Nyamilepedia, August 2019
Nyamilepedia Interviews Pa’gan Amum Okiech, former Secretary General of the SPLMPa’gan Amum explains why R-ARCSS was and is never meant to be implemented to bring peace and democratic transformation of South Sudan.
Question 1 – Last year, the government and several opposition groups signed the revitalized peace agreement to end the ongoing civil war. However, a number of opposition groups rejected that agreement and up to now they are demanding that the agreement is reopened for renegotiation, what is your position on this controversy?
Answer 1 – The Khartoum peace deal or what came to be known as the Revitalized – Agreement to Resolve the Conflict in South Sudan R-ARCSS, was actually a deal that was imposed on the parties by the then Government of Omar El Bashir. In fact Sudan was using their mediation role to pursue their own interests. All parties to conflicting South Sudan were coerced into that so called revitalized agreement in Khatoum, and subsequently signed in Addis on September 12, 2018. First the government of President Kiir was blackmailed by Khartoum, with Khartoum threatening to support the opposition to overthrow Kiir if he would not accept the demands of Bashir’s government. On June 5th Kiir was forced to make so many concessions to Sudan, that have violated South Sudan territorial integrity and gravely jeopardized its national interests. Example of such concessions are:
⁃ In the rehabilitation and management of the oil fields specially in Unity State and the unfair revenues sharing agreement thereof.
⁃ Conceeding of Higlig(Panthaw)and other territories around the oil fields like giving away 19 miles to the south and east of Higilig (Panthaw) to Sudan.
⁃ President Kiir accepting for South Sudan to pay( more than five billions dollars) compensations to Sudan for the damages caused in Higlig (Panthaw) war.
⁃ Payments of more than 3.4 billion of what Sudan called outstanding arrears of Transitional Financial Arrangments.
⁃ South Sudan to withdraw its forces from Mile 14 Area in Northern Bhare Elgazal State.
⁃ For South Sudan be silent on the continuing occupation of all the disputed areas.
⁃ For South Sudan not to push for the full return of Abyie to South Sudan and not claim it’s share and that of Abyie area from the Abyei oil revenues.
When President Kiir accepted all these conditions and conceded on the 5th of June 2018 the government of Sudan there, then decided to reach an understanding with Uganda to support the consolidation of the Kiir regime in Juba, literally turning South Sudan into a condominium colony of the two predatory regional regimes. The negotiations we’re rushed and in total haste, forcing and compelling the opposition groups to hurriedly sign the ”peace deal”. The Sudanese mediators intention was to hustle the opposition into signing the deal so that they are accommodated into the government in Juba without reforms or justice and accountability. The opposition groups really tried to resist and demand for an agreement that would bring peace to South Sudan, but to no avail. Under such duress some were force to sign others jump the boat.
That is how SSOA and FDs got divided. These were the conditions that SPLM IO signed the deal. So R-ARCSS was and is not meant to be implemented to transform South Sudan into a peaceful and Democratic country. I mean the programs to resolve and transformed the conflict and building peace in South Sudan as contained in the agreement are not intended to go be implemented such as the transformation of the security sector: in terms of building a national army as a professional conventional army that reflects South Sudanese diversity and as a national defense force under a civilian rule, concern only with national defense which has no internal law and order role and mandate.
We did not endorse that Khartoum deal and we did pointed out that it was a deal to exploit South Sudan by the predatory regional powers who appointed themselves gurrantors of the agreement. It was not meant to be implemented. Time and events has proven us right. Almost one year is gone without any change. The eight months pre-transitional period elapsed without implementation of the tasks. And now we are in the third month of the six months extension and nothing is implemented of the security arrangements and the issue of the number of the states is not resolved.
Question 2 – The government and its peace partners decided in May that the formation of the R-TGONU be rescheduled for November after they failed to meet the May 12th dateline provided for by the agreement, what do you think would be the case for November, do you think the government will be formed or to you doubt this argument?
Answer 2 – November 12th, will come and the pre- transitional period tasks will not have been implemented and President Kiir will insist again to form the TGONU without the need to implement the peace programs. Without, institutional reforms and democratization of the state. Kiir will insists for all the opposition leaders including Dr. Riek Machar to return to Juba and join his government without the I implementation of the peace agreement, not even the security arrangements.
For President Kiir peace means joining in the formation of the ”transitional government” only without change or reforms while the opposition groups who signed the deal in Khartoum and Addis will have a tough choice to make either to join Kiir and take the positions that will be given them, that is; accept the nominal power and it’s trappings without change in the system. or they may have to disabuse President Kiir of that and then push for the implementation of the peace program as it is in the peace agreement of 2015 and revitalized in 2018, a demand that lead a renewal of tenssions.
Question 3 – On the peace process, if you were to send a message to President Salva, the regional and the international community what would be that message?
Answer 3 – My message to them will be: Implement the peace program as it is in the ARCSS 2015.( democratic reforms of the state, establishing rule of law, Justice&accountibity, human security and safety of citizens, Return, Resettlement and of Refugees and Displaced. Rehabilitation, national reconciliation and healing, recovery program of economy, establishment of transparent system of management of resources.. Permanent Constitution making etc)
Question 4 – Recently you have stated in one of the interviews that you were quitting the SPLM party and that you were aiming at forming a new political group along with others you didn’t name, why did you resign from the historical party?
Answer 4 – I have resigned from the current SPLM because it’s current leadership represented by Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit with NCP leaders have hijacked the SPLM party, betrayed its vision and core values. He has destroyed the historical people’s Movement. The organization lead and useded by Kiir today is implementing an agenda which is contrary to what the SPLM struggled for. In fact the policies they are implementing today are the very policies the REAL SPLM OF JOHN GARANG struggled against.
Kiir is practicing tribalism, nepotism, regional sectarianism. Discrimination, Corruption and mismanagement of the affairs of the young nation. These are all the things the SPLM went to the bush to fight against. A genuine member of the Real SPLM can not be silent to this and can not remain with Kiir or be a yes member of Kiir’s Party. A true SPLM member must distance her or himself from such a sectarian, tribalist and corrupt party of Kiir. That is why I am distancing myself from this Kiir corrupt system and with other likeminded comrades we are engaged in reviving the SPLM vision and core values and program betrayed by Kiir.
Question 5 – You are a signatory to the 2015 Arusha reunification accord which was also signed by President Salva and former Vice-President Dr. Riek Machar but you said in May that you will never be a part of the ongoing efforts to reunite the party, what went wrong?
Answer 5 – Yes we negotiated the Arusha SPLM Reunification Agreement, unfortunately Kiir is against the Arusha Agreement. Kiir is against the return to the SPLM vision as articulated by our founding father John Garang De Mabior, he wants us all to unite under his tribalist and corrupt leadership without demanding to implement the SPLM programs which are based on SPLM menifesto, Constitution, Strategy of transition from war to peace or even to ask him to implement the promises made to our people in 2010 manifesto of SPLM Presidential candidate. Kiir who is despitically ruling South Sudan today is anti- REAL SPLM.
Question 6 – You have in the past accused President Salva of destroying the SPLM vision, would you ever return to the SPLM if Salva was to depart the party?
Answer 6 – There is no SPLM to return to, it is already destroyed by Kiir. That why we are now engaged in reviving the SPLM vision and spirit and to resurrect it through a new party.
Question 7 – As you may know that the issue on the number of states has recently led to the resignation of the FDs representative to the IBC, what is your position on the decision by the IBC that it was not able to make a decision?
Answer 7- Nyegwek was right to vote for the ten States for that was the original position of the FDs. The IBC could not resolve the issue so it back to the parties to discuss and decide.
Question 8 – What do you think on the decision by Deng Alor to leave the initial ten-state position of the FDs, is this a compromise for the sack of peace or how can you categorize this?
Answer 8 – It was not Deng Alor alone who toke that new stand it was the FDs who are in Juba. I do not know why they left their original position. You can ask them.
Question 9 – Why do you think the Deng Alor-led FDs team in Juba are committed to the revitalized peace agreement and have decided to join the government? Many people have pointed to a break-up of the group along tribal lines.
Answer 9 – Well you can ask them that question.