September 23, 2018 (JUBA) – Thomas Cirillo Swaka the leader of National Salvation Front (NAS) which rejected the revitalized peace agreement said they are not committed to a ceasefire in South Sudan even if their group is a signatory to the security arrangements.
- Thomas Cirillo Swaka (Photo Reuters)
Gen. Swaka made his statement during a meeting with his supporters held in Texas, on Saturday, as he is touring the United States to meet the South Sudanese Diaspora to explain his rejection of the peace deal and to raise support for his group.
“We cannot implement an agreement in isolation because there are eight protocols we cannot implement part and reject the others part. Since we are not part of many protocols we are not going to be part of the security arrangements agreement,” he said.
Swaka who was answering questions posed by the audience further said if they go and took part in the implementation of the security arrangements, they cannot stop the implementation of the other chapters of the peace agreement.
The NAS rejected the revitalized pact saying it failed to address the root causes of the governance crisis in South Sudan. According to NAS, they want to end the “over-concentration of political and fiscal power”.
“Those powers have been used to capture the state hostage for criminal enterprises to support other ethnic groups to dispose ethnic minorities of their ancestral land and foster the pervasive culture of impunity,” the group said in a statement issued on 1 September.
The NAS and other opposition groups from the Equatoria region say they want a deal establishing a genuine federal system allowing them to manage and administrate their land pointing to the land grabbing by the Dinka tribe of President Kiir.
The revitalized process provides that the issue of the 32 states, which are seen as the instrument of domination by the opposition, will be discussed by the Independent Boundaries Commission (IBC). Also, It will review the conformity of the tribal borders in line with the 1956 boundaries.
Also, if this commission fails to reach an agreement during the transitional period, a referendum will be organised to consult the South Sudanese over the regional system they want.
Swaka said they want an agreement that addresses all these issues and then we implement all of it”.
The former South Sudanese army general, however, didn’t say they would continue to armed action to undermine the implementation of the revitalized agreement.
He further said they called on the international community to not support the signed agreement because it does not realize a sustainable peace.
NAS and three other groups including the People’s Democratic Movement (PDM), National Democratic Movement (NDM), United Democratic Republic Alliance (UDRA) and Pagan Amum have issued a joint statement rejecting the deal.
But they remain part of the South Sudan Opposition Alliance which is part of the revitalized process. It is not clear if the holdout groups plan to form a separate group or would seek to negotiate an additional deal including more guarantees about their claims.