November 23, 2016 (JUBA) – Juba’s decision to exclude South Sudan’s armed opposition leader Riek Machar from the peace process only prolongs the war, rebel officials warned.
- South Sudan’s rebel leader Riek Machar speaks during an interview with Reuters in Addis Ababa on July 9, 2014. (Photo Reuters/Tiksa Negeri)
“There is a wrong perception with some of the regional leaders who are being misled by the government of Salva Kiir and political rhetoric from individual officials in some countries in the west. They believe chairman, Riek Machar is the problem. This is wrong perception,” Kuong Dak, a rebel official told Sudan Tribune.
He added, “He [Machar] is just a leader championing the cause of the people and even if he surrenders, the cause will never vanish. It can never be wished away like some people would like to believe”.
Dak said regional efforts to exclude Machar from the political process will never bring about peace and stability in the young nation.
"There are leaders in the region who believes that the exclusion of Dr. Riek will stop the war. This is a wrong analysis of the complex situation in South Sudan. The war will stop if there is a radical solution to the problem”, the official said on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Mabior Garang de Mabior, the former Water and irrigation Minister in unity government said the ongoing conflict will not stop if even members of the opposition are kidnapped or killed.
“Even if we are all kidnapped or killed, it will not solve the root cause of the problem and rebellion will continue. The only way to stop the rebellion is to abandon a military solution and resume dialogue with us”, Mabior posted on his Facebook page.
MACHAR TO DENOUNCE WAR
South Sudan President Salva Kiir said amnesty will not be granted to his political rival and the country’s former First Vice-President unless he openly denounces violence.
“My brother Riek Machar thinks the only way for him to become the president of this country is violence, killing innocent people. I told him several times [that] there is no reason to fight. If you [Machar] wants to be the president, wait for elections, but he did not listen”, Kiir said on Sunday.
The South Sudanese leader said a number of people approached him demanding that he pardons the armed opposition leader when he returns.
“They come asking me to pardon him. I tell them I have no problem with him. He is a citizen of this country and he can return anytime, but must denounce violence”, he said.
President Kiir had met Dinka elders who briefed him on their activities after they visited their counterparts from Equatoria and Nuer territories.