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Committee will not resolve Upper Nile issue – Activist

By Okan Thomas Onyango

A Human Rights activist has said the recently formed committee by the President to convene the Upper Nile Conference will make no difference if it is not left to the people of Upper Nile to decide on their own.

Speaking to Juba Monitor Newspaper yesterday, Ter Manyang Gatwech, the Executive Director at the Center for Peace and Advocacy (CPA) said the committee that will convene the Upper Nile conference will change nothing if not left to the people to solve.

“I don’t see any power within the presidency to appoint any committee on the issues of Upper Nile, the issue is supposed to be given to the people of Upper Nile. According to the Peace Agreement, it is the parties to the agreement which are supposed to decide. It is not about the conference alone. So, the President and the First Vice President have no power on this committee. The peace agreement is very clear, that each party is supposed to nominate a candidate of its choice,” Ter said.

Ter as well said that he is not certain on how they are going to address the issue of Upper Nile because according to the order, the committee is tasked to limit the number of the delegates to not more than 150, in prevention of the spread of the Coronavirus.

“When we come to the issues of Upper Nile, the President has no power to appoint anybody on his own concerning the issue of Upper Nile because if you look at the Peace Agreement, each party to the agreement has a percentage in the agreement,” Ter added.

In an order read over the State Broadcasting Corporation (SSBC), this week, President Salva Kiir Mayardit formed a committee to convene the Upper Nile Conference and he shall be the Chairperson of the committee with First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar as his deputy.

The committee shall also consist of five representatives from the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO), nine representatives from the former Revitalized Government of National Unity. The conference was meant to provide the platform for the people of Upper Nile state dialogue among themselves and address their grievances but was suspended last year due to delay in preparations.

Last week, President Salva Kiir issued a decree appointing deputy governor of six states. However, after the appointment of the six deputy governors, there have been reports that the appointment of Gen. Johnson Olony would be decided during the anticipated conference.

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