Press Release

Press release: SPLM-IO welcomes the concern of JMEC Chairman over the ongoing fighting in the Country

Nairobi – In reference to the above subject, the leadership of the SPLM/SPLA (In Opposition) cautiously welcome the: Opening Statement by H.E. Festus G. Mogae Chairman of JMEC – During the Plenary Meeting of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission – 8th February 2017. The SPLM/SPLA(IO) Leadership salute the courage of the Chairman of JMEC, H.E. Festus Mogae for charting a bold new path for the peace process which is more relevant to the realities after the July 2016 incidents which led to the collapse of the Agreement. The leadership of the SPLM/SPLA(IO); however, would like to bring the following to the attention of H.E:
The “recent fighting around Malakal and Renk” was indeed “a blatant violation of the ceasefire” as correctly stated; however, this is not new behavior by the Juba Regime. Notwithstanding the recent massacres and displacement of the civil population in Kajo-Keji and their denial to seek refuge in neighboring Uganda and despite the fact that the regime has bombed our positions in Wau Shilluk – an Internally Displaced Camp of 21,000 persons using newly acquired Antanov, displacing the entire population of the IDP Camp in the process. The regime has been dishonoring agreements since the signing of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (CoH) of January 23, 2014; including the rededication to the CoH Agreement of May 09, 2014; the forces of the SPLM/SPLA(IO) have been under sustained attack by the regime in Juba since then and even during the attempt at implementing the Agreement, war continued. The peace Agreement was being implemented under a state of emergency; the “lifting of which became one of the contentious issues leading to the Agreement’s collapse; (see: http://www.enoughproject.org/blogs/7-things-you-need-to-know-about-south-sudans-agreement-end-hostilities); 
The regime has demonstrated its intransigence on many occasions and they continue to do so. It is worthy to note that on January 23, 2014 the Agreement on the Status of Detainees was also signed; however, the detainees remained in the custody of National Security in Juba despite the Agreement on the Status of Detainees, it took further efforts by President Uhuru Kenyatta to secure their release. This practice of detaining those who use peaceful means to protest the injustices of the regime has now evolved into kidnappings in Kenya, where the Spokesperson for the Office of the Chairman of the SPLM(IO) was abducted and illegally deported in violation of international human rights law. The latest victims of this inhumane practice are Prominent Lawyer Dong Samuel and Chairperson for Humanitarian Affairs Aggery Idri. There are countless other political prisoners in South Sudan who have been detained with no charge, including foreigners like the bogus case of Kenyans facing life imprisonment, South African citizen William Endly and the harrowing story of Henrik Tomiesen, a Danish former de-mining worker who had settled in South Sudan; (see: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/b5465794c8dbe1d1ad7bcb9/rare-view-inside-south-sudan-most-feared-prison);
The Leadership of the SPLM/SPLA(IO) agree that within the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (ARCISS) are the answers to the fundamental problems facing the country and a renegotiation would be redundant; however, the Security Arrangements and other new developments would need to be renegotiated in light of the new realities since July 2016; 
The contention of the SPLM/SPLA(IO) has been that there is no Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU) in Juba, it collapsed in July; what has happened is that some members of the SPLM/SPLA(IO) have defected to the new regime in Juba and are posing as “I.O”.; while the armed opposition – the signatories to the ARCISS have been forced out through the use of state violence; this is well documented by the UNSC in their letter to the President of the UNSC – UN panel blames South Sudan leaders for Juba violence (see: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/09/panel-blames-south-sudan-leaders-juba-violence-160909063715494.html) and more recently admitted by Ambassador Donald Booth, former US Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan at the United States Institute for Peace (USIP); Ambassador Booth stated that: “there is no functioning ceasefire”, the “government is not representative of all South Sudanese political factions” and “there is no serious work under way on reforms”; (see: http://www.usip.org/events/us-special-envoy-speaks-sudan-and-south-sudan); 
THE WAY FORWARD 
The Opening Statement by H.E. Festus G. Mogae Chairman of JMEC – During the Plenary Meeting of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission – 8th February 2017 is encouraging and the SPLM/SPLA(IO) cautiously welcomes it. The Movement has advocated for and are committed to dialogue as the only way to resolve the internal contradictions of South Sudan. It was the call to dialogue which is cited as one of the causes of the violence in December 2013 (see: http://reliefweb.int/report/south-sudan/final-report-african-union-commission-inquiry-south-sudan). 
The Movement has been committed to dialogue and as a matter of policy, continue to be committed to finding a peaceful resolution to the current civil war. The SPLM/SPLA(IO) has demonstrated this commitment on several occasions, including going to Juba under regional pressure, despite security provisions of the ARCISS being circumvented by the guarantors. 
The SPLM/SPLA(IO) believes that ‘our sophisticated weapon’ is not guns and bombs, but our ideas. The idea of the Movement is for peace to return to the Country through the implementation of a negotiated settlement implemented in good faith and in this vein, the SPLM/SPLA(IO) is:
Committed to a return to dialogue with the ARCISS as the basis for this renewed dialogue;
The SPLM/SPLA(IO) is committed to: Communique of the 56 Extraordinary Session of the IGAD Council of Ministers on the Situation in South Sudan of 11 July 2016 Nairobi, Kenya;
The SPLM/SPLA(IO) is committed to: The outcome of the “Visit of the Chiefs of Defense of IGAD to Juba 14/7/2016”;
The SPLM/SPLA(IO) is committed to: Communique of the Heads of State and Government of IGAD Plus on the situation in South Sudan of 16/7/2016, Kigali, Rwanda;
The SPLM/SPLA(IO) is committed to: Communique of the Second IGAD Plus Extraordinary Summit on the Situation in the Republic of South Sudan of 5/8/2016, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia;
The SPLM/SPLA(IO) is committed to: Communique of AU Peace Security Council (PSC) 616th Meeting, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 11/08/2016; and
The SPLM/SPLA(IO) is committed to: UN Security Council Resolution No.2304 (2016 of 12/08/2016 on South Sudan, New York, USA.
CONCLUSION 
The SPLM/SPLA(IO) would like to reiterate to the people of South Sudan, Africa and the larger International Community, that the Movement is unequivocally committed to a negotiated settlement as the fastest and least costly way to bring about an end to the war and fundamentally change the material conditions of our people. The bigoted dialogue called by President Salva Kiir is not an inclusive dialogue, the Minister of Cabinet Affairs Martin Elia Lomoro clearly stated this to journalist: “The National Dialogue is a national initiative, it is not subject to any criticism, it is not subject to review, it’s not subject to be used by (anyone), by any individuals or organizations”; this contradicts the very essence of dialogue (see: http://www.nyamile.com/2017/02/02/south-sudan-says-rejects-au-and-un-calls-for-inclusive-national-dialogue/).  
The National Dialogue called by President Salva Kiir’s regime is a great idea in principle; however, in light of the history of the regime’s intransigence and lack of good faith, this dialogue must take place within the context of a negotiated settlement and should not be used as an attempt to circumvent justice and accountability, to which the Movement is fully committed. 

The Movement is fully committed to the ARCISS as the only way to rescue South Sudan from the abyss, the Agreement has provisions which will address the major root causes to the conflict, among the most fundamental:  issues to do with the establishment of a constitution, which is guaranteed in CHAPTER I: TRANSITIONAL GOVERNMENT OF NATIONAL UNITY OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH SUDAN, Article 13, which establishes the National Constitutional Amendment Committee (NCAC) and even has the whole of CHAPTER VI: PARAMETERS FOR PERMANENT CONSTITUTION dedicated to this; it addresses issue relating to the economy in CHAPTER IV: RESOURCE, ECONOMIC AND FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT; it addresses issues of justice and accountability in Chapter V. TRANSITIONAL JUSTICE, ACCOUNTABLITY, RECONCILIATION AND HEALING and the Movement has gone on record, stating our commitment to the establishment of a  Hybrid Court of Justice. The leadership of the SPLM/SPLA(IO) are committed to the cause of liberty and justice and as such do not fear to face justice. The SPLM/SPLA(IO) will not accept any conspiracy aimed at circumventing Justice and Accountability.
The SPLM/SPLA(IO) is ready to engage with H.E. in order to share in more detail our ideas on the resuscitation of the peace process

Categories: Press Release