JUBA- Former South Sudan’s national minister of Water Resources and Irrigation, Mabior Garang de Mabior, has lashed out at President Salva Kiir’s faction, accusing him of the responsibility in the collapse of the August 2015 peace deal the president signed with his former first deputy, Riek Machar.
In a 9-page long elaborate press statement he issued on Tuesday, Mabior, who is also the chairperson for information and public relations national committee in the armed opposition faction of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM-IO), said the violence which erupted at the palace on 8 July and the replacement of Machar on 24 July was an act of conspiracy to destroy the peace agreement.
“The leadership of the SPLM/SPLA (In Opposition) would like to set the record straight regarding the return to armed conflict in South Sudan. The SPLM/SPLA – In Opposition (IO) is deeply disappointed in the lack of political will exhibited by the SPLM/SPLA (In Government), which has led to the collapse of the peace process and a return to armed conflict in the Republic of South Sudan. This resumption of conflict started on July 8th, 2016; with the Transitional Government of National Unity effectively being overthrown,” Mabior wrote.
He continued with chronology of the events that occurred leading to the return of violence as well as the “illegal” attempt to replace the SPLM-IO’s “legitimate” leadership of Machar, also blaming the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) for pushing Machar to return to Juba despite President Kiir’s lack of implementation of the security arrangements in Juba.
“The SPLM/SPLA (IG) led by President Salva Kiir continued to show this lack of political will during the implementation process. This is why the Mediators had to suggest the provisions of the ARCISS be circumvented; in order to prevent the Agreement from premature collapse. The SPLM (IO) was forced to go to Juba to implement the ARCISS, despite the fact that Juba had not been demilitarized in accordance to the provisions of the Agreement, a central part to the security arrangements. The IG even tried to humiliate the First Vice President (FVP) Dr. Riek Machar by refusing to give him an office…,” he said.
He said the SPLM/SPLA (IO) was forced to go to Juba without its demilitarization, which led to the incidences of harassment at illegal SPLA (IG) check points.
Mabior, who is currently in Nairobi, Kenya, said President Kiir’s forces started the shooting at Machar’s bodyguards at the J1 palace, adding this was a day after Kiir’s soldiers also attempted to arrest Machar’s bodyguards on Gudele road, which led to clashes that killed at least 4 soldiers on President Kiir’s side.
He said President Kiir wanted to kill Machar and that his chief of general staff has ordered his forces to hunt for him in the bushes where he has been hiding.
“The SPLM/SPLA IO has since been fighting a war of self-defense as the Chief of General Staff of the IG has ordered his militias to hunt down and assassinate the legitimate FVP of the TGONU,” he added.
“The failure of the warring parties to implement the security arrangements, the attack of SPLM/SPLA IO Cantonment areas across the country, culminating on the Juba attack which included the residence of the FVP; has led the leadership of the SPLM/SPLA IO to either flee Juba, or seek refuge in the UNMISS PoC’s.”
Mabior accused the newly appointed first vice president, Taban Deng Gai, of planning to assassinate Machar prior to the palace shoot out, saying Machar dismissed him from the party after the conspiracy became clear.
“His [Taban] dismissal came after he proved through the state owned (SSTV) showing that the current plot to topple the TGoNU was his idea as well as conspiring to assassinated Dr. Machar, the FVP so that the whole agreement is abrogated. And that was an adequate ground for a member of the SPLM/SPLA IO to lose his/her membership when he or she is found to be engaged in activities that undermine the objectives and policies of the movement, contrary to this Constitution, Code of Conduct, Internal Rules and Regulations. And as such, he was dismissed from SPLM/SPLA IO on 22/07/2016 before he completed his plot to illegally take over the leadership of SPLM/SPLA IO,” he said.
“Therefore, whatever, he and his anti-peace group have done will remain null and void as long as it is inconsistent with the Peace Agreement. This provision is read together with rule 1.4.7 of the same Internal Rules.”
He also said under Article 6.5 of the peace agreement, it was Machar who “may” delegate someone to act on his behalf in his absence and not an imposed person.
“Under Clause 6.5 of the same Chapter: “In the event of temporary absence of the First Vice President, the First Vice President may delegate a senior South Sudan Armed Opposition Minister to carry out functions and duties as stipulated in this Agreement,” Mabior further argued.
“This temporary absence for example, is like a foreign trip to which the FVP may spend some days, so in that case he has a prerogative or discretion power to delegate his functions and powers to a senior South Sudan Armed Opposition. This situation is not applicable to Gen. Taban Deng Gai – as he was dismissed before being crowned in Crown Hotel in Juba,” he added.