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NAIROBI - 27 Jul 2018

Bakosoro blasts mediators over governance deal

Photo: Joseph Bagasi Bakosoro
Photo: Joseph Bagasi Bakosoro

The former Western Equatoria State Governor Joseph Bagasi Bakosoro has blasted the East African regional bloc IGAD, saying it failed to identify the root cause of the conflict.

Bakosoro, who is a member of the opposition alliance, refrained from signing a power sharing deal in Khartoum on Wednesday, saying the outstanding issues in the document needed more work.

“The mediators have never asked why we are fighting in South Sudan so that we tell them,” Bakosoro, who is leading a rebel group calling itself South Sudan National Movement for Change (SSMC), told Radio Tamazuj in an interview today.

The former government official turned opposition leader said recent peace talks in the Sudanese capital Khartoum also failed to address the root cause of the ongoing conflict in South Sudan.

“Even Khartoum started with allocation of government positions without identifying the root cause of the conflict. Most of us were in the same government in Juba, but we fought, so the root cause must be addressed first,” he said.

“If we are not asked about the root cause of the conflict, I will not sign a peace agreement because of a government job. If you want to separate people who are fighting, you always ask them about the root cause of the fighting, but IGAD as a mediator didn’t ask us,” he said.

“We have been appealing to IGAD to address the root cause of the conflict in South Sudan, but it focuses no responsibility sharing only.”

Bakosoro pointed out that the conflict will inevitably erupt again if the root causes of the ongoing civil war are not addressed. The South Sudanese politician, who was part of the peace talks in Khartoum, said his group will never sign a fragile peace agreement.

However, he said they are still receptive to discussions with the mediation team on the peace proposal.” But the peace agreement has already been signed, so I think it will not be easy for us to push for amendments to be made. But our door is still open for talks if the government and SPLM-IO accept to reconsider their positions,” he said.

Bakosoro criticizes Makuei

The former governor has come out to condemn Information Minister Michael Makuei’s remarks against the smallest opposition groups that declined to sign the proposed governance agreement in Khartoum.

Makuei said Wednesday that the opposition groups that refrained from signing the peace deal are insignificant and have no effect.

“Who is insignificant in South Sudan? Anybody is important whether he is big or small. If they believe that the groups are not important, then it is a big problem in South Sudan,” Bakosoro said.

“If the minister of information says we are insignificant, let them go ahead with their peace and we will see whether they will succeed or not. I think it is not wise to say that your brother is insignificant,” he added.

Bakosoro further noted that the opposition alliance will hold meetings to decide on the way forward after the government and the main opposition group had initialed the power sharing agreement.

He blamed the opposition group South Sudan United Movement/Army (SSUM/A) for taking a unilateral decision to the sign the proposed peace deal in defiance of the alliance’s decision.

“It was a surprise to us when they signed the agreement because we had agreed all of us not to sign,” he said.