South Sudan Democratic Forum
Jan. 13 2005
The South Sudan Democratic Forum would like to inform the public that the negative rumors being circulated about the South Sudan Defense Force (SSDF) are untrue. The leadership of SSDF is united. The SSDF’s Leadership Council approved the SSDF’s negotiation team that went to Juba to negotiate with SPLA.
There are members of SSDF and South Sudan Democratic Forum who may have concerns about the concessions made by SSDF’s negotiation team that signed Juba Declaration. However, those concerns are normal and could arise within any organization. During the negotiation between SPLM/A and the National Congress Party at Naivasha, there were some concessions made by late John Garang which disappointed SPLA members. But they did not cause division within the SPLM/A.
Juba Declaration is subject to ratification by SSDF’s Leadership Council. As soon as the technical teams of SSDF headed by Chief-of-staff Paulino Matip finish their work, they will present the whole agreement to the Leadership Council for review. If there are some concessions deemed unreasonable, they will be amended as either “Addendums” or “Modalities of Implementation of Juba Declaration”.
One of the concessions, which caused concern within SSDF, is the name of the army. It should be recalled that the SSDF’s negotiation team that attended June-July, 2005 dialogue with the SPLA’s former leader Dr. Garang had a position that the name of the unified army should be “South Sudan Armed Force”. The SSDF’s negotiation team in Juba dropped that position because the National Congress Party may regard “South Sudan Armed Force” as an indirect declaration of South Sudan independence before 2011 referendum. The National Congress Party is not a willing partner of the CPA and is always looking for opportunities to derail the agreement. The concession made by SSDF’s team on the issue of the army is understandable based on the evil intentions of the NCP.
However, majority of members of SSDF and Democratic Forum Party considered the concession made by SSDF’s negotiation team in Juba as intellectual laziness. The SSDF’s team could have come up with the name that could not be used negatively by NCP. There are two important suggestions that our team might have argued for. One is the creation of “SPLA-SSDF”. The other is “Democratic SPLA”. These two names cannot be regarded by the NCP as the violation of the CPA. Moreover, South Sudan needs an army which is not connected to the old SPLA of John Garang because the old SPLA committed human rights abuses and is associated with evils, which nearly destroyed the South. “SPLA-SSDF” or “Democratic SPLA” could show to the people of the South that there is a new army of all groups. Secondly, the use of “Democratic SPLA” is appropriate to demonstrate that it is used for technical reasons dictated by the CPA.
The Democratic Forum congratulates the SSDF’s negotiation team for the gains they made for SSDF in power sharing. The shortcomings and concessions made will be corrected during ratification period. Juba Declaration is not the end of the negotiation between the SPLA and SSDF. If the SSDF’s Leadership Council has some points to add to the agreement, it will send a technical team with “Addendums”.
The South Sudan Democratic Forum expresses its appreciation to the new SPLM/A leadership in negotiating in good faith. We demand H.E. Salva Kiir to continue his open-mindedness until the signing of South Sudan Comprehensive Peace Agreement. It took SPLM/A three years to sign CPA with the National Congress Party. The people of the South Sudan should first get into the kingdom of God before everything is added to them. The most important thing should not be the pursuit of power, but the attainment of South Sudan aspirations.
G. Buay Reath
Chairman of South Sudan Democratic Forum-Canada
Tel. (613) 260-9307
E-mail: [email protected]