Kiir wants Gatwech faction in Juba for talks

Kiir wants Gatwech faction in Juba for talks
President Salva Kiir (photo credit: courtesy)

President Salva Kiir has called on Gen. Simon Gatwech-led Kit-Gwang faction to come to Juba for negotiations to mend the rift within the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLA-IO).

According to the Presidential Security Advisor, Tut Gatluak—who led a delegation to Khartoum on Sunday to mediate Sudan’s ongoing political crisis— President Kiir wants the talks moved to Juba due to the unfavourable political environment that followed after toppling of Prime Minster Dr Abdallah Hamdok.

“We are not in Sudan to continue the talks with the group of Gatwech and Gen. Johnson Olony. We are here for the Sudanese parties to talk to them and to end their dispute,” said Gatluak as quoted by the Sudans Post.

“Nevertheless, we are also going to meet with the group of Gen. Gatwech and Gen. Olony because there is a proposal from the President of the State of South Sudan 1st Lt. Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit that these talks with the two generals be moved to Juba because here is not stable. I mean the security situation here.”

However, the mission to shift the talks to South Sudan’s capital has been concealed with little details left for the media to feed on. Yesterday, the former deputy minister of interior Mabior Garang also revealed that there were plans to conduct ceasefire talks to settle the strife currently eating into the SPLA-IO.

He warned that there were some unnamed people keen on using the keen Kit-Gwang Declaration to return the country into anarchy. He added the mission was to underscore the importance of the 2018 peace agreement. 

“We are no longer members of SPLM/A-IO because we have been disposed of by the military. We are coming in because there are disgruntle groups in the country who are trying to use the Kit-Gwang declaration to return the country to war. 

“So we are trying to play a role of peacemakers and also we are trying to make the former general [Simon Gatwech] understand that they are signatories to the agreement, and there is no new organization called Kit-Gwang,” said Mabior Garang before departing Juba on Wednesday.

Condition issued

However, in September, the members of the Kit-Gwang group, who have called for the implementation of the security arrangement, declined the offer to bring the talks to Juba but vouched for a far-flung location outside Juba under the mediation of Sudan. 

“We want President Kiir to send us a delegation to come to us [in] Magenis or Khartoum and we finalise everything. [We] don’t want to go to Addis Ababa or Rome for peace negotiations. We are military commanders,” said Gen. Gatwech in September. 

“When we announced the Kit-Gwang Declaration, the intention was not against anyone, but we declared ourselves so that the people could understand us and tell the public that the implementation of the peace agreement was not going on well,” he added. 

Talks between the government and Kit-Gwang began in early October in Khartoum and were to continue subsequently under the supervision of the Sudan interim government led by the now-ousted Prime Minister Hamdok.

In late October, the government suspended the talks due to Sudan’s uprising staged by military rule supporters and pro-civilian rule where both sides were pulling in different directions.

On August 3, Gen. Getwech and his deputy Gen. Johnson Olony claimed the leadership of the SPLM/A-IO, from the First Vice President, Dr Riek Machar, had neglected the implementation of security arrangements.

The move caused a split within the main opposition party to the revitalised peace agreement, sparking concerns among regional and international peace granters that it could ruin the peace process should it continue unabated.