‘JMEC’ Says Peace is at stake in South Sudan, Both Kiir and Machar are bent on Military Approach

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The head of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission, a body set to monitor the implementation of the IGAD brokered peace agreement in South Sudan said there is no political will among warring factions to talk peace.

Festus Gontebanye Mogae who is also Botswana’s former president said both Riek Machar and Salva Kiir “seem to be bent on military rather than a political solution” to the crisis in the country. He said it was regrettable.

“The problem and challenge South Sudan is that there is no political will to do the right thing to end the fighting” a seemingly frustrated Mogae said.

“The Problem is that these guys (Riek Machar and Salva Kiir), the very sight of each other is provocative” Mogae added.

Mogae who was speaking to the BBC program Focus on Africa said the situation in south Sudan remains tense following the appointment of former opposition chief negotiator Taban Deng Gai as a replacement to Riek Machar.

He said there are pending questions on whether Gai was nominated by a legally acceptable organisation or committee of the opposition.

“The agreement says the SPLM-IO will nominate the person to be appointed as First Vice President.  We don’t know the body in the IO that nominated that person (Taban Deng Gai). We don’t know how many people are required (and) the positions they hold. (We don’t know) whether the IO has an executive committee, whether it is a political party or not” he said

He said JMEC has observed that apart from the dramatic events that have been going on since fighting broke out, lots of killings have been going on.

The Commission according to Mogae is still committed to the deployment of regional peace keeping force to pacify the tense security situation.

He also said Senior military officers in the opposition he spoke to still paid allegiance to Riek Machar.

Asked if JMEC would convince President Kiir to accept the deployment, Mogae said Kiir told him “he would consider a possibility of additional forces for the protection of Machar and the SPLM-IO but on conditions acceptable to him”.