‘South Sudan Will Disintegrate if No Agreement is Reached’

South Sudan President Salva Kiir in this file photo.

[Gurtong]- Former political detainee, Pagan Amum has warned that if no agreement is reached at the end of the High Level Revitalization Forum (HLRF), the country will disintegrate given the civil war and economic crisis.

He said the HLRF is the last chance for peace in South Sudan because the level of suffering has reached an intolerable level.

“This is actually the last chance for peace in South Sudan. If we do not reach an agreement now, our country is going to disintegrate. Even this government is going to lose its legitimacy,”
Amum said. “With the economic crisis and exodus of citizens, the country would be empty if the situation continues,” he added.

Amum was speaking to journalists in Addis-Ababa on Thursday on the fourth day of the HLRF which hit a deadlock after the parties failed to agree on the constitution of the National Legislature.

The opposition wanted the National Legislature dissolved and reconstituted with only half of the current number of Members of Parliaments while the government wanted to maintain the current Parliament.

Amum said the Parties to the Agreement should fill “the gaps” so that they can reach an agreement within the stipulated time and bring peace back to the people of South Sudan.

“We believe and we hope that all the delegation and stakeholders from now onwards will have to draw closer and think of ways to bridge this gap because we must reach an agreement to bring peace to our people,” Pagan Amum Okiech said.

“I hope the parties will work to bridge the gap between these two proposals by marrying them or by adopting a better proposal that may be more acceptable so that it will practically be implemented,” Amum told journalists.

He said their position as the former political detainees is to have a government of technocrats to prevent power struggle during the transitional period, and prepare the country for democratic elections.

The former political detainee said there is also need for security sector reforms to eradicate any possibility of return to war.

“The only best way is to make sure that none of the political groups or parties whether in the government or opposition have their own army because if they continue to have their own armies, wars will break out just because of any political differences,” Amum said.

He said attempts by the political parties to undermine their opponents politically would also cause wars as well as when the results of elections are announced.

“This is dangerous; we should not go for it. We have to make sure that South Sudan makes a transition to permanent peace and sustainable democracy,” he urged.

Amum said even though it is difficult to predict what will happen in the talks in the remaining days, he said he believes it is a necessity to reach an agreement.

“It is our intention that we must reach an agreement, I believe it is a necessity that we must reach an agreement,” he said.

Failure to reach an agreement, according to Amum, will mean a total collapse of the current government because its life span ends with the three years of Transitional Period that ends next year.

“We are going to have not only a vacuum, but a total collapse if we do not reach an agreement and that is in the interest of all South Sudanese whether in the government or in the opposition,” Amum said.