from the already struggling citizens. For example, many illegal roadblocks are set up along major roads in the country to illegally extort money from travellers and businesses. In Juba city, driving licences and logbooks are routinely confiscated from drivers, especially female drivers and boda-boda riders and they are charged to pay thousands of pounds, in most cases without receipts. This happens in complete disregard for the economic situation citizens face.

Humanitarian situation

Current statistics on humanitarian situation indicates that over 8 million of our citizens, including 4.3 million children are in need of multi-sectoral humanitarian assistance; 4 million remain displaced including 1.6 million IDPs and 2 million refugees in the region . The statistics further reveal that 1.3 million children are at risk of acute malnutrition, 3.3 million people lack essential health care services, 5.2 million people lack access to safe clean drinking water and 3.1 million children can miss basic education in this year alone. This statistics puts our humanitarian crisis among the worst in the world. Evidently, the Agreement is not being implemented to robustly address these multiple humanitarian crisis in the country.

Political situation

Fellow Citizens, there is no clear political agenda and direction for our country. The R-ARCSS as a political program, is not being responsibly implemented. A complimentary solution was sought through the South Sudan National Dialogue, from December 2016 to November 2020. Substantial amounts of resources were invested from national and foreign sources and many of you participated in this National Dialogue at different levels – grassroots consultations, regional conferences and national conference. This too is now being abandoned with no commitments to implement its outcomes. Further still, the vision of the struggle for the liberation and independence of our country “…for justice, freedom, equality, human dignity and political and economic emancipation ” should have been the foundation of our country’s governance. But again, our leaders have abandoned that vision too.

On the political land scape, there is clearly no difference between parties that have been in government and those supposedly fighting for fundamental reforms in our country. We engage with all the parties directly and in the oversight and implementation mechanisms of the agreement and we can report to you with certainty that the calls for reforms no longer feature prominently anywhere in the discussions of the leaders of our country.

As South Sudan remains politically weak, it becomes increasingly vulnerable to aggressive encroachment on our sovereign territories by some neighbouring countries. This is another potential source of future crisis in the country.

  1. Our Conclusions

Fellow Citizens, from our analysis of the situation, we have reached a conclusion on the following important issues:

(1) Economic, security, political and humanitarian situations in our country continue to worsen, imposing unbearable suffering on the population over the past one year of the Transitional Period. There is no predictable indication showing that the situation will change for the better any time soon, under current conditions of the peace implementation.

(2) The bloodshed and the suffering of the people as a result of the deteriorating security, economic and humanitarian situations in the country are likely to worsen unless the government takes urgent and responsible measures as outlined in the Agreement and also in the Resolutions of the National Dialogue, to restore sustainable peace, security and stability in the country.

(3) The people of South Sudan have used the agreement, the National Dialogue and other peaceful means at their disposal to repeatedly remind the parties and the government to improve the situation in our country, but nothing significant has changed. The region and the international community who sympathize with our conditions have equally called on the parties to implement the agreement, but the parties remain selective, slow and inconsistent in implementing the peace agreement.

(4) Our participation in the agreement as your representative voice only makes sense as long as the implementation of the agreement is carried out in a manner that improves the security, economic, humanitarian and human rights situations for you; and ultimately unite our country and put an end to the bloodshed. We contend that we cannot be an endorsement to the continuous extension of your suffering, the destruction and mismanagement of our national resources through willful inconsistencies in the implementation of the peace agreement. To that end Fellow Citizens, we will reconsider our participation in the oversight and implementation mechanisms of the Agreement.

(5) Given this situation in the country, we invite you, Fellow Citizens, to do your part and play an active citizenry role towards ending the persistent suffering and continuous bloodshed in our country. Specifically, we call on you to:

5.1 Demand of the government and its constituent parties, full implementation of the Agreement and measures that would restore stability in your respective localities.

5.2 Take charge of peacebuilding in your respective communities including holding dialogues to resolve any disputes and normalize relations.

5.3 Identify, disown, name and shame perpetrators of violence in the community and use appropriate mechanisms at the community, state or national levels to stop them perpetuating further violence and destabilization.

Taban-led group to announce new move if sidelined again from next appointments

Vice-President for Infrastructure Cluster General Taban Deng Gai | Photo: File

A government-allied group led by Vice President Taban Deng Gai is reportedly planning to announce a new move if it’s to be sidelined again from upcoming appointments at the states levels, according to two senior officials who spoke to Thessherald on condition of anonymity.

“We’ll see what to do next if the government fails to meet our demands as per our recent request to the President’s office,” said a senior government official allied to the Vice-President for Infrastructure Cluster, Gen. Taban Deng Gai.

Last week, representatives and former lawmakers of the now-defunct R-TGoNU sent a protest letter to President Salva Kiir Mayardit, calling for fair and transparent appointments of state officials in pending states.

“Your Excellency issued Decree No:11, 12, 13, 14 on 20h and 22 February 2021 establishing the State Government of Central Equatoria, Northern Bhar el Gazal, Unity and Warrap States respectively. We are indeed deeply shocked and dismayed because the Decree omitted the nominees of the former SPLM/A-IO led by Gen. Taban Deng Gai despite the fact that we are part of ITGONU as clearly stipulated in Article 1.3.1 of the R- ARCSS 2018. 2. Our serious fear is that if the bad development in these states is copied by the other states, then our group will be completely excluded from participation in the State and local governments in the country.

We are also deeply concerned with the proposal of the acting Secretary General of SPLM which was submitted to you concerning the expansion and reconstitution of the National Legislature,

Her proposal allocates:

• 165 seats for those elected to Juba NLA in 2010 to be maintained.

• 91 seats for those elected to the Legislative Assembly in Khartoum in 2010 to be maintained.

• 47 Presidential appointees to the NLA in 2011 to be maintained.

Thus the total number of seats for the SPLM alone will be 303 out of 332 leaving only 29 seats for the other parties in ITGONU.

Furthermore out of the 29 seats, ten will be allocated to some elected members in 2010 leaving only 19 seats for those who were appointed in 2016. If her formula is followed, it means that the majority of the 68 Presidential appointees in 2016 as a result of the 2015 ARCSS will have been excluded.”

Nhial accused of lying to the public about TNLA reconstitution

Members of the opposition and critics have taken to social media, accusing Nhial Deng Nhial of lying about the reconstitution of the Transitional National Legislative Assembly which was supposed to be finalized on February 15, according to his previous press release issued earlier this month.

“Just imagine, one could lie to more than 12.8 people by issuing a fake press release and get away with it,” said Kalany Mamuon a fierce government critic and a member of the SPLM-IO.

“This is an absolutely irresponsible government that doesn’t live up to its promises and commitment,” said another social media user identified as John Maduk Deng.

Earlier this month, the Minister of Presidential Affairs, Hon. Nhial Deng Nhial issued a statement reassuring the public that the implementation of the Peace Agreement remains on the right track and that the reconstitution of the Transitional National Legislative Assembly would be finalized before or on February 15th. However, the aforementioned deadline has been missed.

“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,” Nhial declared in a statement dated February 3, 2021.

Since last year, the parties have come under increasing pressure from peace monitors and the international community to speed up implementation of the peace agreement.

Some of the critical outstanding provisions of the agreement include:

• Reconstitution of the Reconstituted Transitional National Legislative Assembly (R-TNA).

• Graduation of the Necessary Unified Forces, currently undergoing training at various military training centers.

• Establishments of the African Union Hybrid Court for South Sudan.

• And the establishment of the Reconstituted National Constitution and Amendment Committee, a mechanism charged with overseeing and incorporating the R-ARCSS into the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan (TCRSS) 2011.

Gen. Olony refuses to take $2m in bribes from Kiir’s delegation

Johnson Olony Thambo |Photo : Via Facebook

A senior opposition official, General Johnson Olony Thambo, has reportedly refused to take a whopping $2 million in bribes from the Kiir administration.

According to a source in the SPLM-IO, the government delegation led by the Presidential Advisor on Security Affairs, Tut Gatluak Manime, tried to bribe Johnson and his team, but their attempts were unsuccessful.

“They tried to offer him $2 million of bribes, unfortunately, the opposition members [referring to Johnson Olony and this group] declined to take that money,” said a reliable source interviewed on Tuesday by the Thessherald.

On Monday, the South Sudanese officials returned to Juba after a short visit to Khartoum, where they met through the back door, with the SPLM-IO members in hopes of persuading them.

Awut considers P8 students in rebel-held areas as her “children”

Minister of Education Awut Deng Acuil |Photo: File

Education Minister Awut Deng Acuil describes students who had missed out on the initial Primary Eight Leaving Examinations as her “children”, and wishes them good luck in their national exams expected on Monday, February 15th.

“It is my pleasure to inform the nation that the Ministry of General Education and Instruction and the National Examinations Council have decided to fix new dates for the conduct of Primary eight examinations for the pupils that had missed out on the initial examination,” said the Minister of Education, Awut Deng Acuil.

“Congratulation to my children and I wish them the best of luck,” she said.

This comes after the concerned authorities in the unity government agreed on Thursday to set a new date for more than 800 hundred students who were unable to take their primary exams due to security concerns raised by the Ministry of Education.

Earlier this month, Awut banned students in the SPLM-IO-administered areas from taking their primary examinations over unresolved security matters.

“It is important for me to underscore that in this year 2020/2021 examination cycle, a lot of strict security measures have been devised and put in place to curb malpractices in examinations and to ensure the security of the examinations, examinees, and examiners,” Awut said.

“In the absence of both the police and security, nothing can guarantee the security and integrity of the examinations, and thus such areas shall be regarded as no-exams zones,” the education minister said.

“Given this brief backdrop, the South Sudan National Examination Council and the Ministry of General Education and instruction have been alerted of possible examination security threats in most of the SPLA/IO bases in parts of Jonglei and Upper Nile States,” Minister Awut explained.

“Case in point is the recent detention of staff belonging to an agent contracted by the National Ministry of General Education and Instruction to pay teachers’ incentives in Nyiror in Jonglei State. To date, the money is not yet recovered although the agents were later released.”

Kiir finally dissolves TNLA ahead of formation of new Parliament

South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir Mayardit, in a presidential decree, has dissolved members of Parliament ahead of the establishment of the new R-TNA slated to be formed next week.

Earlier this week, the Presidency held a high-level meeting and agreed to speed up the formation of the Reconstituted Transitional National Legislative Assembly that has long been overdue.

“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,” the Presidency declared a statement.

Kiir has been accused by members of the opposition of dragging his feet on the implementation of the peace agreement by reluctantly refusing to dissolve the old Parliament of the now-defunct 32 states.

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