JUBA – A senior member of the SPLM-IO led by former first vice-president Riek Machar said on Wednesday that S. African Vice President David Mabuza sided with the government of President Salva Kiir for proposing that the states impasse be addressed by an arbitration within 90 days which may go beyond the unity government formation.
Early this month, Mabuza proposed that the controversial issue which has threatened to ravage the revitalized peace agreement would be resolved through an arbitration which may take up to 90 days to resolve and may eventually not succeed.
Machar’s envoy to Tanzania, Peter O. Kleto Aharanya, criticized Mabuza’s proposal to refer the issue of the number of states and their boundaries to the court of Arbitration saying it means an endorsement of the controversial 32 states.
“The fact that David Mabuza wanted the government to be formed before the court means he has agreed with the government position to maintain the unpopular 32 states and this in our view cannot be a position of a mediator, but of someone who has already taken side,” Kleto was quoted by Sudan Tribune as saying.
“The 32 states were created by a presidential decree, not through a referendum and therefore, creation of more states when you cannot even develop the 10 states is an unwise decision,” he stressed.
President Salva Kiir’s government says that 32 states are a popular demand of the people.
However, the opposition diplomat downplayed it citing to the IBC submissions stated clearly that the majority of the people of South Sudan rejected 32 states and called for the country to be reverted to 10 states to stop border tensions between communities and states.
“I called on my brothers on the government side to accept the truth in order to be set free by reversing the country to 10 states, a true popular demand of the people as per IBC submissions”
“The other point I would like to bring to the attention of South Sudanese public and the international community is that this is not the time to discuss about who is wrong and right, but rather the time to discuss how we can end the suffering of our people, how we can unite our people through the implementation of the agreement in letter and spirit”, he stressed.
Kleto said the reluctance of the government to implement the agreement in letter and spirit shows South Sudanese, the region and the international community that the leaders in Juba do not love their country and their people but are there for their personal interest.
Kleto argues that the creation of 32 states also contradict government argument that they do not have enough money to implement the agreement and that is why his opposition party says the creation of the 32 states was politically motivated and not for the benefit of the people.
“We in the SPLM IO have proposed for a regional force to be deployed and for the Troika and the African Union to address the issue of the number of states and their boundaries before February 22, 2020, so that we form the government of national unity”
Kleto commended the European Union, the African Union, the IGAD and the Troika and all peace-loving countries and friends of South Sudan for pushing for the contentious issues mainly the issue of the number and boundaries of states to be resolved before the formation of the unity government.
He urged the government in Juba to put the interest of the country and the people above their personal and community interests.
“It is cruel and inhumane to subject our people to such unimaginable suffering just because of power. Leadership is all about forgiveness, reconciliation and doing what is necessary to unite our people and ensure they coexist in a peaceful environment” he said.
“We as leaders should stop promoting tribal nationalism because it is what will bury all of us. We should promote the slogan of one nation, one people to our people not the dirty politics of tribalism, regionalism and dictatorship,” kleto added.