“More announcements are underway” Kiir urges citizens to remain hopeful

Delivering a speech on New Year’s Eve, President Salva Kiir Mayardit, has urged the people of South Sudan to remain optimistic as the Parties are close to finalizing the pending issues and make announcements in the next few days.

“Fellow citizens, as we are approaching the year 2021, I would like to convey my new year wishes from Juba to all of you across the country.”

“As I mentioned in my Christmas message, 2020 has been a difficult year. We were affected by COVID-19 pandemic, which continues to take human lives and exacted economic toll both in our country and across the globe. Our situation has also been worsened by floods, which have deströyed livelihood of thousands of people in our country,” said Kiir a statement seen by Thessherald.

“We announced deputy governors yesterday and more announcements are imminent,” said President Kiir in his New Year’s message to the people of South Sudan.

On a positive note, Kiir stressed that the current peace agreement is the only viable way to restore peace to the country.

“For this milestone, I would like to congratulate the parties and urge them to use this momentum to quicken the pace of the implementation of the remaining chapters of the agreement. This is because the revitalized peace agreement is the framework for returning our country to permanent stability, and we have no choice other than to implement it faithfully.”

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.

Machar backs down on General Olony’s appointment

Opposition leader Dr. Riek Machar |Photo: File

Nov 29, 2020 (Thessherald)–The leadership of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-IO (SPLM-IO) has backed away from the long-awaited appointment of Gen. Johnson Olony, noting that it will press ahead with the formation of other states governments, except for Upper Nile.

“The SPLM/SPLA (IO) Leadership meeting in Juba has resolved and agreed that nine states governments should be formed, including counties administrations across the country,” said the Office of the Vice-President.

Adding that, “Its lists shall be submitted for the appointments, except for Upper Nile state. Upper Nile state will wait until its governor is appointed.”

The opposition group resolved that the Reconstituted Transitional National Legislative Assembly should be formed as a matter of urgency in accordance with the provisions of the peace agreement.

“The national legislature should be reconstituted.”

The SPLM-IO agreed to be part of the ongoing peace talks currently underway between the government and the South Sudan Movements Alliance (SSOMA) brokered by the Community of Sant’Egidio in Rome.

“The SPLM-IO recommits to the Rome Initiative and will have its team in the R-TGONU delegation traveling to Rome for talks with SSOMA.”

CES Governor slaps ban on illegal FX trading in Juba

Unidentified Forex Exchange dealer counts his MONEY (SSP) in Juba |Photo:File

October 18, 2020 (Thessherald)–In the face of the current economic crisis, the Governor of Central Equatoria State, Emmanuel Adil Anthony, has imposed a strict ban on all forms of illegal forex exchange trading (FX) in Juba, with immediate effect.

In a Gubernatorial Order dated October 16, 2020 AD, the Governor had instructed law enforcement agencies to enforce the order accordingly.

“Govermment of Central Equatoria State Gubernatorial Order No.14/2020 to Ban Operation of illegal Dealers in Foreign Currency in Central Equatoria State, 2020 AD Title and Commencement This Order shall be cited as Gubernatorial Order No.14/2020 for banning operation of illegal dealers in foreign currency in Central Equatoria State and shall come into force on the date of its signature by the Governor.”

“The Order In exercise of powers conferred upon me by the Republican Decree No. 51/2020, read together with Article 99(2)(L) of Transitional Constitution of Central Equatoria State, 2012 (as amended). 1, Emmanuel Adil Anthony Wani, Governor of Central Equatoria State do hereby issue this Gubernatorial Order for banning operation of illegal dealers in foreign currency in Central Equatoria State with effect from the day of issuing this order as hereunder.”

The state government issued the following orders which must be strictly adhered to.

1. Banning operation of all illegal dealers in foreign currency who are operating without authorization from concerned authorities.

2. These illegal dealers comprise those operating alongside roads, or inside shops with no license of operation.

3. Anybody who violates this Order shall be punished according to Councils by-Laws.

4. All Law Enforcement Agencies concerned are directed to implement this order with immediate effect.

South Sudan continues to face a dire humanitarian crisis and economic collapse as a direct result of the conflict that has driven millions of people from their homes.

Regional experts and economists believe that if the parties make significant progress in implementing the peace deal in good faith, it could certainly lead to a positive economic outlook.

Opinion | On the Sacking of Minister of Finance : Mabior

Salvatore Garang Mabior former Minister of Finance and Economic Planning | Photo:File

Opinion | By Mabior Garang

Sept 18, 2020 (Thessherald)–This is what I meant by “being set up to fail”. It is not only the Minister of Finance who faces this mischief, it is any Minister. It is a tactic used by the presidency to confuse the public and it is working brilliantly.

Half of the country is happy and congratulating the President for his wisdom, while the other half is sulking and hurling insults. If we had a basic understanding of how our government was designed to work, we might see the deception.

The government is supposed to be implementing – apart from the Agreement – South Sudan Vision 2040, based on the Millennium Development Goals.
It is the government’s road map for development and each Ministry has a Development Master Plan. No Minister comes with his/her own project proposals and budgets from their private homes. Rather, the civil servants in the Ministries are the custodians of the institutional memory of their respective Ministries.

In addition to the above, the Central Bank has no reserves and there is no legal legislative body in the country. This means that Ministries have no budgets. The civil servants have not been paid salaries in months. This failure has nothing to do with individual Ministers, it is systemic. They are set up to fail and are then used as scapegoats.

It is a gimmick intended to draw attention away from the real problem. The regime will buy time with this sacking. The congratulatory messages have started pouring in, not to mention the ones for the incoming Minister. It will be a while before attention is brought back to the failure and the cycle will continue.

If the Minister of Finance was serious about his job, he should not have accepted the position. Without the implementation of Chapter IV., Resource, Economic and Financial Management, he was being “set up to fail”. It is the reason I resigned when I realized that the security Arrangements would not be implemented. I was “being
set up to fail”.

I would have been sacked and the current insecurity in the country would have been blamed on me. The intellectual mercenaries of the intolerable status quo would have been deployed to make noise on all social media platforms.

The Agreement is the only solution to the problems of state failure in our country. The eight (8) chapters of the Agreement deal with radical reforms which – if implemented – will ensure our nascent Republic has the necessary foundations to build a state.

If the Minister of Finance is responsible for the economic meltdown and the reason our national coffers are empty, why is he not prosecuted? The sacking of this and that Minister will not solve the problem; the solution is the full implementation of the Agreement.

The politicians have implemented part of Chapter I., Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (R-
TGONU). The mandate of this government is clearly spelled out in Chapter 1.1.1., basically to implement the Agreement.

The implementation of Chapter II., Permanent Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements, will create the conducive environment for our civil population to access the means of production. It is only through production, may our civil population be able to evolve a viable economy.

The sacking of Ministers has been tried since 2013 and it has not worked, it is time to try new things. I encourage all our citizens to read Chapter IV of the Agreement which deals with how to salvage our economy.

The author is a senior member of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-IO and former Deputy Interior Minister in the R-TGONU.

R-ARCSS: Two years on, by Dr. Lam Akol Ajawin


Dr. Lam Akol Dr Lam Akol Ajawin is the Chairman of Sudan People's Liberation Movement - Democratic Change | Photo: File

Dr. Lam Akol Dr Lam Akol Ajawin is the Chairman of Sudan People’s Liberation Movement – Democratic Change | Photo: File

September 13, 2020 (Thessherald)–Opinion | Two years ago this day the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS) was signed in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The war weary South Sudanese hinged a lot of hopes on the implementation of the agreement. It was hoped that peace would prevail and insecurity brought under control so that the citizens could go about with their normal business unperturbed.

The agreement addressed the malaise in the body politic of South Sudan and attempted to put forward a programme that, if implemented faithfully, would pave the way for reforms and a level field for political discourse. Indeed, it was a joint minimum programme to run the country for three years of another transition. Two years on what has the R-ARCSS achieved?

To begin with, the Parties to the Agreement deserve a pat on the back for having observed the permanent ceasefire all over the areas of their control. Apart from skirmishes here and there, overall the ceasefire held. The active and sustained fighting currently raging has nothing to do with the Parties to the Agreement directly.

The fighting is due either to the engagements between the forces of the holdout National Salvation Front and the government forces in Central Equatoria, or as a result of inter and intra communal fighting among armed citizens, mostly between themselves and sometimes with the government troops. Most of such fighting is taking place in Gogrial, Rumbek, Tonj , Jonglei State and a few days ago, between the Twic of Warrap State and Bul of Unity State. However, security is indivisible and therefore the Parties must work around the clock to ensure that the guns are silent all over the country.

But that seems to be about the only achievement the Parties to the Agreement can take comfort in. Had the implementation gone on according to schedule, we would have by now been into the permanent constitution-making process and left with only three (3) months to table the Constitutional Bill before the Reconstituted Transitional National Legislature for adoption. We would also have been left with only ten (10) months to dissolve the same parliament and begin the election campaign. Well, as things stand today, we don’t even have a reconstituted and expanded Transitional National Legislative Assembly and a reconstituted Council of States, both of which form the Transitional National Legislature. Nor do we have a Constitution that incorporates the Peace Agreement as demanded by R-ARCSS. In other words, the last six months or so of the Transitional Period were being run in accordance with the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan 2011 (TCRSS 2011) as amended prior to the conclusion of the Peace Agreement.

This is a fundamental deviation from the letter and spirit of the R-ARCSS. Little wonder the TNLA soldiers on despite IGAD’s repeated resolutions demanding its dissolution. The Constitution is the supreme law of the land and guides the functioning of all institutions of the state. Hence, it must be the first instrument of the Agreement to be put in place before anything else. Otherwise, what would be the reference in case of conflict of powers between the three levels of governance (national, State and local government) or the three arms of the government (Executive, Legislature and Judiciary)?

The next most important area of concern is the security sector. Any peace agreement after a civil war is as good as the security arrangements that constitute part of it. This is why there was insistence during the peace talks to get into the Transitional Period with one unified army and other uniformed forces. That was the only way to guarantee a genuinely sustainable peace. The choice of eight (8) months for the length of the Pre-Transitional Period was based on a technical calculation that this was the time needed for the Opposition forces and the Government troops to be integrated into new unified forces that will win the trust of all citizens in the country. It was clear from the beginning that it was the incumbent government to foot the bill for all the activities taking place during the Pre-Transitional Period which were mainly concerned with the processes involved to lead to the formation of unified forces that would be deployed before the commencement of the Transitional Period.

However, the incumbent government was not up to the expectations. Not enough funds were availed to the implementation mechanisms to carry out their tasks causing the extension of the Pre-Transitional Period twice ending up as 17 months and 10 days instead of 8 months as was originally planned. At the end of that long period, there was a rush and it was decided that the forces move to the training centres and activities that were to take place at cantonment sites (registration, screening, DDR, etc.) to be done there.

This decision allowed non-eligible individuals to join training including new recruits, and pregnant and lactating women. Thus, the original purpose of targeting seasoned soldiers was defeated. Add to that the lack of rations and medicine which forced many to desert the training centres. Therefore, even if things don’t deteriorate from where they are now, it is hardly conceivable that the final product from these training centres will be anything near to the lofty idea of Necessary Unified Forces (NUF).

On the political level, the implementation has been sluggish. There continues to be a trust deficit between the Parties to the Agreement. The SPLM-IG is bent on getting more dominance than what it got in the agreement, thus it adopted a policy of suborning some opposition groups and excluding those that express opinions different from theirs. More disturbing is extending that heavy handedness to the military. Why recruit from the military when eventually they all will be one army regardless to which Party they belong at the moment?

Today, almost seven (7) months into the Transitional Period, the Parties are still negotiating the formation of the States’ governments! It took four (4) months (from February to 17 June) to agree on the allocation of States’ governors to the Parties and one of them, the Other Political Parties (OPP), was robbed of its share of a State governor. The current negotiation on allocation of positions on the governments in the States has been going on and off for more than two (2) months. While these negotiations for positions are going on, the activities that should have been implemented during the first six months of the Transitional Period have been put on hold. These include reforms of institutions of government, economic activities, the Hybrid Court for South Sudan, the permanent Constitution making process and humanitarian work. As the author has pointed out in his letter to the Parties on 17 August, these delays will certainly cause pushing the subsequent activities beyond their timelines, especially the conduct of the general elections on time.

The actual implementation of the provisions of the agreements is wanting. For instance, the appointments of the leadership of the Bank of South Sudan and Undersecretaries of Petroleum and Health ministries were clearly in contravention of R-ARCSS. So were the appointments of the Board of Directors of the Nile Petroleum Corporation and the Director of the Telecommunication Corporation before the Parties could agree who nominates to which corporation as stipulated in the Peace Agreement. Furthermore, the failure to appoint the Governor of Upper Nile State is another clear example of how R-ARCSS means different things to different Parties. Parties must read from the same text and should adhere to R-ARCSS.

Recently, the civil society network published their findings on the perception of the citizens regarding the implementation of R-ARCSS. They were not impressed by the progress being made. This should serve as a wake-up call for all of us involved in the implementation of the agreement.

Two years on, very little has been achieved in the implementation process. It is a dismal record. However, the South Sudanese should continue to prod their leaders into action. We must insist that R-ARCSS be implemented in letter (the ‘spirit’ is being abused by some to mean overlooking the text!). If implemented faithfully, it provides a good basis for consolidating peace, reforming institutions of government and ushering in a democratic era where the South Sudanese will get the first opportunity since independence to elect their leaders.

Thanks for the insight. The reality is, all tenets of the agreement cannot be achieved no matter the timeframe is extended. I suggest that using the current piece of peace, the transition government and all stakeholders now concentrate on the establishment of a democratically elected government in the next one year ahead.
May a government established by the people’s mandate would feel more obliged to account to it’s people than the current one.

The author is Chairman of The National Democratic Movement, NDM.

Newsflash: Mabior resigns as Deputy Minister of Interior in R-TGNU

H.E. Dr. Riek Machar Teny, The First Vice President, Republic of South Sudan, Juba | June 3, 2020.

Mabior Garang De Mabior, Chairperson – National Committee for Information and Public Relations
SPLM/SPLA (IO) during an interview with Radio Miraya |Photo: Radio Miraya

Official Resignation Letter

June 4, 2020 (Thessherald)–Your Excellency, Please accept this letter as my formal resignation from the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (R-TGoNU). I appreciate the trust and confidence Your Excellency expressed by appointing me to such a crucial position. However, it has become abundantly clear that our partners in peace – the SPLM/SPLA (IG) – have no intention of implementing the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS), the only way we can restore some semblance of sanity to our nascent Republic.

As Your Excellency is aware, I am among the many SPLM/SPLA (IO) cadres who have been suspicious of the intentions of a regime which insists on implementing the Agreement without security arrangements. I personally protested and brought it to Your Excellency’s attention that I could not put my hand on the Bible and swear on a lie – an illegitimate R-TGONU – and so I declined to participate in it. I finally grudgingly accepted after Your Excellency attempted to convince me that it was for the sake of “peace”. In addition to your counsel, I was pressured by a cross section of our civil population and so I agreed to join the so-called Unity Government for the sake of peace and gave the condition that if we had not started implementing the Agreement after more than three months, I would resign.

Your Excellency,

The security situation in the country has worsened; there is intercommunal violence in the three historical regions of Bhar-el-Gazal, Equatoria and Upper Nile, as well as in the three new administrative areas of Abyei, Greater Pibor and Rweng. This insecurity is directly related to our dismal failure to implement the security arrangements which should have been implemented in the pre-transitional period – it should have been the priority. I need not go into the mischief of that period , it is now history. It is neither the mandate of Mama Angelina (Minister of Defence) nor myself (Deputy Minister of Interior) as individuals to “bring security”, as it were. That is mischief! The R-TGONU cabinet should have been formed after the implementation of the security arrangements which include the demilitarization of all major towns and civilian centres, disarmament of civilians and most importantly, the unification of forces. This has not been done. Consequently, we continue to suffer from the horrors of war – even in Juba – despite the pious proclamations coming out of the Presidency.

As if all the mischief is not enough, we are facing a global pandemic. I personally started self-isolating in early March since I am at risk due to my pre-existing condition, which is well known to the Public. I was still willing to work from home had the R-TGONU been serious about the welfare and prosperity of our people. In this vein, I wrote letters to my Minister, to Your Excellency and to the President through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In the letters, I requested to offer a proposal for a robust national response to the Covid-19 pandemic in our country – Pro bono publico – but I got no response. It is unfathomable for the Presidency not to call for an emergency meeting after 108 cases of Covid.19 were reported in one day. .

Your Excellency,

The reason we endorsed all the compromises Your Excellency made with President Salva Kiir was in the name of peace and ending the immense suffering of our peoples. Instead, our civil population has been rewarded with more death. I cannot continue to pretend that peace is being implemented. I do not blame the political leadership of the Movement; we had limited options under the intense international diplomatic pressure mobilized against us by the regime. However, the writing is now on the wall. This resignation is only from my appointment as the Deputy Minister of Interior and not as a member of the SPLM/SPLA (IO) Polit-bureau – Chairperson for Information and Public Relations.

I shall remain a member of our peoples’ struggle until we achieve our objective of bringing about fundamental change in our country. I shall be ready for any other project – which promotes the welfare and prosperity of our civil population – assigned to me by the peoples’ Movement, andshall continue to serve with the countless committed cadres who where not appointed to any constitutional position.

Yours in the struggle,

Cpt. Mabior Garang de Mabior
Chairperson – National Committee for Information and Public Relations

UNHCR South Sudan commends Government’s effort to preserve access to asylum

UNHCR-South Sudan, Press Statement 
An asylum-seeker receiving a set of blankets and other NFIs from a UNHCR staff /Picture: UNHCR

May 8, 2020 (Thessherald)–The UN Refugee Agency in South Sudan commends the Transitional Government of National Unity for continuing to welcome people seeking refuge from the Democratic Republic of Congo and stands in solidarity with the South Sudanese government.

UNHCR commends the Transitional Government of National Unity for its continued generosity to allow people fleeing recent violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to seek refuge in South Sudan, despite the current movement restrictions to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. This is the first reported official cross-border movement from a neighboring country since South Sudan’s borders were closed in late March 2020 in order to curb the spread of the new virus. South Sudan’s actions are an example of how COVID-19 preventative measures can be managed while still allowing people fleeing in fear of their lives to seek asylum, observing international protection.

Nearly 250 people from DRC have crossed into rural areas of the Western Equatoria State over the last week – many among them are vulnerable women and children. UNHCR, in close collaboration with South Sudan’s Ministry of Interior through its Commission for Refugee Affairs (CRA), continues to monitor their situation and address their needs in coordination with partners. UNHCR and its partners, along with the Ministry of Health, the World Health Organization, and the CRA are on the ground to support the new arrivals with life-saving assistance; food, water, sanitation and healthcare services are provided and COVID19 preventive measures are implemented.

The new arrivals have been sensitized on the new coronavirus disease and the measures in place to tackle it, in compliance with South Sudan’s National COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan. As a precautionary measure and abiding by the South Sudan Ministry of Health and World Health Organization guidelines – which applies to all nationals and internationals coming into the country- the group has agreed to undergo and complete the 14-day mandatory quarantine in a safe location, a facility that has been identified by the authorities, with the support of UNHCR and its partners. UNHCR has continuos access to the population and will continue to monitor and respond to their needs.

“UNHCR praises the Transitional Government of National Unity for the inclusion of refugees, asylum seekers and other persons of concern in the National COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan. We support the government and stand together in solidarity during these difficult times”, says Adan Ilmi, UNHCR Representative a.i. in South Sudan.

Giulia Raffaelli | Rome | +39 348 7288351 | raffaelg@unhcr.org
Gift Friday Noah | Juba | +211 922 654 219 | noah@unhcr.org

‘SPLM/A-IO under threat,’ opposition official warns as waves of defections hit SPLM-IO

President Salva Kiir Mayardit addresses nation in the capital, Juba/ Photo: File

April 17, 2020 (Thessherald)–Nathaniel Pierino, the SPLM-IO representative to the National Constitutional Amendment Committee has expressed his deep concern over the recent waves of defections of the SPLM-IO officials to the government, saying that the issue shouldn’t be treated lightly as a laughing matter, but must be addressed politically and strategically.

“I am very sick and disturbed by the endless trend of defections hitting the SPLMAIO; the military and political components alike. We cannot laugh it off. It means something is fundamentally wrong in the strategic, tactical, political and organizational design of the Movement.”

“I am ready to face-off with anybody who pretends and suggests the contrary before we loose the ability and capability to implement the peace Agreement and win elections where all hope rests. Politically, you can’t implement the peace Agreement from a vanquished position because the other side will not give without leverage. We cannot rely on the good will of providence and the members of international community to remain relevant in the political arena of South Sudan,” he said.

Nathaniel stressed that the repeated defections of the SPLM-IO officials require urgent action, noting that it raises concern.

“As a conscious and founding member of a movement that struggled for justice, equality and reforms in the governance structure of this country. I have every reasons to worry. The organization is critically being wounded and the stakes are very high! The very existence of the party is under threats. SPLMA-IO cannot loose its political resources and capabilities for winning elections and we say “God Must Be Crazy”!

He pointed out that the recent developments are worrying and that he will be able to evaluate and reflect on the movement’s political future.

“I am very hurt and shall be carrying out self reflection and critical evaluations of the current and future prospects and the viability of SPLMAIO as a political party capable of executing the aspirations of the people of South Sudan, and working towards wining elections. It would be naive and parochial to say, despite these waves of defections, it’s business as usual, obviously it isn’t.”

Adding that, “It is loss of valuable cadres and constituencies. We cannot be dismissive of every defection that occurs. It shall be hypothetical and pathetic. The political and social impact of this trend is negative and immense. Needless to say the military implications.”

The official said he is always concerned whenever he hears any reports of defections of the SPLM-IO members.

“Whatever defection occurring in the movement affects me and I, aboard, is concerned and cannot stand bye and watch as the movement collapses.”

Breaking: Hon. Dak Duop, other top SPLM/A-IO officials resign, join Kiir administration

April 16, 2020 (Thessherald)–A group of senior SPLM/A-IO officials led by the former Minister of Petroleum, Hon. Dak Duop Bichiok has resigned from the leadership of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement – IO and joined the coalition government under President Salva Kiir Mayardit.

In a statement extended to The South Sudan Herald on Thursday, the senior officials accused Machar of mismanaging the movement and appointing his immediate family members to top positions.

“Today, it has been six years since the establishment of the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement In-opposition (SPLMIO) in Nasir on the 16h April 2014, It is to be noted that SPLMIO is not an ideologically driven political Party where members would choose to join. Instead, its formation was necessitated by the war.”

“The war imposed the need to have a political organization under which the resistant could be weighed, In 2015, SPLMIO started to establish itself as a political party with vision, mission, and political program,” the group said in its statement.

Adding that, “As a result, it acquired governing instruments such as the Constitution, Manifesto, Internal Rules and Regulations, and Code of Conduct. As the Movement transited to political party, the membership of the Party expected it to be run In accordance with its governing instruments.”

The top political figures pointed an accusing finger at opposition leader Dr. Riek Machar for practicing nepotism in the movement.

“This has never been the case. As time goes by, the Party has been turned into family dynasty where the Chairman and his family runs it like a personal property. The functions of important organs like poiitical Bureau and National Liberation Council has been rendered irrelevant.”

The ten officials blamed the head of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement – IO, Machar, for running the movement alone with impunity.

“The Chairman single handedly manages the affairs of the with impunity. Including taking it to prson bim in South Africa.

The officials outlined a number of reasons that led to their defection to the government.

Furthermore, even though members have been defecting from SPLMIO at different times, the reasons for defection have more or less been the same.

• The Chairman often marginalizes his collesgues in major decisions which have serious bearing on the direction of the Movement and the country.

• He often grasps influential positions and resources through praxies.

• He has been empowering himself and his family with resources of the movement, at the expense of the entire membership of the Movement.

• The Chairman and his wife’s lust for power and resources is squarely responsible for disharmony in the Movement. Therefore, as peace returns to the country, and, in absence of political leadership in the SPLMIO, we the under signed, including our supporters, have concluded that politically we have nothing in common with the Chairman, Hence, we have decided not to sit by and to condone fulfilment of personal aspiration such as wealth accumulation which seems to be the vision. As a result, we have decided to resign and to join President Salva Kiir in the implementation of the Peace Agreement.

• To the citizens of South Sudan, particularly members of the SPLMIO, we are here to tell you that war has ended. The peace has come back to the country. It is the reason the Chairman and other ministers on SPLMIO docket took part in Government under President Salva Kiir. All citizens of South Sudan should now go back to their normal life, in order to rebuild their lives. No one should accept to be held hostage, or to be used as a bargaining chip by politicians with ill intentions. Whether you are in POCS or in Refugee Camps, we encourage you to come home, and to start rebuilding your life.

• Finally, we took this decision because we believe Peace has come. Every citizen should go about doing what pleases them. We believe politic is a team game which should only be played by “like minds”, We strongly felt in different with the way the Chairman runs the SPLMIO, We see no direction or vision. That’s why we have decided to resign, it is our right.
• Therefore, as we respect the right of those who chose to remain with SPLMIO, we expect our rights to be respected.

Sign on behalf of supporting members. Full Name Signature Position

  1. Hon. Dak Duop Bichiok
  2. Amb. Dobuol Lualweng Fmr Member of Political Bureau Fmr National Secretary, External Relations Fmr National Secretary, Humanitarian Affairs
  3. Hon. Yien Thiang Luony
  4. Hon. Thomas Maluit Hoth Fmr Member National Liberation Council
  5. Comrade. John Guec Dak Fmr Member, National Liberation Council
  6. Chan Abdalla Fmr Chairman of SPLMIO Youth League, Suda
  7. Cde. Dr. James Chan Fmr Member
  8. Cde. Martha Nyakim Thiang Fmr Member 9. Cde. Rita Papiti Kur Fmr Member
  9. Cde. Duong Peter Gatkuoth Gual Fmr Member
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