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South Sudan non-signatories divided over SSOMA charter ahead of peace talks

Sant'Egidio Mediator Paolo Impagliazzo (C) poses with Barnaba Marial Benjamin (L) and Thomas Cirilo shaking hands after signing a ceasefire agreement in Roma on 14 Feb 2020 (Sant Egidio photo)
October 4, 2020 (JUBA) - The Real SPLM of Pagan Amum has refused to sign the SSOMA charter unless the South Sudan United Front (SSUF) of Paul Malong is reintegrated in the alliance of the non-signatory groups, ahead of peace talks on 9 October.

On 25 September, The alliance suspended the SSUF because he established a separate channel of communication with the mediation team of Sant’Egidio breaching the “spirit of comradeship and trust within the Alliance”. Further, the former South Sudanese army chief of staff was accused of being in contact with his old friend President Salva Kiir.

However; Amum refused to suspend Malong.

In a meeting held on 26 September, the South Sudan Opposition Movements Alliance (SSOMA) discussed its new charter including the alliance objectives and principles.

The charter seen by Sudan Tribune provides to establish a strong federal system in the country that grants large powers to the state governments. The state governors will be elected by the state residents. Also, the alliance calls to distinguish the federal and state jurisdictions and prevent interferences.

The discussion and the adoption of the charter were passed in the presence of all members including SSUF.

SSUF rejected the charter while RSPLM abstained from voting.

“Malong was against the federalism, collective leadership structure among other things”, sources who are privy to the ongoing discussions told Sudan Tribune on Sunday as discussions are still taking place between them.

“On Pagan, he acknowledged his agreement with the charter but will not sign it if Malong is not brought back,” the sources added.

The SSOMA charter was signed by Thomas Cirillo, NAS leader, Emmanuel Yoanes Ajawin of NDM/PF, Vakindi Leno Umvo of SSNMC/A and Gatwech K. Thick of UDRM/A.

The signatories of the charter seemingly plan to move forward without the Real SPLM as they do not plan to integrate Malong in the alliance.