JUBA – South Sudan parties to the revitalized peace agreement have reached a deadlock on the security arrangements after President Salva Kiir Mayardit demanded that 60 percent of all the unified forces are allocated to him, Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation and SPLM-IO spokesman Manawa Peter Gatkuoth has said.
Based on the revitalized peace agreement, all the parties to the revitalized peace agreement shall unify their forces to form a single national army that shall comprise of 112,000 strong men. 56,000 (or 50%) of that army shall come from the South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF) under President Salva Kiir Mayardit.
The remaining half shall be divided between South Sudan’s main armed opposition Sudan people’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM/A-IO) led by First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar Teny, South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA) led by Josephine Lagu, and other signatories to the revitalized peace agreement having forces on the ground.
However, Gatkuoth who is in Juba said there has been disagreements between the signatories of the revitalized peace agreement on how the unified forces is established because President Salva Kiir Mayardit’s side has demanded at least 60 percent of the total number of the unified forces in contrary to what the agreement said.
“It was agreed that the new national army is to be formed of an equal number of troops from the two sides. The SPLM in Government (SPLM-IG) provides a half and the other signatories a half,” Manawa Gatkuoth is quoted by Sudan Tribune as saying from South Sudan’s capital Juba.
“However, the SPLM-IG now refuses to implement this agreement and demands to have 60% and the other signatories only get 40%,” he said, adding that the regional bloc IGAD is proposing to reduce the opposition share from 50 per cent to 45 percent which he said will encourage further intransigence from the side of President Salva Kiir.
“The IGAD was expected to press the parties to remain committed to the brokered agreement. Such a proposal is not good because it will encourage them to seek to renegotiate other dispositions and undermine the whole process,” Gatkuoth stressed.
The senior government-nominated opposition official further urged General Simon Gatwech Dual, the former SPLA-IO military chief who defected from the group early this month to form a movement of his own to instead of weakening the main armed opposition group.
“This would be a constructive approach for peace and stability in South Sudan instead of seeking to weaken the main opposition movement,” he said of formation of a new rebel movement for General Simon Gatwech Dual.
“Yes, they defected but the SPLM-IO remains and will continue to its vision for democracy, transparency and development,” he said