President Salva Kiir and the Peace Agreement in South Sudan

September 16, 2015 OPINION/NEWS



Peter Louis

South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir made a speech yesterday in Juba predicting that part of the peace agreement he signed last month would be implemented successfully, reiterating his orders to his forces to stop carrying out offensive operations.

In his remarks at the press conference, Kiir also reiterated that he had many reservations to the agreement when he signed it, saying the peace agreement “is not either a Holy Bible or Koran and should be opened up for negotiations.”

Kiir’s spokesman, Ateny Wek, afterwards explained that the speech “highlighted the fact that the international community did not listen to the president’s reservations,” which he said would likely result in non-implementation of some but not all provisions.

Below follows a partial transcript of Salva Kiir’s remarks as delivered:

This IGAD-prescribed peace document on the resolution of the conflict in the Republic of South Sudan is the most divisive and unprecedented peace deal ever seen in history of our country and the African continent at large; The objective and spirit of the Arusha Agreement has unfortunately been undermined by some of the provisions and modalities of the agreement.

This agreement has also attacked seriously the sovereignty of our country, and below I have some examples to prove the point I have just made.

One, the IGAD mediators, with full consent of our brothers the Former Detainees managed to keep the SPLM-FDs a distinctive group despite the SPLM Arusha Reunification Agreement which brought the FDs back to Juba and reinstated Comrade Pagan Amum as the Secretary-General of the SPLM. His colleagues were also readmitted into the SPLM Political Bureau.

Two, the method for the selection and distribution of the national ministries among the three groups of the SPLM has stipulated in the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan does not reflect the spirit of members of one party who abide by common principles and discipline as enshrined in the SPLM constitution including the rules and regulations of the party.

Three, demilitarization of Juba and other capitals in South Sudan as shown in the agreement is not only against the sovereignty of South Sudan but it is a clear testimony that there is no genuine agreement reached so far among the parties concerned except an imposed peace deal. And therefore, the element of fear and not genuine peace is highly predictable.

Four, the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission is a proposed supreme body to be headed by a foreigner and shall exercise absolute powers including the power to veto over the decisions of the government, even if the parties forming the coalition government have agreed. Again, this is another clear violation of the sovereignty and the hard-won independence of our country.

My fellow citizens, the leaders of the breakaway SPLM factions, namely Riek Machar and Pagan Amum, representing the SPLM/SPLA-IO and SPLM-FDs resepectively, were the first to sign the IGAD compromise peace agreement in Addis Ababa on the 17th of August 2015. They did not make any comments about any reservations that they had. As you are all aware, I refused to sign that peace agreement in Addis Ababa on August 17th 2015 – that was the deadline – because it contained proposals, which compromised the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our country.

I had wanted to consult with my government and the people – the SPLM as the ruling party, and stakeholders who form a very important front in our country – before signing. This was why I engaged in a massive consultation process so that all of us carefully understand the implications of the agreement, analyse the situation we are in and together agree to precede ahead in the best interest of South Sudan.

On the 26th of August 2015, after having completed the necessary consultations, I became confident that the issues had become very clear – they had become clearer to my government and the people and the political stakeholders. And I signed the agreement here in Juba, though with very serious reservations.

There were many messages of intimidations and threats for me in the last few weeks. To just sign the agreement silently without any changes or reservations; But because I put the interest of my people and country first, I refused to succumb to the pressures, mounted on me by IGAD, the Troika, AU and those who wanted to run the affairs of our country by remote controls from their capitals.

To show my disappointment in the way IGAD handled the mediation process, I protested loudly, stating that the IGAD-proposed compromise agreement is not either a Holy Bible or Koran and it should be opened up for negotiations.

Fellow citizens, having made our reservations and expressed our disappointment on the provisions of the agreement, I finally signed the peace document with those reservations to return our country back to peace and development.

With that signature I had fully committed myself and the government to the peaceful implementation of the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan; All the institutions of the government in the country shall be bound by this Agreement and shall be expected to carry out the functions stipulated for them therein.

I believe you are all aware that the National Council of Ministers has already endorsed and adopted the agreement and that the National Legislature has already ratified this agreement as well; And in my capacity as the commander-in-chief of the SPLA, I have already issued a ceasefire order for SPLA troops to stop any military offensives in the conflict zones unless in self-defence if they are attacked.

The government of South Sudan is now waiting for the IGAD mediators to launch the initial activities as per the implementation matrix. These include practical actions in the area of permanent ceasefire and transitional security arrangements, like setting up the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) and Evaluation Commission, and Joint Technical Commission (JTC) and monitoring and verification teams, and the National Constitution Amendment Committee, which will draft the constitutional framework to incorporate the agreement into the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan.

It is our hope that as the implementation of the agreement gets underway, the IGAD mediators and partners and the friends of South Sudan will take a more objective view of the reservations that I had stipulated prior to my signing the agreement on the 26th of August 2015. There is no doubt in my mind that the implementation of some provisions of the agreement will be confronted by practical difficulties that will make it inevitable to review or amend such provisions. This certainly requires a delicate degree of mutual trust and patience among the South Sudanese actors and stakeholders to overcome such challenges.

My fellow citizens, before I end this press statement, let me once more call upon all the political partners in our country, particularly the members of the SPLM, to remain vigilant and supportive in the reorganization process of the party, which we are about to embark on, putting into consideration the realities which appeared again in the signing of the compromise peace agreement. I am saying this, my people, because you have seen how many people have been working day and night to derail this agreement. I have committed myself to the agreement, but the same people are coming to question me whether I was committed to this agreement or not.

If I was not committed to the agreement, why did I sign it? They don’t even ask that question. And the people who are not committed are now attacking us in all fronts, and nobody asks them. I think there is no genuineness in this world that if you have a right you are to be given justice. Instead, they are still looking under our table that there is something hidden there, or there is somebody hiding there, to derail peace.

It must be stated clearly that the reality of political differences within the SPLM, which has been cemented in the peace agreement and accepted cheerfully by our colleagues in the opposition requires all of us to reorganize ourselves on a new basis. This simply means that SPLM will never be one again as long as we follow the implementation of this compromise peace agreement.

In conclusion, the challenge of many SPLM leaders has always been the desperation of everybody to be the flag bearer of SPLM in the presidential elections. Implementing the provisions of this agreement… in letter and spirit will finally put this challenge to an end. As the president of this country, and the chairman of the SPLM, I am now ready to implement this agreement as I have just signed it.

Finally, I call up on all of you to join hands – that does not mean the SPLM, I mean the people of SPLM, wherever they are, who want to join hands with me – during the transitional period, until the general elections in 2018 so that we bring peace to our country. I’m committed to peace and the implementation of the agreement in order to overcome the challenges of humanitarian and economic crisis that are facing our people today in the country.

Remember that it is our collective responsibility and love of our country that will make us to succeed and feel respected as one people and one nation. I did not mention anything about economy, not because it escaped my mind, but because I did not want to talk about it, because even if I talk about it, it will just be a discussion without solutions.

Thank you for listening, and may God Almighty bless the Republic of South Sudan.







Peter Louis

Peter Louis works as a freelance Videographer and Journalist in the Republic of South Sudan. He previously worked for Ebony TV, South Sudan Radio and South Sudan TV, Wau.


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