By our reporter
Even as the three major warring factions of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement finally signed a reconciliation agreement on July 27, 2017, the deal stands on weak foundation as a split with in Riek Machar’s group has emerged.
The “Entebbe Declaration to operationalize the Arusha Agreement on the reunification of the SPLM” came after several flopped meetings and postponements since May this year, which nearly saw the collapse of the reunification talks.
The pact was signed by SPLM-In Government, SPLM-In Opposition and SPLM-Former Detainees at State House Entebbe in Uganda, presided over by Uganda President Yoweri Museveni at State House Entebe.
While the Entebbe Declaration was supported by the SPLM factions, which signed and other groups in South Sudan like the National Democratic Movement, there are also indications of a split within the former rebel leader Machar’s SPLM-IO.
On the day the groups signed the Entebbe Declaration, Dr Machar’s group issued a strongly worded statement from its headquarters in Pagak, signed by Mabior Garang De Mabior (son to late John Garang), chairman of SPLM National Committee for Information and Public Relations, warning that the Entebbe process was born out of President Salva Kiir’s “forum shopping” and was “a mockery of the peace process.”
Yet the Entebbe Declaration was signed among others by the SPLM-IO Secretary General Dhieu Mathok Diing, on behalf of Dr Machar’s group, with SPLM-IO colleagues Richard K. Mulla, Tijwog H. Agwet and Lubna Abdelgani in attendance.
Others who appended their signatures on behalf of their respective groups are Acting SPLM-IG Secretary General Jemma Nunu Kumba and Deng Alor Kuol, Team Leader of SPLM Leaders (FDs), documents of the declaration show.
President Museveni signed as chairman of the East African Community and the guarantor of the agreement, while Betty Bigombe signed as witness and technical support expert to the Ugandan president.