Juba Declaration has collapsed - Salva Kiir should dialogue with Gordon Koang
South Sudan Democratic Forum
April 10, 2006 — It is with great sorrow and regret that the Democratic Forum Party would inform the world that Juba Declaration signed on Jan, 8, 2006 is collapsing. As the former leader of SSDF Paulino Matip alluded to in a press conference in Khartoum on March 31st, the implementation of the agreement is rendered meaningless because key SSDF leaders did not take part in the declaration.
The international community needs to be informed about the problems which led to the collapse of the agreement between Lt. Gen. Paulino Matip and Lt. Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit in Juba. Each one of the signatories of the declaration is partly responsible for the ongoing collapse of the agreement.
The leaderships of the Democratic Forum and South Sudan United Democratic Alliance (SSUDA) made a lot of attempts in December, 2005, to reconcile Paulino Matip with Gordon Koang before the dialogue between the SPLA and SSDF resumed. Lt. Gen. Matip was seriously advised to seek consensus with his top generals before going to Juba to dialogue with SPLA. Gen. Gordon Koang, who is currently the Chief of Staff of SSDF, raised important issues that required debate and agreement among five hundred and two officers of SSDF before any dialogue commenced with SPLA. Paulino Matip unilaterally rejected his concerns and proceeded to Juba with two hundred and fifty officers leaving Gordon Koang and the rest of officers behind.
The points raised by Gordon Koang before his split with Matip are not new. Paulino Matip himself raised those points in 1987 during negotiation between the SPLA and AnyaNya II in Kuanylow, Nasir. By then, Matip was the AnyaNya II commander of Western Upper Nile. He objected to the peace process and advised Gordon Koang to convene a general meeting of all AnyaNya II forces before concluding any agreement with SPLA. Gordon Koang refused and signed an agreement without his forces under Matip in Western Upper Nile. Matip refused to join Gordon Koang until 1991 Nasir Declaration.
During the negotiation between the SPLA and AnyaNya II, Paulino Matip raised his concerns to Gordon Koang, who by then was the leader and C-in-C of AnyaNya Two. The first point Matip put forward for consideration was that the negotiation must not focus solely on integration without equitable arraignments of military hierarchy. The second point was the need for equitable power-sharing within the political wing of the SPLA. Matip called for ethnic diversity to become the basis of power sharing within the SPLM. The third point he raised was the reorientation of the army to respect the rights of civil populations. The fourth one was the need for the army to follow a code of conduct written by the leadership of AnyaNya II and the SPLA before the conclusion of the agreement.
In December, 2005, Gordon Koang raised similar points but in a different situation. The first argument put forward by Koang was the need for reshuffling of the Executive branch of South Sudan government to address ethnic diversity in line with power-sharing protocol of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. The second one called for a name of the army which would be satisfactory to both SPLA and SSDF while it doesn’t conflict with Security Arraignment Protocol of the CPA. The third one was that each armed group should contribute equal number to Joint Integrated Units (JIUs) while they both arraign military ranks without prejudice. The fourth one called for the existence of the White Army which is regulated by South Sudan Army to guarantee peace and security.
Lt. Gen. Matip did not only reject the points raised by Gen. Koang but also set aside the advice of SSDF politicians who preferred uniting the rank and file of SSDF before rushing to start negotiating with the SPLA. As soon as Juba Declaration was signed, the remaining two hundred and fifty SSDF officers whose concerns were ignored by Matip nominated Gen. Koang as the Chief-of-Staff of SSDF in January, 2006.
When Gordon Koang ignored the concerns of Paulino Matip in 1987, the AnyaNya II forces in Western Upper Nile who refused to follow him continued fighting the SPLA until 1991. The same state of affairs repeated itself with Juba Declaration. Matip did not only lose some of the senior officers who went with him to Juba but also created insecurity which did not exist before.
There are incidents which are happening that militate against the existence of Juba Declaration. As Matip himself clearly states in a press conference in Khartoum on March 31st, SSDF under Gordon Koang is currently controlling 75% of the Greater Upper Nile, 10% of Greater Bahr El Ghazal, and 15% of Greater Equatoria.
There are military confrontations between the SPLA of Matip and SSDF of Gordon Koang in Greater Upper Nile which are becoming daily routine. On March, 28, SPLA forces of Matip were chased out of Gurnyang County in Nasir by the SSDF. The same problem occurred in Longuchuk. Pan-gak County is now controlled by SSDF after the mayor, Maluit wiy escaped to Juba for his life. The headquarter of Matip in Mankien in Unity State is under the command of Gordon Koang’s SSDF. SSDF’s generals like Dor Manjur and Mabiny Minytuil currently controlled 90% of Unity State. Paulino Matip is militarily in a depressing situation after Gen. Gatdet Yaka and Benson Kuany Latjor rejoined SSDF. Benson Kuany is the founding father of AnyaNya II. He was the leader of the movement from 1975-1983. He is a very tough and tactician fighter who always wins battles.
The SPLA of Salva Kiir, unlike the SPLA of Matip which is made up of former SSDF soldiers, should be partly held responsible for the collapse of Juba Declaration. The pre-Juba Declaration SPLA is a disorganized force without a coherent leadership. The mistakes committed by the SPLA forces in early January to attempt disarming the White Army of Uror County while SSDF-SPLA technical committees were still negotiating in Juba, created a public relation disaster for declaration itself. Col. Wutnyang of the SPLA, a well-known spiritual leader of the Nuer was killed in Yuai by the White Army. On April, 4, the SPLA forces under Gen. Bol Kong attempted again to disarm the White Army in Kuachdeang. The result was war which compelled him to withdraw his forces to Southern Jonglei State for safety.
Another clash between the SPLA of Matip and White Army occurred in early April in Mandeang, Nasir. The fighting led to civilian displacement and another blow to the Juba Declaration. The recent fighting between Nuer and Dinka of SPLA Joint Integrated Units in Wau also added to the death of Juba Declaration. The Wau incident was caused by refusal of SPLA officer in command of JIUs to pay the 2000 Nuer soldiers for two months while the Dinka soldiers have been receiving salaries since January. The Nuer of SPLA reacted to the inequality by attacking their comrades. Around 200 are reported to have died in both sides. The biggest problem is that all the 2000 SPLA Nuer in Wau left their garrison and arrived in Unity State on April, 9th after burning down five SPLA garrisons on their way to Nuerland. It is now confirmed by the Government of South Sudan in Juba that those forces joined the SSDF.
Since Juba Declaration has totally failed to bring peace, the South Sudan Democratic Forum Party has recommended the following points to Lt. Gen. Salva Kiir as a basis for peace and reconciliation among South Sudan armed groups:
Initiation of dialogue between the SPLA and SSDF under Gen. Gordon Koang that would lead to genuine peace and reconciliation.
The Democratic Forum would like to appeal to IGAD, US, and the European Union to:
Put pressure on Lt. Gen. Salva Kiir to convene South-South dialogue between the SPLA and SSDF.
The Democratic Forum calls upon the SSDF leadership to:
Cease all hostilities with SPLA and find a way to come to the table with Lt. Gen. Salva Kiir.
Gordon Buay Reath, Chairman of South Sudan Democratic Forum-Canada