Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM-IO) under the leadership of the former South Sudanese vice-president, Riek Machar, has summoned senior officials to the headquarters for consultations.
Machar’s spokesman, James Gatdet Dak, said in a short statement that officials had been recalled from Juba back to Pagak, near the Ethiopian border.
“The leadership of SPLM/SPLA (IO) has recalled to Pagak – our general headquarters – senior members of our advance team who went to Juba, including members of Politburo and states leaders, for consultations on the outstanding issues in the implementation of the peace agreement….The meeting may take place from Tuesday, January 19, 2016,” Gatdet said on Sunday.
The consultations, according to Gatdet, will center on outstanding issues in the implementation of the peace agreement signed in August 2015 by warring parties in the country.
Gatdet also told Sudan Tribune, the meeting would start Tuesday to collectively resolve on a way forward before the leaders could return to Juba.
One of the burning issues is the creation of 28 states which the government unilaterally created on 2 October after the peace agreement was already signed.
The agreement was based on the current constitutionally recognized 10 states in the country.
While the SPLM-IO said it could not recognize the 28 states, describing the decision as a violation of the agreement and asking the government to reverse the decision, the government on the other hand vowed not to revoke the decision, saying it was a demand of the people of South Sudan.
According to South Sudan News Agency, opposition leadership in the country has accused President Salva Kiir of using “delaying tactics” in order to prevent the implementation of the peace agreement.
Kiir maintains that he will not scrap his 28 state expansion plan, claiming that he is fulfilling the country’s “taking towns to people” policy.
Voice of America News reports that supporters of the South Sudan government have since lambasted the opposition, saying that Machar is to blame for the delay in the formation of a unilateral government due to his refusal to name his ministers.
Among other outstanding issues include implementation of the security arrangements which was supposed to be implemented within the 90 days of pre-transitional period from the signing of the peace deal.
This includes demilitarization of the capital and deployment of joint police and military forces from the two rival armies.
The transitional constitution also should have been amended to incorporate the peace agreement and to serve as the basis for formation of a transitional government of national unity (TGoNU).
The opposition faction has refused to announce and submit its nominees to the selected ministerial portfolios for formation of the government, citing delay in the amendment of the constitution.
The government in response also passed a resolution on Friday in a Council of Ministers meeting chaired by Kiir in which they also suspended formation of the transitional government until the constitution is amended.
Only the former detainees led by Pagan Amum announced their nominees to the ministerial positions, despite absence of their leader, Amum, from Juba.
Juba evicts rebel officials
Gatdet, meanwhile, told Tribune that Kiir’s government will stop accommodating members of the advance team of the SPLM-IO and intend to evict them from hotels by 22 January.
He said the government cited lack of money to pay for the accommodation also including lack of commitment from the international partners to continue to shoulder the bills.
Machar will stay away from Juba
Machar, on the other hand, says he will not return to the capital until Kiir cancels the 28 administrative districts.
Gatdet uged Kiir to also revoke the order and take other unspecified security measures to ensure the SPLM/IO leader is safe to return to the city.
Mr. Dak insisted that Machar who is the favourite candidate to be South Sudan’s vice-president under the terms of a new power-sharing agreement cannot go to Juba while there are hostile troops stationed there.