President Salva Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar greets before Ugandan President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni (centre) on Saturday in Entebbe (photo credit: Larco Lomayat)
By Jale Richard
The South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA) and the Other Political Parties (OPP) yesterday rejected what they called “a bilateral Agreement” reached between President Salva Kiir and the main rebel leader Dr. Riek Machar in Entebbe two days ago.
In a statement seen by the Juba Monitor yesterday, SSOA said it was deeply concerned about the fate of the Khartoum phase of the peace process after a new proposal emerged from the Kiir-Machar meeting in Entebbe..
According to the proposal submitted to the parties on Saturday, four positions for vice presidents will be created; Dr. Riek Machar shall be reinstated as First Vice President, an additional 15 ministers and addition of more 150 members of Parliament to be in place.
The Opposition Alliance said the proposal was a repeat of the ARCSS 2015 in that it concentrated power in the hands of SPLM.
“It is crystal clear that the Entebbe meeting was focusing on power-sharing instead of addressing the fundamental issues of governance. For that reason, we absolutely reject these proposals as they do not serve the interests of the suffering people of South Sudan,” the opposition alliance statement said.
The SSOA credited the government of Sudan for hosting the Khartoum phase of the HLRF and the progress on security arrangements, but said, “We are yet to discuss and narrow gaps, let alone agreeing on the outstanding issues of governance proposals that were given to us by the Khartoum mediators to which we had submitted our written responses.”
Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, who was the chief mediator, went to Entebbe to seek ideas on how to resolve the outstanding issues of governance from Uganda President Museveni where the new proposal of governance was released to the parties which was contrary to the one tabled to the parties a few days ago in Khartoum.
“We were not expecting such a turn-around. To our dismay, the Entebbe meeting of 7/7/2018, attended by President Omar Hassan El- Bashir of Sudan, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni of Uganda, President Salva Kiir of South Sudan and Dr. Riek Machar (SPLM/IO) turned out to be a bilateral agreement between two of the warring parties, namely; the Juba regime and SPLM/A-IO!,” the statement reads in part.
The SSOA said any bilateral agreement to the exclusion of other parties would not bring about sustainable peace in South Sudan.
“We maintain our commitment to the inclusivity principles adopted by the HLRF as the only way for lasting peace,” they said.
The SSOA and Other Political Parties (OPP) revealed that they were officially invited to Entebbe for the July 7th meeting but kept out of the eight-hour proceedings between the government and the SPLM/A-IO; “only to be invited into the meeting to be briefed about what had been agreed upon by the two parties.”
The SSOA and OPP said the Entebbe agreement was all about “jobs, accommodation and maintaining the status quo” but not addressing the root causes of the crisis in the country.
SSOA had all along been advocating for addressing the root causes of the conflict, lean government and a federal system of governance.
The South Sudan Opposition Alliance is an umbrella group composed of the Federal Democratic Party, National Salvation Front, National Democratic Movement, People’s Democratic Movement, South Sudan Liberation Movement, South Sudan National Movement for Change, South Sudan Patriotic Movement, South Sudan United Movement, United Democratic Alliance, and the former Political Detainees (FDs) also joined the South Sudan opposition alliance later.