ABRAHAM KUANY-The Presidential Press Secretary, Ateny Wek Ateny, has denied reports that President Salva Kiir left the capital, Juba for Luri due to civil war outbreak-related fears between the government and various opposition groups.
Since last month, there have been several disagreements over States’ allocation between the incumbent government and some parties to the revitalised peace accord.
Earlier this year, President Salva Kiir partially formed the Unity government that returned Dr. Riek Machar as a First Vice President, joined by other four deputies.
In March this year, Kiir also appointed the cabinet ministers but has since then failed to appoint State Governors, a delay civil society activist say could spark the spread of COVID-19 and increase sufferings of locals due to continue inter-communal conflicts that are not being resolved due to absence of government intervention.
Earlier this month, South Sudan’s presidency communique No: 4 dated 7th May 2020 indicated that there was a consensus reached on the States allocation.
According to the communique, the former transitional government under president Kiir took 6 States, SPLM-IO under Dr. Machar with 3 and South Sudan Opposition Alliance got 1 State.
However, hours after the Kiir’s announcement, Dr. Machar distanced himself from the communique, describing it as Kiir’s decision, made without prior consultation and lacks consensus from both parties.
In a letter addressed to the Peace Monitoring body acting chairman Amb. Lt. Gen. Augustino S.K Njoroge, Dr. Machar went on to describe Kiir’s decision as a violation to the peace agreement.
“Article 1.16.4 of R-ARCSS states that, In sharing States and local government positions, the parties shall take into consideration the relative prominence each party has in the respective State or County, so this article gives the parties the competence to allocate the States and Counties and not the presidency” said Machar
In addition, the Other Political Parties also rejected Kiir’s move, saying the decision was reached in a meeting attended by all his deputies, including SPLM-IO Leader and FVP Dr. Riek Machar himself.
In its statement seen by the Northern Corridor Morning Post earlier this month, the opposition National Salvation Front accused SPLA-IO and SSPDF of attacking its military basis in Katigiri and Wonduruba Payam of Yei River County, Central Equatoria State.
“On 5th May 2020, the SSPDF force attacked our basis at 8:00am. NAS forces fought back in self-defense and dispersed the attacking enemy force which lost four soldiers.
“Again, on 6th May 2020, at 5: 00am, the SSPDF and SPLA-IO forces supported by Armoured Personal Carriers and heavy mounted attack vehicles attacked a NAS advance base in the outskirt of Loka. NAS responded to the attack and destroyed 1 Toyota land cruiser” reads NAS statement.
The armed group described the attack as a “military campaign by the Revitalized government of national unity to exploit the global lock-down due to the Covid-19 pandemic” to attack its positions.
The above disagreements or occurrences according to observers are said to have placed President Kiir at jeopardy, forcing him to leave his Presidential Palaces for Luri, a strategic location situated few a Kilometres from Juba where his private residence and farm are located.
Asked by Northern Corridor Morning Post why Kiir abandoned the Presidential esidence for Luri on Wednesday, Ateny Wek Ateny – the presidential Press Secretary dispelled the rumors saying Kiir was still at J1.
“All the statement about Kiir having left Presidential Palace J1 to Luri is untrue. President Kiir is still in his palace and has not left Juba for Luri. I personally say those says are fabrications that are place online by enemies of peace” said Ateny
However, Jame Kolok, the executive director of Foundation for Democracy and Accountable Governance blasted the government and some peace parties that such reports are created by gaps created by presence of partial government.
“In a situation where we have gaps created by absence of a complete government, we are likely to have people coming in with their theories and this is not only in terms of this kind of rumors but we have seen a number of uncoordinated messages on social media that generate speculations that if they are not properly handled, can be able to jeopardize the security of the people of South Sudan” said Jame
Jame calls on peace parties to immediately complete the formation of unity government in order to avoid such scenarios from happening.
“I think the government has got the obligation in ensuring that they don’t give room in this kind of rumors happening and that they are able to proper able to make quick decision especially the full establishment of the unity government and unification of the all forces” said
As days of transitional period continue to move, the government of South Sudan seems to have shifted much of its focus on COVID-19, yet other matters of national importance remain unresolved for example the reconstitution of the national Legislative Assembly, unification of forces, among others.