Sunday December 10, 2017

Opposition consultations kicked off in Pagak amid tight security


PAGAK – Consultative meeting among members of the SPLM in Opposition group have started today to deliberate on the recent IGAD-Plus compromise agreement aimed at ending the 19 months conflict between the Juba regime and the rebels led by the former Vice President of South Sudan.

The meeting attended by various diplomatic corps, civil society members of the opposition and foreign dignitaries will run for 3 days in the remote South Sudanese town of Pagak until Tuesday, the 4th of August. Delegates to the peace talks and the chief negotiator will then fly to Addis Ababa on Tuesday morning to present their position on the compromised document to the IGAD-Plus.

Among the contentious issues on the compromise agreement, the rebels leadership highlighted the following as important for discussion at this Pagak 3 consultations:

  1. Separate army for 18 months:- Some army generals in the rebels camp do not want 18 months time frame during forces between the rival factions should be amalgamted. They claim that the duration is too short and wanted 30 months instead.
  2. The power sharing ratios in the remaining 7 regions:- Senior political members of the SPLM in Opposition are not happy with the way the IGAD-Plus excluded 7 States from power sharing arrangement proposed for in the Greater Upper Nile region. They said that its a betrayal on the people of those states who face the same kind of horoble live under the leadership of Salva Kiir Mayardiit. They warned that leaving them out of power sharing ratio will leave them with nothing but to wage another war again in those states.
  3. Power sharing at Central Government:- The opposition highlighted that the power in Juba should be 50%-50% for both warring parties as former detainees are not part of the peace plan as they already joined the government.
  4. Power sharing in Greater Upper Nile:- The rebels leadership are quietly complaining that since they have majority of the land under their control in Greater Upper Nile, their percentage share should be higher than the document provided. The document asks for 53% share to the opposition versus the 33%. The rebels however are not entirely happy with that. They said 63% for them can reflect the reality of their control of the land. The armed opposition also demanded that all the 3 governors in those 3 states should only be appointed by the First Vice President without necessarily consulting the President.

Tight security

Pagak has since Thursday last week been tightly secured. No vehicles are allowed to come in from Ethiopia or elsewhere. Thousands of soldiers are deployed in around the town and hundreds of kilometres away to ensure that the convention goes as smooth as possible. Heavy artileries and vehicles have been placed on high alert on the outskirt of the town.

The deliberation by the rebels leadership is expected to be the last of its kind as IGAD-Plus warned that this latest peace agreement could be the last option for the warring parties.



Philip Gual

An Upper Nile State correspondent for The Upper Nile Times. He currently resides in Malakal, Upper Nile State.

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