The First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar of South Sudan has rejected and strongly refuted unserious claims made by a cabinet minister that he and former foe President Salva Kiir had struck a deal on uniting their armies, in the latest blow to its fragile peace process. Machar made this clarification on Sunday.
On its way to an autonomous and prosperous country, the world’s newest nation has struggled with tragic instability since independence in 2011, with Kiir and Machar locked in an uneasy coalition following the end of a five-year civil war.
Analysts say if only the to leaders could strike a deal to unite their forces to form a national army that serves the purposes of protecting its citizens and their properties, there will be tremendous peace. However, that hasn’t been realized yet with the nation locked up in turmoil and a sequence of wars within the different rebel groups.
Martin Elia Lomuro, the minister of cabinet affairs on Saturday announced saying the pair had agreed on a power-sharing deal to enable the creation of a unified army.
The cabinet minister had held out hope of a potential breakthrough for its lumbering peace process.
Machar in a statement released late Sunday said confirmed that the Machar Administration strongly refutes this false information and also underscore that the issue remains unresolved,” the statement said.
According to Lomuro’s announcement, he revealed that the two sides would split control of senior positions in the national security command which includes the military and police, with Kiir’s party holding a 60 percent share and the remainder divided between Machar and a handful of opposition parties.
Machar’s party on Sunday further confirmed that their talks with regard to the signed Revitalized peace agreement had focused on a 50:50 breakup, with the East African bloc IGAD proposing a 55:45 division which the parties have not yet discussed.
With high efforts to building the country’s fallen legacy, the peace process has suffered from years of drift and bickering over the creation of a unified armed forces command, a key component of the 2018 peace agreement and a potential safeguard against future conflict.
In 2018, the ceasefire and power-sharing deal ended a conflict that cost almost 400,000 lives, but distrust lingered, with many of Machar’s top cadres complaining they had lost out under the arrangement with the ruling party.
Earlier this month as the drama unfolded, foes in Machar’s party said they had ousted him as a leader – a move his allies dismissed as a failed coup which raised fears for the already shaky peace process.
Machar said the squabbles were aimed at derailing the formation of a unified armed forces command.
With a heightened discontent in the ruling party deepening, PCCA and some citizens have called for a peaceful public uprising to topple the current regime, with a nationwide protest planned for Monday 30th August.
Last week, the Ministry of interior confirmed their rejection of a request made by the People’s Coalition for Civil Action (PCCA). In Mid-August, PCCA officials wrote a letter to the ministry of interior which indicated that PCCA intends to conduct anti-government protests on August 30. In their request, the coalition asked the ministry of interior to provide protection for the citizens during the protest.
General Justin said the request has been rejected by the police authorities warning the public not to take part in the demonstration claiming that the organization has not been registered as an entity by the government and thereby rendering it illegal. This raises concerns on the legality of the operation by the PCCA group, blame that seems political.
The general however has strongly advised them, demonstrators, to desist and refrain from all acts that do not follow the law. General Justin also cautioned the demonstrators saying that If they want to exercise their right to free expression, they must work with security agencies to organize forces to ensure that their demonstration is safe.
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