August 15, 2016 (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 it of the responsibility in the collapse of the August 2015 peace deal the president signed with his former first deputy, Riek Machar.
- Mabior John Garang de Mabior (File photo MC Clatchy Newspapers)
In a 9-page long elaborative 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.
THE WAY FORWARD
Machar said the leadership of the SPLM/SPLA-IO under Machar is calling on the region and international community not to recognize the “coup” against TGoNU.
“The leadership of the SPLM/SPLA IO further urge the region and international community to expedite interventional forces under the UN revised mandate such that Peace Agreement does not derail into a full scale of war in the country,” he said.
“The SPLM/SPLA IO leadership welcomes the decisions of the IGAD, AU and the UNSC (Draft) Resolution 2304; which is in line with the call of the FVP. The FVP will only return to Juba to commence the true implementation of the ARCISS when the conducive security environment is guaranteed. This will also create a conducive security environment that will facilitate the smooth implementation of the Agreement, as the warring parties have failed to implement the security arrangements.”
He further added that the opposition faction believes in the spirit of the ARCISS as the only solution to the conflict in South Sudan.
“The Movement calls on the region and the world, to expedite this process of intervention/protection so that we can rescue the suffering people of South Sudan; who’s suffering is compounded by a complete breakdown of law and order all over the country,” he said.
KIIR AGAINST IMPOSED DECISION
Meanwhile South Sudanese President, Salva Kiir, has warned on Monday that a hasty decision to deploy foreign forces to Juba could result in dire consequences if consultations are ignored.
“The consequences of hasty and imposed decision may be dire, for good intentions are not necessarily always reflected by the decisions made thereon,” warned president Kiir in a speech at the inauguration function of the transitional national legislative assembly.
The head of state affirmed the commitment of himself and his administration to implementing the peace agreement which he signed with his ousted deputy in unity government, Riek Machar.
“We are fully committed to the peace agreement of August 2015 and its continued implementation. We call on all the parties and opposition groups to be part of this most cherished commitment. This is our country. We built it from scratch after prolonged, bloody and heroic struggle. Let us work together to preserve its present and guarantee its future”, said president Kiir.
He said his government welcomed assistance and listens to advices carefully but which should not be imposed to undermine his authority to govern effectively and compromise national sovereignty.
“We welcome assistance. We are attentive to advice. But assistance requires dialogue. It should not be turned in an imposition that becomes intervention in which our sovereignty is compromised and our ability to govern effectively diminishes rather than increases. More and better could and should be achieved through consultation and dialogue,” he said.
He said the government has serious issues about decision made by the IGAD on 5 August and the renewal of the mandate of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), but added he “will discussion details with the leadership of the United Nations.”
“Already there are people who are accusing the transitional government of national unity of refusing and fighting the UN. I want to confirm on this great day that this is not accurate appraisal. If there are voices out there expressing their views on the subject, these are individuals who do not represent the transitional government of national unity and have certainly not been mandated to speak on behalf of the transitional government of national unity,” he added.