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Opposition alliance will bring change in S. Sudan: Gen. Cirillo

September 5, 2019 (ADDIS ABABA) – The newly formed alliance of South Sudanese opposition movements bring change and install a new system that will give power to the people, Gen. Thomas Cirillo Swaka, the leader of South Sudan National Democratic Alliance (SSNDA) said.

Lt. Gen. Thomas Cirilo Swaka, the ex-SPLA deputy chief of general staff for training (youtube photo)

“It is through economic, political and security reforms that our people can liberate themselves from oppression and the brutality of the present regime,” he told a meeting at The Hague last week.

Swaka, who is also the chairman of the National Salvation Front (NAS), was addressing leaders of various South Sudan opposition movements who met in The Netherlands from Augusts 29-30.

The symposium, which was held under the theme, “Launching the New Vision of Hope and Transformation in South Sudan”, was attended by the SSNDA, the Real Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (R-SPLM) and South Sudan United Front/Army (SSUF/A).

“President [Salva] Kiir has betrayed the cause for which we all fought for during our struggle for freedom, justice and equality. Instead, he has fostered disunity and tribal chauvinism among our people,” said Swaka.

The ex-army chief of logistics-turned rebel leader described the conflict in South Sudan a political problem and that only a political solution can resolve the conflict in the young nation.

“We have moral and political obligations to take control of the course of events in our country at this critical juncture. The dangers and threats against our existence as a sovereign state are real and increasingly worrying,” said the NAS leader.

He added, “The future of our country is at stake as long as the authoritarian regime of President Kiir continues to rule the country”.

The rebel leader further appealed to opposition groups, the country’s citizens either at home or in the diaspora to double their efforts in resisting the “tyrannical oppressive” government in Juba.

Meanwhile, the opposition groups, in a communiqué, said the two-day conference agreed to form a leadership council comprising of leaders of SSNDA, R-SPLM and SSUF/A to coordinate their efforts.

“Furthermore, the movements that participated in the conference agreed to a joint Declaration of Principles that charts a new vision and hope for South Sudan, in order to rescue the country from collapse and fragmentation,” it reads in part.

The group, under “United South Sudanese Opposition Movements” also committed to end the suffering of the people of South Sudan.

“In addition, they highlighted the need to build a new South Sudan with a national identity that embraces its rich ethnic diversity, and is responsive to the needs and views of all its citizens,” stressed the communiqué signed by representatives of the three movements.

The opposition coalition also vowed establish a peaceful and stable democratic state that is based on the rule of law, further stressing that no military solution can achieve a lasting peace.

In September 2018, South Sudan’s conflicting parties signed a final peace deal in Addis Ababa after negotiations brokered by the Sudanese government and mandated by the regional bloc (IGAD).

The civil war in South Sudan has killed tens of thousands of people and displaced over two million since its outbreak in December 2013.