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Machar’s exclusion a violation of peace accord, says analyst

President Kiir (R) and SPLM-Io leader Machar shake hands after the signing of the revitalized peace agreement on 12 September 2018 (photo AFP)

September 21, 2019 (JUBA) – Any attempt to form South Sudan’s Transitional Government of National Unity without involving rebel leader Riek Machar will violate the revitalized peace agreement, an analyst said.

On Thursday, South Sudan President Salva Kiir hinted possibilities of forming a government that could exclude Machar in November.

Kiir made these remarks during prayers organised by South Sudan Council of Churches (SSCC) at State House in the capital, Juba.

But James Okuk, a political analyst, said a coalition government that does not include Machar’s armed opposition faction contravenes the revitalized peace deal.

“Dr Riek Machar is a signatory to the peace agreement and excluding him from the Transition Government of National Unity would be a violation of provisions of the same accord," Okuk, a Political Science lecturer at Juba University, said Saturday.

He said for any meaningful coalition government to be formed, all signatories to the peace agreement signed in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia last year, have to be consulted.

Barely two weeks ago, President Kiir and Machar for the first time since they last interfaced during a meeting organized by Pope Francis at the Vatican in April.

During closed-door meetings between Kiir and Machar in Juba, both leaders committed to the timely formation of the new government.

The two rivals also agreed to form a committee to look into the final report of the Independent Boundary Commission (IBC), number of states and their boundaries and come up with findings suitable for both parties and the people of South Sudan.

South Sudan descended into war in mid-December 2013 when Kiir accused Machar of plotting a coup.

In September 2018, the rival factions involved in the conflict signed a peace deal to end the conflict that has killed tens of thousands of people and displaced over 2 million people in the country.

The power-sharing arrangements under the deal were supposed to take effect in May, but the process was delayed by six months until November as both sides disagreed on security arrangements.