The South Sudan Nuer community in the United Kingdom call on Ethiopian prime minister to exert diplomatic efforts to resolve contentious issues that are holding back peace implementation and formation of transitional government between the two conflicting South Sudan-ruling party factions.
The exiled South Sudanese made the appeal in a letter they wrote over the past weekend to the Ethiopian Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, who also is the chairperson of IGAD, a regional bloc which mediated South Sudan’s peace process.
The Nuers expressed their concerns regarding the violation of peace agreement on Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (ARCSS) and creation of the 28 new states
William Dengchang, Chairman of the Nuer Community in the United Kingdom, said repeated violations of peace accord by the two SPLM/A warring factions are dashing hopes of restoring lasting peace, ending the suffering of people and genuine reconciliation between communities.
Dengchang accused President Salva Kiir and his advisors, known as the Jieng Council of Elders, of having been main players in obstructing efforts to bring about lasting peace in South Sudan.
“In addition to ongoing ceasefire violations across the country, a notable unfortunate action the president took, shortly after signing of the ARCSS, was a deliberate violation of the agreement” reads part of the letter, also extended to Sudan Tribune.
Dengchang was referring to Kiir’s move to create new internal borders which were not part of the peace deal. President Kiir, in October, issued a decree to expand the nation’s 10 states to 28.
Kiir’s decree was immediately rejected by the SPLM armed opposition group led by first vice-president designate, Riek Machar, saying the move to unilaterally create new states violates peace deal and aims to derail its implementation.
Other opposition groups and various South Sudanese civil society groups has also rejected it and said it is up to the parliament and not up to the president’s power to change state borders.
In the letter the Nuer community in UK sent to the Ethiopian premier they said creation of new states divides the people of South Sudan along tribal lines
“It has now become clear that the decision taken by the president to redraw South Sudan internal borders is just a pretext of what appears to be a plan aimed at causing or sustaining conflicts between communities” the group said.
The group accused the tribal grouping of Jieng Council of Elders with an intention to make “another attempt to misusing country’s natural resources against “attainment of peace, development, and prosperity”.
As well as deploring Kiir’s decision to redraw South Sudan internal borders as illegal, the group said it also is segregating and dangerous move as it favors only one tribe in the expenses of many others.
The exiled Nuer community called on the Ethiopian prime minister to put pressure on president Kiir and his Jieng Council of Elders so that “they acknowledge facts and use wisdom rather than illogical grounds that have led to wrong decisions”.
“We call upon your wise leadership of the IGAD Assembly to work for an action that can compel Salva Kiir and his Jieng Council of Elders to revoke the presidential decree that created 28 states” it said.
As pressure mounts on Juba to revoke the creation of the 28 states, South Sudanese government has now proposed for a referendum to be conducted to determine the number of states.
However some ordinary South Sudanese here in Addis Ababa told Sudan Tribune that conducting referendum on the sensitive issue requires a stable nation.
They argued that wishing to conduct referendum while security concerns yet standing grave concern, is doubtful.
The UK Nuer group further stressed a need to promptly engage communities in South Sudan to reconciliation and healing process. It also appealed for a speedy establishment of the hybrid court that has been promised by the peace agreement.