JUBA – A South Sudan holdout opposition leader has said that the decision by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) to pull out its peacekeepers from civilian protection sites across the country is unjustifiable.
Dr. Hakim Dario, the leader of the holdout opposition People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) said in an exclusive interview with Sudans Post on Friday that the UNMISS decision is uniformed given the flaws in the implementation of the revitalized peace agreement signed by the government and several opposition groups in September 2018.
Dario’s PDM is not a signatory to the revitalized peace agreement. His group walked out of talks that culminated in the revitalized peace deal a few weeks before it was signed in Addis Ababa on September 12, 2018.
“The decision to withdraw troops from POCs without a clear plan for protection under the tenuous R-TGONU without security arrangements being implemented, is very risky and unjustifiable by the UNMISS,” Dario said.
“The R-ARCSS is not looking like it is going to work and hold for the country. Two years now and no proper functioning government in Juba and the states, leave alone the security arrangements that haven’t been implemented,” Dario said.
Dario who is outside the country criticized the appointment of former government officials in the country’s economic institutions after the government said last week that it can’t pay its civil servant or control the foreign exchange in the parallel market.
“It has already failed 2 years without implementation of the key benchmarks of the agreement, and with a collapsed economy, a bankrupt central bank and recycling of the same old corrupt elites who presided over systemic corruption and impunity,” he said.
“There is nothing short of complete overhaul of the Juba regime for our people and the country to have a relief,” he added.
Earlier this month, the UN mission in South Sudan said it was withdrawing troops from civilian protection sites across the country because they were needed somewhere else in the country where inter-communal conflicts are killing hundreds of people.
Dario who is also the leader of the holdout opposition alliance, National Alliance for Democracy And Freedom Action (NADAFA), said the Rome process which was halted in January following the deadly outbreak of the novel coronavirus is not inclusive.
He said his group, the PDM, wrote to the Sant’Egidio several times and has not been responded saying his group has exhausted all avenues to try to ensure that it is part of the process, but has not been welcomed.
“I think the Rome process is an exclusive club for the former SPLM/A commanders which does not welcome other R-ARCSS non-signatories to participate in an inclusive talks as claimed by the Rome declaration,” the opposition leader said.
“PDM has written to Sant’Egidio on several occasions and they have not responded to our requests. We have exhausted all avenues to demand inclusivity in the Rome talks but with no response, neither from Sant’Egidio nor from SSOMA members who are all lip tight,” he added.
He further said “If the talks are for positions then we are not interested. We are surprised that SSOMA and Sant’Egidio are not transparent about fostering inclusive talks with all the non-signatories and yet claim to be fostering inclusive talks by the Rome declaration.”
“This has proven not to be true, it is for accommodation of SPLA generals only to speak for the people of South Sudan which will not bring any change in the status quo except for position and accommodation at the peoples’ expense.”