This announcement serves to inform the members of the people’s Movement, the SPLM/SPLA (IO), and the public at large regarding the sustained, malicious misinformation by the propaganda machine of the regime. These gimmicks have included but are not limited to, extension of the regime’s term illegally, pretending that the Khartoum Declaration on Agreement (KDA) and the bilateral security and oil agreements by Juba, with Khartoum and Entebbe, where the final agreement; the President granting amnesty to the leader of the people’s Movement, Dr. Riek Machar Teny-dhurgon; and now the Minister of Information, Michael Makuei Lueth, is trying to insinuate that your Movement is not serious about peace, because we are not even considering the duplicitous invitation by President Salva Kiir, which is not on the Peace Agenda. The leadership of the SPLM/SPLA (IO) would like to remind President Salva Kiir and his Minister of Information, that we are ending a civil war, not a domestic dispute; therefore, the return to Juba and every other issue shall be addressed according to the provisions of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCISS). The R-ARCISS shall serve as the agenda for peace during the Transitional Period, and the SPLM/SPLA (IO) calls on members to educate themselves and the public at large about the provisions of the R-ARCISS, in order to avoid the sorts of malicious propaganda by the known hardliners of the regime, who are the real beneficiaries of war in our country and whose intent is to derail the peace process.
In regards to the weak accusations by the Minister of Information, regarding the continuation of war after signing of the agreement, the people of South Sudan should understand that, if the Minister of Information was sincere, he would have mentioned that the war should have ended with the Khartoum Declaration of 27th of June 2018 (according to Article 2.1.1 of the R-ARCISS), which came into effect on 1st of July 2018. This ceasefire was based on the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (CoHA) signed on 21st of December 2017 (according to Article 2.1.2). The Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC), whose Chairperson has resigned, has issued several reports identifying the major violators of the CoHA and the Ceasefire, yet punitive measures have never been forthcoming; perhaps due to the fact that some in the mediation are also parties to the war. The entire South Sudanese population who use social media, have monitored the movements of the regime’s forces as they used Ugandan territory to cross the River Nile inside Uganda and attack the defensive positions of the people’s Movement inside South Sudan. The people of South Sudan should not be fooled by the same Minister of Information who misinformed the public, that Dr. Riek Machar came to the Presidential Palace in 2016 with twenty mounted Toyota Land Cruisers, which we all now know to be a lie, as shown by the various reports that have been subsequently released since July, 2016.
If President Salva Kiir and his Minister of Information, Michael Makuei Lueth, are serious about peace, then they should start by disseminating the agreement to the regime forces, who continue to attack SPLM/SPLA (IO) positions with impunity (in accordance to Article 2.1.3), otherwise this proves that they have no control over their forces. If the regime is serious about peace, then the ball is in their court, the SPLM/SPLA (IO) has demonstrated our commitment to ending the war by signing an agreement in which we have fewer guarantees than the collapsed ARCISS, we signed in order to seize the opportunity of ending the suffering of our people. To ask the leadership of the opposition to go to Juba prior to the implantation of security arrangements is not only illegal according to the R-ARCISS, it is pointless and impractical. There are many gestures of good will the regime can show and which are in fact demanded by the R-ARCISS before we can even consider a return to Juba. In this vein, the Movement calls on President Salva Kiir, to release all Prisoners of War and Political Detainees (according to Article 2.1.6).
The SPLM/SPLA (IO) return to Juba, shall not take place before the deployment of the Regional Protection Force (according to article 126.96.36.199.7.), granting of access to humanitarian workers to access people in need (according to Article 188.8.131.52.8.) and the launching of a process of national reconciliation and healing (according to Article 184.108.40.206.). The disengagement, separation and cantonment of forces and the demilitarization of civilian centers shall also take place before any return to Juba (according to Articles 2.2.2. and 2.2.3 respectively). In the process of forming a national army for the first time in our history, there shall be established a Joint Transitional Security Committee, with members from the regime and the entire opposition (SPLM/SPLA-IO and SSOA) and the first meeting of this body is to be held outside the country, in Khartoum, Sudan (according to Article 2.2.7.), their work will be to develop the mechanisms for formation of the new army. The forces that shall provide security during the transition shall be trained within the pre-Transitional Period, which shall last for eight months (according to Article 1.1.2.). The Commander in Chiefs of the respective forces shall remain as such until the completion of this exercise (according to Article 2.3.1.). Any attempt to put undue pressure on the opposition to return to Juba, in violation of these provisions and in light of the lessons learned from the collapse of the first agreement, shall only breed mistrust. The Movement calls on our cadres and supporters, to be vigilant and to keep arming themselves with correct information regarding this negotiated settlement and educate the greater public, the success of the peace process depends on it.
The Movement would also like to take this opportunity to appeal to all the citizens of South Sudan to rally behind this Agreement, so that we can collectively use it as a mechanism to bring about fundamental change in our country. There is a crucial role to be played by the civil society groups of South Sudan, who have been waging peace with us from the beginning and who have a stake, as it is their brothers and sisters and sons and daughters waging the war against an anti-people regime and her allies. The civil society groups (Women’s bloc, CSO’s, Youth, Business Community, Academia and Imminent Personalities) are supposed to be part of reconstituted Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring Mechanisms (CTSAMM), transformed by the CoHA of 21st December, into the Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring and Verification Mechanism (CTSAMVM) and of the Strategic Defence and Security Review Board (SDSRB), which shall review the security policies of our country (according to Articles 2.4.5. and 2.5.1. respectively). The civil society groups should be represented at all the levels of the R-ARCISS. Without the participation of all the parties to the conflict (armed and non-armed) and the various civil society groups, the agreement will surely fail, if the agreement is based on pious proclamations and the agenda for the peace process not followed, then the Agreement shall surely fail.
The success of the Agreement depends on its implementation, we have all seen what happens when the agenda of the agreement is ignored. The country will not be stabilized by virtue of the leadership of the opposition visiting Juba, we are going to Juba with an agenda, the R-ARCISS, not as tourists.
CPT. MABIOR GARANG de MABIOR (CHAIRPERSON)
NATIONAL COMMITTEE FOR INFORMATION AND PUBLIC RELATIONS