Today, we are commemorating the second anniversary of the black Monday of 16th December, in which the brutal regime in Juba committed massacres, heinous crime and ethnic cleansing. The International Human Rights Organization, UN Reports and the Report of the AU Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan Conflict documented these crimes. The Nuer and other South Sudanese were targeted in a mayhem, where over twenty thousands civilians were killed in one week under a pretext that a coup was foiled, a narrative that the whole world has dismissed.
We are marking this day of remembrance with great sadness for the lost of lives and suffering caused by this senseless and unjustifiable war. The people who were killed committed NO Crimes against anyone. They were loyal citizens of the Republic of South Sudan. They are heroes and heroines and did not deserve to be stripped of their lives and dignity, others were humiliated to an extent of being forced to eat the flesh of their dead kin after which they were shot while the survivors were made to seek refuge at the UN protection camps in their own capitals.
We also mark this day with a sense of hope for a better future now that an agreement has been signed to finally bring to an end the two-year war. You the people of South Sudan must embrace this agreement because it offers us an opportunity to start all over again and work towards achieving our aspirations for united prosperous independent Republic of South Sudan.
Despite our determination to avoid a war, we realized the regime had prepared itself to wage a war of ethnic cleansing against one nationality in South Sudan. The regime invited the Ugandan forces and Sudanese rebels in the first day of the crisis to fight on its side. We were left with no option but to defend ourselves.
On December 25, 2015, in Gadiang, Jonglei State the SPLM/SPLA leadership decided to transform this tragedy into a national struggle for freedom, democracy, federalism, federalism and transformation of our society and nation. We shall always remember these heroes and heroines as catalytic agents of this struggle. They are martyrs of freedoms, democracy and federalism.
In Nasir conference, April 15, 2014, the SPLM/SPLA was launched in confirmation of the Gadiang decision. This conference also made a historic declaration to adopt federal system of governance in South Sudan in recognition of federalism as being a popular demand of the people of South Sudan since the 1947 Juba conference as the best system ensuring Unity in diversity.
In Pagak Conference, December 8, 2014, South Sudan was divided into 21 states mirroring the former South Sudan districts of South Sudan post independence. These districts have clear delineated and demarcated borders since the British colonial period.
Since April 2014, our negotiations in IGAD Mediated Peace Talks were guided by the Principles of establishing a federal system of governance in South Sudan. The two years struggle and negotiations have resulted into the signature of the “Agreement on the Resolutions of the Conflict in South Sudan” on 17th August 2015 and 26th August 2015 by SPLM/SPLA and the Juba regime, respectively.
On behalf of the SPLM/SPLA, I would like to repeat my congratulation to the people of South Sudan for this agreement. This agreement is an important milestone in the history of South Sudan. The agreement has embodied the long-awaited demand for federal system of government. It has ushered in institutional reforms and for those who lost their loves one and property will get compensated. By this agreement justice and accountability will prevail and culture of impunity will be a practice of the past. The process of national reconciliation and healing is central and obligatory. No doubt national reconciliation will be the most difficult but not impossible. In order for the people of South Sudan to heal the wounds of this tragic and senseless war, end the suffering and build a strong nation per this agreement, there is need for the people to rise above the abuses and atrocities of the past two years and together face the challenge of bringing peace and harmony back to our country. In the light of this, I am calling upon the people to forgive one another and forward to better future. I also take this opportunity to call upon the people to overcome any obstacles that they may encounter in the transition from war to peace so that we can build a nation of institutions, peace and democracy where dignity and rights of its people are respected and preserved.
Yes, this agreement was imposed on the parties but by signing it we accepted it and committed ourselves to its full implementation. It is now our agreement. We therefore take ownership, it has all the elements necessary for institutional transformation and nation building. I urge you, the people, to take ownership of the agreement and play an active role in ensuring its implementation.
In conclusion, I take this opportunity to reiterate our commitment to the Implementation of the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan in pursuit of its implementation. I wish to inform all South Sudanese people who the SPLM/SPLA has prepared its 609 Advance Team waiting in Pagak to go to Juba. Our Team is ready and all logistics for transportation and accommodation are in place. The regime in Juba is showing lack of commitment to the implementation of the agreement by refusing to receive our advance delegation. I repeat – our Advance Team is ready.
Finally, I call upon the International Community to exert pressure to make the regime commit to the implementation of the agreement and once and for all to end the unnecessary suffering the regime continues to inflict on innocent civilians. The regime has violated the agreement by pursuing unprovoked attacks and air raids using helicopter gunships on our assembly and cantonment areas as well as in the population centers in the three greater regions of the Republic of South Sudan. The regime must unconstitutionally accept the going to Juba of the SPLM/SPLA Advance Team, immediate formation of the TGONU and to stop obstructing the process of the implementation of agreement.
Riek Machar Teny-dHURGON, PhD.
Chairman and Commander-in-Chief, SPLM/SPLA.
15th December 2015.