Gatwech opposes extension of transitional period

Gatwech opposes extension of transitional period
Kitgwang chairman, Simon Gatwech and his deputy Johnson Olony sign agreement in Khartoum Sudan on January 16, 2022. [Photo: Courtesy]

The SPLM/A-IO wing of the Kitgwang faction, led by Gen. Simon Gatwech, has cautioned against any attempt to extend the transitional period.

The group is currently waiting on the wings for the implementation of the Khartoum Peace Agreement, signed with SPLM-IG in January 2022.

“The SPLM/A IO Kitgwang upholds its full support and commitment to the Revitalised Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS) as a means to transfer power peacefully to the people and to bring about tranquillity in the country if honestly implemented, but equally reject any talks about the extension of the transitional period,” Gen Gatwech said in a statement released on Tuesday.

In a statement released to mark the 1st anniversary of SPLIO-IO Kitgwang, Gen. Gatwech called for an inclusive dialogue with the government on the progress of the Khartoum Peace Agreement to include the international community and friends of South Sudan.

“Categorically, the SPLM/A IO Kitgwang would also like to seize this opportunity to affirm the call for a renewed dialogue that would be inclusive of all the stakeholders of peace and frankly involve the international community and friends of the Republic of South Sudan who are toiling to bring peace and stability for people of South Sudan.”

Gatwech claimed that Khartoum Peace Agreement had stagnated, although he directed his people to be patient as they work towards commitment to peace and stability.

“We are indebted to instruct all our field commanders to observe the same cessation of hostilities we signed early this year with the government of South Sudan and stick to our areas of control until further directives from the headquarters,” he stated.

Nonetheless, the government, through the Minister of Information, Michael Makuei denied any reports of intent to extend the term of the transitional government. President Salva Kiir is due to make a statement on the agreed roadmap by the parties.

Kitgwang Declaration was signed on August 3, 2021, as an ouster to the leader of SPLM/A-IO, Dr Riek Machar by Simon Gatwech Dual and supported by Gen. Johnson Olony.

On January 16, 2022, President Salva Kiir extended an olive branch to the Kitgwang declaration through a delegation led by presidential security advisor, Tut Gatluak Manime.

This resulted in the signing of the Khartoum Peace Agreement for the inclusion of the Kitgwang forces of Gatwech and Agwelek forces of Johnson Olony into the South Sudan People’s Defence Forces.

The integration of Kitgwang forces was to be effective after three months till April 16, 2022, but it has so far been marred with delay. Currently, only some 250 police forces Agwelek forces are undergoing training according to the head of the Agwelek delegation in Juba, Paul Achot Achobek.

Last month, there was internal turmoil within Kitgwang as a result of an undisclosed misunderstanding on the peace agreement.

However, the two leaders promised to cling together and respect their hierarchy with Gatwech as the chairman and Olony as the deputy.

Paul Achot Achobek, the head of the Agwelek delegation in Juba said there was no plan my Olony to oust Gatwech from Kitgwang chairmanship, and called it an attempt to spoil Khartoum Peace Agreement by “peace spoilers.”