Gatwech: I am ready to return to Juba under these conditions…

Gatwech: I am ready to return to Juba under these conditions…
Tut Gatluak [L], South Sudan Presidential Advisor on National Security shake hands with Gen. Simon Gatwech, leader of the SPLM/A-IO Kit Gwang faction after signing an agreement in Khartoum. [Photo: Credit]

The SPLA-IO Kitgwang faction led by Gen Simon Gatwech is urging President Salva Kiir and First Vice President Riek Machar to “demonstrate political will’ to allow the group to return to Juba.

According to Gatwech, the government should keep its promises by delivering within the timeline of the extended transition period.

His spokesperson, Alfred Gach Thot, said R-TGoNU should not sit back after the completion of the unification of forces but think of even including the Kitgwang in contributing to nation-building.

“All of us by now should work for the betterment of our nation and there should be no unknown gunmen and rebellion,” Gach stated.

“We appeal to the government of South Sudan to have a political will and come on the table with SPLM/A-IO Kitgwang leaders (to) restore the permanent stability in the country.”

He hailed the R-TGoNU, saying they are on the right track and should continue with the spirit of implementing the peace agreement in letter and spirit.

“President Kiir and Dr. Machar should implement the revitalised peace agreement in letter and spirit such that they can salvage the social fabrics they tore apart within the community.” 

“We congratulate them for great steps toward implementation of security arrangements and we urge them to continue on that political will to implement other matrices,” Gach continued.

Gach regretted the slow implementation of the Khartoum Peace Agreement, saying it has not moved any single step.

“You know that the forces of SPLA-IO under Machar and our forces (the SPLA-IO Kitgwang) are totally different. The forces that are under unification now are for Riek Machar, SSOA, and the government,” he continued.

“SPLA-IO Kitgwang forces are still in the bushes of South Sudan and it is not a partner to the revitalised government.” I hope the parties to the revitalised government should not get it into their (minds) that the whole thing got finished if the unification of their forces ends. “

Practical political will

On Tuesday, the government graduated the first batch of the unified forces, comprising forces from the parties to the peace agreement.

In his address during the graduation, Kiir directed the graduated forces to set aside tribal and political differences to serve the nation and the citizens.

“I am the only commander in chief. And you will be taking instructions from me. Now you belong to the South Sudanese people. You must not consider yourself a soldier of one ethnic group. It is your duty to treat all South Sudanese equally. “

Graduation is a great milestone

Kiir further called on all the rebels to abandon rebellion and return to participate in nation building. He said there was no need for a rebellion again as he reiterated that he would not return the country to war.

Meanwhile, Dr Riek Machar said the graduation of forces was an impression of a new dawn in the country’s transition to democracy.

“For the first time, we are going to have a unified army, a unified national security, unified civil defense, police, and prison force. I believe a new era has started,” Dr. Machar stated.

He called for the forces to unite with the government in curbing corruption so that the government could cater to their needs, including good salaries for them to take care of their families.

“We are aware that your pay is low. Even us (on the podium here) have low salaries. But we must act together to combat corruption. If you, the unified forces, lead the way, the rest shall follow. “

Hussein Abdelbagi Akol, the commander-in-chief of SSOA forces and the vice president for the service cluster, called on the UN Security Council and the international community to lift the arms embargo for the country to be able to protect itself.

He noted that disarmament should be championed by the graduate forces to rid the country of unknown gunmen for the nation to prosper.