Tag Archives: SPLM

South Sudan – officials say transitional unity government may rule until 2021

Sudan Tribune

(JUBA) – South Sudan’s Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU) could, after implementing the 2015 peace agreement in good faith, remain in power until 2021, a prominent member of the Jieng Council of Elders (JCE) has said.

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South Sudanese president Salva Kiir (AFP)

The peace agreement, Aldo Ajou Deng Akuei said, still requires total restoration of national security, the unification of South Sudan army (SPLA), the reconciliation process, accountability and hybrid court, national census, the election commission law and the making of the permanent Constitution before any elections.

The JCE is a group of veteran politicians who advise President Salva Kiir on political issues.

“Two years will not be enough to get the weakened country back on its feet. Let’s be sincere, elections will not take place in 2018 if we mean genuine implementation of the peace deal in good faith. I think there are very strong reasons for TGoNU to continue into 2021, to be fair to ourselves and others”, Akuei posted on his Facebook.

The JCE official also cast doubt on whether the elections could be held on time because the people of South Sudan are not in their homes.

“Thousands are internally displaced. About 450,000 have crossed our borders to neighbouring countries, seeking refuge. And about 5,000,000 are facing lack of food in the whole country. With all these problems, we have no money to implement the peace deal. The international is not ready or committed to assist South Sudan”, he said.

The accord, Akuei stressed, has been overloaded with “a very huge national agenda”, requiring time implement it with care and trust.

In August last year, President Kiir called for an early election, two years ahead of schedule and before the completion of the implementation of the peace deal, which recommends a lot of institutional and political reforms for two and a half years of the transitional period.

He said the reason for calling for an early election is to avoid attempts to ascend to the office by other means than elections, claiming some people may take advantage of the lack of a new mandate from the people.

“We need to hear the voice of the people. If [we] don’t do so, maybe someone will wake up one day and declare a coup,” Kiir told country’s lawmakers, without hinting on whether he would step down from power.

Elections in the war-ravaged nation, in accordance with the timetable outlined in the 2015 peace agreement, are to be conducted in 2018.


South Sudan – government rejects additional 4,000 UN troops

Al Jazeera

More than 12,000 UN peacekeeping mission troops have been in South Sudan since it gained independence in 2011 [File: EPA]

South Sudan has announced it will no longer accept the deployment of an additional 4,000 United Nations peacekeepers, saying the security situation in the county has improved.

The regional protection force, authorised by the UN Security Council in August after renewed fighting in the capital, Juba, is meant to strengthen the 13,500-strong UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan

UN dismisses South Sudan peacekeeping force chief

“The government of South Sudan has the ability to provide security and stability for the country and for its citizens without the deployment of a … protection force,” South Sudan’s Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson Mawien Makol Ariik said on Wednesday.

The government’s move is a reversal of its earlier decision in November to accept the troops’ deployment.

Defence Minister Kuol Manyang Juuk also said there was no need for the regional protection forces to be deployed in South Sudan.

“Most of the people abroad still believe that there is fighting in Juba and around the country … but Juba is now secure,” Juuk told DPA news agency.

READ MORE: South Sudan accepts 4,000 more UN peacekeepers

Juuk’s remarks contradict reports of recent fighting in the north and south of the country.

The South Sudanese government had warned in August 2016 that the deployment of more UN forces would marginalise its sovereignty, but later gave its consent amid the threat of an arms embargo.

In December, a UN human rights commission urged a rapid deployment of the additional peacekeepers amid reports of ethnic killings.

A political split between President Salva Kiir, an ethnic Dinka, and his former deputy Riek Machar escalated into a military conflict in December 2013. Tens of thousands have been killed and more than two million displaced.

A unity government was formed in April, but fighting broke out again in July, sending Machar into exile.

The UN’s top human rights official has previously blamed South Sudanese government troops and rebels loyal to the president of ethnically targeted violations, including extrajudicial executions and sexual violence incidences in August 2015.

The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has previously faced criticism for failing to fully protect civilians facing violence.

In early November, Ban Ki-moon, the former UN secretary-general, dismissedthe commander of the UNMISS force following a damning report that accused the peacekeepers of failing to protect civilians during the outbreak of violence in July.

The report from a UN special investigation found that a lack of leadership in the UNMISS ended in a “chaotic and ineffective response” during the heavy fighting in the capital, Juba, from July 8 to 11 that killed dozens of people.

South Sudan – presidential spokesman says Kiir alive and well, following death rumours

Sudan Tribune

October 12, 2016 (JUBA) – South Sudanese President Salva Kiir is alive and healthy, his spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny said, dispelling rumors that the former was “dead”.

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South Sudanese Presidential spokesperson Ateny Wek Ateny addresses journalists following renewed fighting in Juba July 11, 2016 (Reuters Photo)

“We would like to inform all our citizens that the information which came few hours ago, in various social media that President Salva Kiir has died is yet another wishful thinking,” Ateny told the state-owned South Sudan Broadcasting Corporation.

Social media was dominated by rumors of President Kiir’s ill health and death on Tuesday, prompting Ateny to respond. Juba became tense when large number of troops deployed on streets last night.

The President, his office said, held a meeting at state house in Juba on Tuesday.

“President Salva Kiir is healthy and is going about is duties normally. He was in his Office today until 3:00 pm and had no any complaint about his health,” stressed Ateny.

There no public knowledge of President Kiir’s health, widening room of rumors. But Ateny said he met Kiir after reading about the news of his demise on the social media.

“On hearing those rumors, I went to his house just to find him reading in his home Library. So, I would like to inform our citizens to ignore such rumors mongering and remain focus of their normal duties,” further explained the presidency spokesperson.

Ateny accused some main stream media, including the Voice of America (VOA) for fueling news on Kiir’s ill health, allegations Sudan Tribune could not easily establish.


South Sudan – UN chief on lack of progress on more peacekeepers


By Michelle Nichols | UNITED NATIONS

A pledge by South Sudan’s government to allow the deployment of more U.N. peacekeepers and to improve access for U.N. troops already on the ground in a bid to avoid an arms embargo is yet to translate into action, U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon said on Monday.

President Salva Kiir agreed during a U.N. Security Council visit to South Sudan last month to accept 4,000 extra peacekeepers and to allow some 12,000 peacekeepers already on the ground to move around freely in order to protect civilians.

In an August resolution – after heavy fighting in July in the capital, Juba – the 15-member council had threatened to consider a possible arms embargo within five days of a report by Ban that Kiir’s government was not fulfilling both measures.

In a letter to the council on Monday, seen by Reuters, Ban said “while the public commitments and relative improvements … are a welcome sign, it will take some time to evaluate whether these commitments translate into improved freedom of movement on the ground or amount to business as usual.”

It was not immediately clear if Ban’s letter would trigger a consideration by the council of an arms embargo on South Sudan.

Political rivalry between Kiir, an ethnic Dinka, and his former deputy Riek Machar, a Nuer, sparked a civil war in 2013 that has often followed ethnic lines. The pair signed a shaky peace deal a year ago, but fighting has continued and Machar fled the country after the July violence. He is now in Khartoum.

South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in 2011.

Ban said that, while the deployment of more peacekeepers and the improvement of access for U.N. troops and aid workers already on the ground “would help alleviate some of the suffering of the people of South Sudan, they will not resolve the conflict.”

He said the war was “a direct result of serious shortcomings in governance and the instrumentalization of ethnicity to further political objectives” and expressed concern about a recent call to arms by Machar.

Ban said Ethiopia, Kenya and Rwanda had agreed to provide peacekeepers for the 4,000-strong regional protection force, charged with enforcing peace in Juba and protecting the airport and other key facilities, but that the South Sudanese government had not yet given its approval.

Ban said a note verbale had been sent to the South Sudanese mission to the United Nations in New York, naming the troop-contributing countries and stating that, if a response was not received from Kiir’s government by Sept. 26, the United Nations would begin preparing the deployment.

However, the South Sudanese government said it never received the note verbale from its mission and that “the lack of a response could therefore not be considered as consenting to the deployment of the aforementioned troops.”

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Paul Tait)

South Sudan – Lam Akol forms new movement

Sudan Tribune

(JUBA) – South Sudan’s former minister of agriculture minister, Lam Akol, has formed a new rebel faction after spending several weeks of consultations with different unarmed and armed opposition parties in the country.

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Lam Akol, chairman of South Sudan’s main opposition party (AFP/Samir Bol Photo)

Akol, according to a statement issued over the weekend and extended to Sudan Tribune has named the new rebel group as National Democratic Movement (NDM) and said that his aim is to overthrow by all means the government of South Sudan under the leadership of President Salva Kiir.

“The National Democratic Movement was born to wage the struggle, together with others in the field, against the totalitarian, corrupt and ethnocentric regime in Juba that is bent on dragging our country into the abyss,” the statement reads in part.

Akol, who previously chaired the Democratic Change Party (DCP) said he resigned and left the party last month because the members and the other leaders of the DCP believed in peaceful dialogue and non-violence as the only means to bring about change in South Sudan.

He described his new rebel faction as a front bringing together the social and democratic political forces as well as civil society activists, who want the political discourse in the country to be centred on the “transformation of the centuries-old conditions of extreme poverty, ignorance, illiteracy and cultural backwardness of the masses of our people.”

The movement, it explained, is founded on the principles and concept of national democratic revolution based on the core values of freedom, equality, justice and fraternity, and solidarity anchored in historical and philosophical perspectives. These values, it stressed, translate into fundamental rights and freedoms as provided for in the UN Conventions of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights.

The political statement of the NDM set out in details what the NDM stands for and how to rid the people of the totalitarian ethnocentric regime in Juba and replace it with a pro-people inclusive government.

“It must be clear from the outset, the NDM is not just for change of personalities in Juba to replace them with others of the same feathers; it is out for a radical change in the country that will bring about genuine state-building and nation-building,” it emphasized.

He also said his new faction will closely work with the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM-IO) under the leadership of the former First Vice President, Riek Machar.

It is not clear from whether the prominent politician will get military forces for his new faction.


South Sudan – General Peter Gatdet denies talks with government

Sudan Tribune

(NAIROBI) – The commander of the armed forces of South Sudan United Movement has dismissed as “untrue” reports that he reached an agreement with President Salva Kiir’s government.

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Rebel General Peter Gatdet Yaka gestures as he speaks to South Sudan’s rebel leader Riek Machar (not seen) in a rebel controlled territory in Jonglei February 1, 2014. (Photo Reuters/Goran Tomasevic)

Gen. Peter Gatdet toldSudan Tribune from the Kenyan capital, Nairobi that had never made any contact with the Juba establishment as claimed.

“The claim by President Salva Kiir’s security advisor was not true. I Gen. Gatdet have never held talks with any officials and I have to dismiss it as misinformation and misinterpretation from Tut Kew Gatluak,” he said.

The general, formerly with ex-vice president Riek Machar-led rebels, said he cannot betray his people without identifying the root causes of 2013 massacre of Nuers and other South Sudanese civilians.

“I fought Salva Kiir and the groups with purpose and I decided to reject the IGAD [Intergovernmental Authority on Development]-Plus peace agreement about re-unification of the SPLM [Sudan People’s Liberation Movement] because of premeditated bloody confrontation between our communities that reflected the tribal divisions in South Sudan under the poor leadership,” he stressed.

The official, however said, he was willing to be part of a comprehensive agreement designed to unite all South Sudanese.

“If there would be peace for all opposition members, I must be convinced with the durable peace that will address the root cause of the fighting and the reason why 30,000 civilians were killed in Juba. We fought with the Juba government and three armed groups, likewise all the opposition groups,” he said.

For lasting peace to be achieved in South Sudan, he added, there was need for inclusiveness in representation within government, which would pave way for realization of a final peace agreement.

Since the beginning of the South Sudan conflict in 2013, Gatdet has been operating in Bor, Jonglei State from where he crossed to Malakal in Upper Nile state. In 2014, United States, through its State Department, imposed sanctions on the commander of President Kiir’s guards, Major General Marial Chanuong Yol together with Gatdet.


South Sudan – SPLM-IO leadership to meet in Khartoum

Sudan Tribune

(JUBA) – The top leadership of the armed opposition faction of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM-IO) under the leadership of the former First Vice President, Riek Machar, will meet in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, in the next few days, opposition officials have confirmed.

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South Sudan’s former FVP Riek Machar, speaking to visitors at his residence in Khartoum, on 1 September 2016 (courtesy photo of SPLM-IO)

“Yes, our leadership will meet in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum. It will take place in the next few days,” confirmed James Gatdet Dak, opposition leader’s spokesperson.

The gathering will be the first since 8 July when fighting erupted in the South Sudan’s capital, Juba, between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and bodyguards of Machar.

Dak said the meeting will review the situation following the violence “which was ordered by Salva Kiir in an attempt to kill Dr. Riek Machar.”

The renewed war has threatened the collapse of the peace deal signed in August 2015 to end 21 months of the civil war that started in December 2013.

The opposition leader’s spokesman said members of the political bureau and the national liberation council of the SPLM-IO have travelled from Juba, Kampala, Nairobi and Addis Ababa to take part in the Khartoum’s consultative meeting.

He said the meeting may begin on Sunday or Monday.

Machar was transferred to Khartoum from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) after he was extracted by the United Nations at the South Sudan-DRC border.

He fled Juba during the July fighting and walked for 40 days to the neighbouring nation.

He was hospitalized in both DRC and Khartoum on “humanitarian grounds” due to swollen legs and extreme exhaustion.

His health has however stabilized and has been released from hospital weeks ago.