By Sisto Olur,
London, United Kingdom.
The office of the SPLM-IO Deputy Representative to the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland condemns in the strongest terms possible the joint statement issued by IGAD, Troika countries and the European Union on the 6th October condemning the Declaration of War by the SPLM-IO members of the Political Bureau in their recent meeting which took place in Khartoum, Sudan.
The SPLM-IO Leadership in particular Dr. Riek Machar Teny went to Juba as demanded by the Peace Agreement signed between him, and President Salva Kiir Mayardit and also on the express advise of IGAD countries. But on the 8th July 2016 a pre-arranged fight broke at J1 between the body guards of Dr. Riek Machar Teny and that of Salva Kiir Mayardit following an incident which took place a day earlier, and this continued for several days resulting to the withdrawal of SPLM-IO forces from Juba. Dr. Riek Machar Teny as a peace lover took such a great risk even against the advise of his closest advisers telling him not to go Juba because Juba was planning an Angolan style of dishonouring peacement agreement.
However, what I am trying to allude here is the “Halloween massacre” which took place in Angola in November 1992 where prominent UNITA officials, including Jeremias Chitunda, Elias Salupelo Pena and Aliceres Mango were shot dead following a Peace Agreement similar to that of South Sudan. So following the shooting at J1 and subsequent bombing of the house of Dr. Riek Machar Teny at Jebel Kujur “what was the reasons for pursuing him and the rest of the SPLM-IO forces up to the border of DRC if the intention was not to kill him as refuted by Salva Kiir Mayardit and his Chief of Staff Paul Malong Awan? To sum up the whole story, Salva Kiir hurriedly appointed Taban Deng Gai even if he was already dismissed a day before by the SPLM-IO Chairman, Dr. Riek Machar Teny.
The IGAD and the Troika countries including the European Union issued a Communique a few days later following the appointment of Taban Deng Gai as First Vice President and requesting him to step down for the shake of peace which he accepted while in Addis Ababa, but upon returning to Juba he changed his position, and the same IGAD and Troika countries kept a low profile until yesterday when they are now condemning Dr. Riek Machar Teny for declaring war against Salva Kiir Mayardit. IGAD and the Troika countries should know that the issue here is not about Dr. Riek Machar Teny as a person, it is something more than that.
It is also important to note that Taban Deng Gai has no constituency in the South Sudan including the Diaspora as evidenced during his recent visit to United States of America which witnessed poor reception whenever he goes to meet South Sudanese communities. It is a known fact that Dr. Riek Machar Teny still command sizeable support inside South Sudan and the Diaspora, and as a result any attempt to exclude him from the political process will not work. So any friend of South Sudan interested to see peace in that part of the world should use the same leverage and convince Salva Kiir Mayardit to go back to the drawing board (before the July 2016 crisis) and implement the peace agreement as signed.
Finally, the United States America Ambassador to the United Nations, Ms Susan Rice wasted her valuable time, especially when she said during their meeting with Taban Deng Gai that she want Juba as a condition for future cooperation to respect Human Rights, bring to book those that raped Aid workers at Terrain Hotel, talk to the opposition, see to it that the government is inclusive and not dominated by one ethnic group. First of all Taban Deng Gai as First Vice President has no power to make any changes because the government in Juba is run by the Jieng Council of Elders and Salva Kiir Mayardit is there to implement what has been decided by the Council. This is like talking to a deaf person!
Sisto Olur is the SPLM-IO Deputy Representative to the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland based in LONDON, United Kingdom. For more information:firstname.lastname@example.org