August 9, 2018 (JUBA) – The SPLM-In Opposition said they received with shock news about the presidential amnesty for its leader Riek Machar saying it is an insult in the face of the peace process.
“The SPLA IO is dismayed by the statement of Salva Kiir trending media yesterday the 8/8/2018, that he gave Amnesty to Dr Machar,” said a statement released by the SPLM-IO deputy spokesperson Lam Paul Gabriel on Saturday.
“This is not an only gimmick but an insult in the face of the signed CoH and permanent ceasefire which Salva’s militias have been violating since December/2017. Instead of talking about the so-called Amnesty, Salva should control his militias who don’t know what CoH or ceasefire means,” Gabriel further stressed.
The SPLM-IO officials were angered by the refusal of President Kiir to shake hand with their leader Machar after signing of the revitalized governance agreement in Khartoum on 5 August.
Also, commentators considered the move as a wrong message to the South Sudanese at a time where all the efforts should be done to build confidence.
The opposition group said stressed that the signing of a peace agreement legitimizes their return to Juba and not the presidential pardon.
“The SPLA IO and Dr Machar are for peace and it is this peace that will take us to Juba, not Amnesty,” stressed the opposition spokesperson.
Kiir was refusing Machar’s participation in the transitional government but he had to accept it under the pressure of the IGAD leaders particularly following a meeting in Entebbe with Presidents Yoweri Museveni and Omer al-Bashir on 8 July 2018.