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MACHAR Comes in, as Kiir dissolves gov’t today

By Sheila Ponnie

President Salva Kiir Mayardit yesterday said he would dissolve the government today and appoint Dr. Riek Machar as the First Vice President.

At the same time, Kiir and Machar agreed to form the Unity Government tomorrow to fulfill the deadline of the extended 100 days of the peace agreement.

This came after Kiir and Machar held a closed door meeting at State House witnessed by the deputy chairperson of the Sudanese Sovereign Council Mohamed Hamdan among others.

“I will dissolve the current government tomorrow (today) and I will form the new government on the February 22nd . For those who would not be appointed they should not fight because I am done with war,” Kiir said.

Kiir hinted on the fact that there were pending issues that were yet to be discussed, which included the security arrangement and the protection of the opposition in Juba.

He confirmed that the unified forces were still undergoing training but said his forces would take control of the security in Juba.

“This is what we have agreed on and if there are other issues that we have not agreed on, we shall carry it forward. We are prepared to finish all the remaining issues within a week,” Kiir said.

“I want to tell South Sudanese citizens that the changes that have happened are to bring peace and not change that brings war.”

Kiir urged citizens to stay peacefully to allow those in the Protection of Civilian sites and those in the refugee camps could come back to their homes.

Machar confirmed that he was ready to form the Unity government on the stipulated date.

Machar returned to the country on Monday.

The Journey to peace

After the 2015 Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (ARCSS) collapsed in 2016, President Salva Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar signed the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (R-TGoNU) together with other opposition groups in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

The war that started as a political dispute between Kiir and the then vice president Dr. Riek Machar exploded into armed confrontation after the forces got divided between Kiir and Machar.

The conflict has killed at least 50,000 people, many of them civilians, and displaced over 2 million, according to the United Nations.

The Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution signed in late 2018 was mediated by Sudan and Dr. Machar was reinstated to his former role as vice president.

In that deal, other insurgent factions also signed the new agreement including the South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA)-an Alliance of about 9 opposition parties.

Under the 2018 deal, a new government was supposed to be formed in May 2019, but it was postponed to the 12, November 2019. After the parties failed to implement some of the main provisions of the agreement, President Kiir and Dr. Machar agreed to postpone the formation of the unity government for another 100 days.

It was the third time the formation of the Unity Government was delayed. Some analysts were very skeptical that the sides would not be able to bridge the differences that were holding them up.
                                                       
After the extension, the parties agreed to establish a mechanism for the guarantors and the parties to supervise implementation of the deal.

The agreement also called for creation of a unified national army, as well as a transitional unity government.

As the days went by during the 100 days extension, there was no hope for the Unity Government as the parties continued to disagree on the number of states and boundaries and some chapters in the agreement especially the security arrangement.

After several talks in Addis Ababa, the government had maintained that the number of states remained 32 plus Abyei Administrative Area, while the Main Opposition led by Dr. Machar descended down to the former 10 states.

This was yet another setback on the peace implementation. The IGAD led meeting between Machar and Kiir early this month failed to resolve the matter.

Kiir requested that the IGAD ministers give him more days to consult with the citizens.

The states deadlock prompted widespread protest across the country, with pro 32+ states supporters siding with Kiir while some protestors especially in the Protection of Civilians sites were against the 32 states.

On arrival at Juba International Airport, the pro 32+ states supporters flocked the airport to welcome the President. At the same time the pro 10 states rallied at the PoC.

Kiir’s Consultation unanimously recommended that the 32 states plus Abyei Administrative Area should remain. But in a turn of things over night, Kiir surprisingly reverted the country into the former ten states and three Administrative areas.

Though the decision was welcomed by the SPLM-IO, things turned apart for a while when Kiir freshly expressed reservation on the designation of Ruweng as Administrative Area but the demand was dropped

Dr. Machar returned to Juba on Monday to continue with the process of the formation of the Unity Government.

With just a day left to the formation of the Unity Government, Citizens are waiting for the formation of the Unity Government.

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