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S. Sudan ex-detainees propose Kiir and Machar exit strategy

President Salva Kiir greets First Vice President Riek Machar before to start a meeting at the South Sudanese presidency in Juba on 3 June 2016 (Photo Moses Lomayat)

October 31, 2017 (JUBA) – South Sudan’s former political detainees have unveiled a road map for President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar if both leaders opted out of the political arena.

The group, in a 15 October 2017 roadmap, accused President Kiir and rebel leader Machar of holding the country hostage amid fears of being held accountable for the crimes their forces committed during the ongoing civil war.

“An exit strategy will comprise a package that offers (1) asylum for the two in a willing country or countries, (2) amnesty for specified crimes committed (crimes against humanity, human rights crimes and crime under international humanitarian law) from 15 December, 2013 to the end of the transition or date of the deal, with conditions attached and (3) reasonable financial incentives that assures them of decent living in exile,” partly reads the roadmap.

It further adds, “To persuade them to give the matter serious thought, this offer must be backed by credible threat of force”.

The roadmap also proposes the formation of three alternative interim governments, should the exit package strategy for the two South Sudanese rival leaders fail.

One of the such alternative interim governments, if formed, will Executive of Technocrats comprising of professionals, academics, trade unions doctors, university academic staff, civil society, law society, doctors’ union, as the preferred option.

The second choice is Hybrid Executive comprising of technocrats and politicians. The third choice is National Unity Executive comprising wide-base political representation. No one or two political parties or formations should have overwhelming weight in the Executive.

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The new alternate government will have a new legislature, nominated from the 10 states and counties, whose numbers shall not exceed 200 in the National Legislative Assembly and not more than 30 in the Council of States, three from each of the 10 states.

Neither officials from the Juba government nor those allied to the armed opposition faction led by Machar have reacted to the proposal made by the former detainees.

Tens of thousands of people have been killed and millions displaced in less than five years of the violent conflict in South Sudan. The war, caused by divisions within the ruling party, took a tribal dimension, involving the Dinka and Nuer, two of the country’s largest tribes.

The United Nations has repeatedly accused both the armed opposition forces and government troops for the killings that took place in the country. South Sudanese government forces, the UN said in a 2015 report, “bore the greatest responsibility” for human rights violations in 2015, citing rape, murders, recruitment of child soldiers and lootings.

However as the country grapples with war, more than 5 million of its people are in need of humanitarian assistance, recent estimates from the UN World Food Programme (WFP) shows.



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