JUBA – South Sudan’s holdout opposition groups that are not signatories to the revitalized peace agreement have rejected the extension of the transitional period by President Salva Kiir Mayardit and First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar Teny, saying the extension means that the suffering of the people of South Sudan is prolonged.
On Thursday, President Kiir’s party and the other signatories of the revitalized peace agreement including SPLM-IO under Machar signed an agreement extending the lifespan of the transitional rule for at least two years, arguing that the remaining period of the current transitional period is not enough for implementation of the remaining provisions of the agreement.
Based on the current arrangement, the parties should go to elections by December 2022 and the elected government should take over by February 2023. But more than 70 per cent of the agreement has not been implemented making it impossible for elections to take place as provided for in the agreement.
In an email to Sudans Post on Saturday, Gen. Pagan Amum, the spokesman of the Non-Signatory South Sudan Opposition Groups (NSSSOG), a consortium of opposition groups who declined to sign the revitalized agreement in 2018, said Kiir and Machar have failed to end the suffering of the people of South Sudan and that the extension of the transitional rule is illegal.
“The Non-Signatory South Sudan Opposition Groups (NSSSOG) has been closely following the illegal moves of the out-going dysfunctional R-TGONU to extend it time in power as the interim period of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS) comes to an end in February 2023. President Kiir and his R-TGONU have decided to extend their time in office for another two years. This is illegal. They have lost legitimacy,” Gen. Pagan said.
“They had committed themselves to give the power back to the people of South Sudan after 40 months of transitional period, to elect their government in free and fair elections. President Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar have failed to implement the R-ARCSS. They have failed to bring peace. They have failed to reform and stabilize the state,” he added.
Pagan who is also the leader of the opposition Real-SPLM party said the president and his first deputy have failed to reunited the people of South Sudan, failed to resettle the internally displaced people and also failed to repatriate the refugees and has since lost the trust of the people of South Sudan and that the NSSSOG rejects the extension of the transitional period.
“They have failed to reunite the people. They have failed to resettle the IDPs or return the refugees. The R-TGONU has lost trust of the people of South Sudan, the region and the international community. The people of South Sudan reject any extension of such a failed government to remain in power. It is an extension of the suffering of the people. They will do nothing good for South Sudan,” Pagan said.
“The non-signatories Parties of R-ARCSS reject this plot by Kiir to remain in power indefinitely and to continue destroying South Sudan. It is not only illegal, but insulting and a brazen contempt to the people of South Sudan. This is only to maintain the status quo of state capture by Kiir and his clique of looters who have been subjecting the people of South Sudan to endless suffering,” he added.
Last month, the holdout opposition consortium issued a statement rejecting the extension of the transitional period and called for a roundtable conference outside the country with representatives of all the stakeholders in the country to decide the way forward after the end of the transitional period on 22nd February 2023.
While reiterating its call for a roundtable conference, the group urged the people of South Sudan to reject the extension and also appealed to the international community to paint the new government as illegitimate with no recognized mandate from the people of South Sudan.
“The None Signatories Movements and parties reiterate their call for all the stake holders of political organizations, civil society, women and youth groups to urgently convene a round table conference in a neutral venue conducive to freely exchange ideas about the fate of the country and to agree on a new dispensation beyond February 2023,” the statement said.
“We urge the people of South Sudan to be vigilant and defend their rights and the fate of the country from Salva Kiir and his cohorts who want to hold the country and people of South Sudan hostage to dictatorship and kleptocracy.
“We call on the members of the international Community not to recognize but to designate as illegitimate any administration in South Sudan borne out of the illegal extension and stolen legitimacy. Let the people of South Sudan decide their future, choose their government,” it added.