South Sudan peace faces new challenges

Thursday May 19 2016

President Salva Kiir (left) and SPLM-IO leader Riek Machar shake hands after signing a peace pact in Addis Ababa during an extraordinary AU Summit in 2015. PHOTO | FILE

The Riek Machar faction of South Sudan's ruling SPLM has said it will register as an independent party if the Arusha Reunification Agreement is not respected.

The ruling party is currently divided into three; the SPLM mainstream led by President Salva Kiir, SPLM-IO under First Vice-President Machar and the SPLM-FDs led by Pagan Amum.

Mr Amum was the secretary-general of the governing party before the 2013 civil war outbreak.

The SPLM-IO spokesman in Juba, Mr William Ezekiel, alleged that there was no commitment from President Kiir and his group to implement the Arusha agreement.

"President Kiir is to blame for the delay to reunite SPLM, not SPLM-IO chairman Dr Riek Machar,” Mr Ezekiel said.

A mediation by South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) and Tanzania’s Chama Cha Mapunduzi (CCM) in May last year saw representatives from the three SPLM factions sign a reunification agreement in Arusha, Tanzania.


READ: Hope for peace in S Sudan after Arusha talks unite belligerents

The Arusha agreement provides that all the SPLM members who were dismissed be reinstated to their previous positions, secret ballot system be adopted and the five per cent delegates allocation to the president be scrapped.

South African deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and the ruling CCM Secretary-General Abudaraman Kinana early this week visited Juba to push for the implementation of the SPLM reunification.

However, Mr Ezekiel claimed little progress was made during the meeting with the foreign diplomats.

“We are considering registering our own party if there is no progress,” he disclosed.

The SPLM Information Secretary allied to President Kiir, Mr Bol Makueng, rubbished the claims that his faction was responsible for the delay to effect the reunification.