Kiir reaches out to Machar to end stalemate, bad blood

Kiir reaches out to Machar to end stalemate, bad blood
The First Vice President, Dr Riek Machar Teny, and the SPLM Interim Secretary General, Peter Lam Both. [Photo: Courtesy]

The ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement has pledged to address the contentious issues that led to the withdrawal of SPLM/A-IO from the security mechanisms meetings.

In his meeting with First Vice President Dr Riek Machar Teny yesterday, he emphasised that the president has promised to take the necessary steps to ensure that the

“Peter Lam also said the president is working to ensure the SPLM/SPLA (IO) concerns that led them to withdraw their members from the peace implementation bodies are addressed to enable them to return and continue discharging their duties to pave the way for the graduation of the necessary unified forces,” the statement released by the office of the First Vice President read.

Lam stated that the party would advance discussions to unify the command upon the return of the Presidential Advisor on Security Affairs, Tut Gatluak Manime, and his team from Khartoum, where he is holding consultations with the IGAD Chairperson.

The SPLM Interim Secretary-General also assured Dr Machar that the security deployment in the city was solely for his protection and had no malicious intent.

He said the First Vice President, Dr Riek Machar Teny, assured the public that the country would not return to war, pledging the full implementation of the peace agreement.

“Peter Lam said the First Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar Teny, echoed the President’s message of full commitment to the implementation of the revitalised peace agreement and assured the public that his country would never return to war,” the statement continued.

President Kiir, in his national address yesterday, said that the opposition was behind the delay in the graduation of forces because their forces were made up of senior officers without forces to command.

The Director for Information and Public Relations in the office of the First Vice President, Puok Both Baluang, claimed that the statement that opposition forces had ranks without forces to command, was a tactic to delay the unification of command and the graduation of forces.

He added that the major issue of concern was the sharing ratio of the command of the unified forces, which he said should be 50:50 between the government and all the opposition parties and movements.

Not part of defections

On Monday, the SPLM Interim Secretary-General, Peter Lam Both dismissed the claims that they participated in the defections from SPLM/A-IO to SPLM adding that it was catalysed by lust for “lucrative political positions” by SPLM/A-IO officers.

“We have been saying that the war in South Sudan is a war for power-sharing. If some leaders do not see themselves in their party as getting lucrative political positions, they defect and join another group in protest of the decision of their party leader, “Lam said.

“Dr Machar, of all people, knows this more than anyone and had hoped that he would not blame the disintegration of his party on other people or political parties,” Mr Lam added.

This was in response to the claims made by the SPLM/A-IO Political Bureau that its members were influenced by the SPLM-IG to defect to them, saying that it was a violation of the provisions of the revitalised peace agreement.

Lam said they had not complained when SPLM-IG members defected to SPLM/A-IO because the September 2018 peace agreement does not prevent defection from one party to another during the interim period.

“The fact is that frustration is in every party. SPLM has also lost senior cadres to SPLM/A-IO, as their names suggest. However, we never blame the SPLM/A-IO leadership because such is an individual [decision] to join another party,” Lam asked.

“And there is nothing written in R-ARCSS that people should be prevented from joining any other party until the interim period is over. Why would the internal SPLM/A-IO fighting be blamed on the government or SPLM?”