Press Release issued by Equatorian Leaders in Diaspora, welcoming the formation of the TGoNU and the release of political detainees, and urging TGoNU members to abide by the letter and spirit of the peace agreement.
From: Equatorian Leaders in the Diaspora
Date: 30 April 2016
Re: The Equatorian Leaders in Diaspora Welcome the Formation of the Transitional Government of National Unity and the Release of Political Detainees
The Equatorian Communities in diaspora congratulate our First Vice President of the Republic, Dr Riek Machar Teny, for taking a bold and courageous decision to return to South Sudan’s capital Juba on Tuesday 26 April 2016 as part of the peace deal signed in August 2015. We also congratulate our President Salva Kiir Mayardit for warmly welcoming his brother Dr Riek Machar for returning back home to swiftly form the transitional government of national unity on Thursday, 28 April 2016.
We trust that this spirit and public declaration of cooperation and reconciliation so far will be translated into action to enable the long-suffering people of South Sudan to rebuild their shattered lives.
We welcome the formation of the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU) which seems to be fair on the significant criteria of regional and gender representation. We urge the same formula of representation be used across government institutions; the civil service and the armed forces at Federal and State levels of government.
However, we are disappointed that the government and Former detainees in particular brought back into the new government too many “old” faces, especially those with a poor track of achievement, which could threaten any meaningful reforms that the citizens are desperately expecting.
We expect the new executive team of the Transitional Government to implement the agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (ARCISS) in letter and spirit as confirmed by President Kiir on 26th April 2016, in his welcoming speech to Dr Riek Machar. In particular we urge any attempt to close ranks and cover-up people who have committed war crimes, civilians and those in the security services who are involved in heinous atrocities and those who looted the nation’s coffers.
We welcome the release of political prisoners including former Governor Joseph Bangasi Bakasoro and Professor Leonzio Onek of Juba University. It is our understanding that the former governor in particular may need proper medical care, which might have been made worse by his long detention and that as a gesture of good-will the government should grant him access to medical care and fully cover for his medical treatment, preferably abroad. This will also accord him the opportunity to recuperate physically, mentally and emotionally before he can take his legitimate place in the rebuilding of our nation.
We urge for adequate procedures and criteria to be used for nominating the Speaker of the Transitional National Assembly. This should be expedited to progress integration of the Agreement into our Transitional Constitution of National Unity 2016 as the main governing document for the transitional period of 30 months. The citizens of South Sudan, friends and well-wishers expect the transitional government including the President and his two deputies, plus all constitutional post holders and armed personnel to abide by the rule of law and that arbitrary arrests and detentions should be things of the past.
The citizens of South Sudan have sacrificed for freedom and democratic rule for many decades and expect to be given political space to engage in national politics. And that politics in South Sudan should not be preserve to few chosen SPLM/A elites.
We again reiterate the need to return the country to the former 10 states. This will save time, energy and resources.
Last but not least we urge President Kiir and all members of the new executive team of the Transitional Government to refrain from taking actions or making statements that are detrimental to peaceful implementation of the Agreement. For instance, undue declaration of President’s ambition to contest for elections as SPLM flag bearer is regrettable. This automatically antagonises SPLM-IO and Former Detainees (FDs) and introduces tension and fear among prospective candidates and sends a wrong message to the already polarised citizens. The issue of elections is not a priority at this juncture and it will be good judgment to leave it until the last 6 months of the transitional period before commencing active campaigning. This will give the public the chance to vote for a candidate not based on ethnicity but on performance. Let the people judge the TGONU on its own record of achievement come election time.
Another issue the President is well advised to steer clear of is the question of governance or federalism. The ARCISS states unequivocally that this matter will be decided by the Transitional National Assembly (TNA) during the transitional period. The President can quietly lobby for his position on this matter but should refrain from making public statements intended to influence public opinion or the parliamentary process. South Sudanese should be allowed to evolve politically and make their own judgement on national issues. It is time that we start seeing the rule by decrees reduce, and for the people entrusted to govern to make decisions.
THE EQUATORIAN LEADERS IN THE DIASPORA:
- Mr. Federico Vuni, Equatorian Community Leader in the UK
- Mr. Kwaje Lasu, Equatorian Community Leader in the USA
- Mr. Joseph Modi, Equatorian Community Leader in Canada
- Mr William Orule, Equatorian Community Leader in Australia