By Tesfa-Alem Tekle
June 19, 2014 (ADDIS ABABA) – A South Sudan opposition party, United Democratic Alliance (UDA) on Thursday condemned verbal attacks allegedly uttered by officials of the IGAD executive body against SPLM rival leaders.
The group alleged that IGAD leaders over the last few days called the South Sudanese leaders on both sides of the South Sudanese civil war “Stupid”.
“We condemn this anti-South Sudan remarks by those who call themselves our friends and mediators, based solely on their appearance, and their disagreement with the content of our leaders ideologies” the group said in a statement extended to Sudan Tribune.
The group required IGAD to respect the views of South Sudan stakeholders who oppose IGAD’s policies and make their own reasons heard through, and ask critical questions about the proposals forwarded by the regional bloc.
“This should be accompanied by a public commitment by every member of the IGAD, to make ample space available for all these peace talks, which should be conducted only at the absolute free will of South Sudanese citizens.”
The statement urged Ethiopian Prime Minister and current Chairperson of the IGAD, Hailemariam Dessalegn, to call off the verbal attacks and release an “immediate and unconditional” public condemnation.
It stressed a need for the Ethiopian premier to call a press conference, along with South Sudanese leaders, and the leadership of the IGAD to officially apologize for the language deployed by the IGAD executive members.
The opposition group accused some IGAD officials of hindering the peace process and called on the Prime Minister, to “act responsibly” to end the violence which has killed tens of thousands since erupted in mid December last year.
Speaking to Sudan Tribune, a number of pro-SPLM rebel group supporters in Addis Ababa have expressed discontent with the way IGAD is handling the peace process.
They say the peace process was a waste of time which will destine to failure and they feel IGAD is dictating on the future of South Sudan.
They further accuse IGAD being part of the conflict by allowing the deployment of Ugandan troops inside South Sudan and simultaneously being a mediator.
But an IGAD official has however downplayed the accusation made by the opposition group.
The IGAD official who asked anonymity told Sudan Tribune that the allegations were “unfounded” aimed to undermine the efforts of the IGAD to bring peaceful solutions to the political crises in the world’s youngest nation.