March 31, 2020 (JUBA) - Lam Akol, the National Democratic Movement (NDM) leader said the South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA) is no longer a viable alternative to lead the country as they back the government's stand systematically.
Akol made his statement in a recent interview with the Juba based AlMaugif Newspaper he extended to Sudan Tribune in its English version.
The alliance which was formed in March 2018 gathers nine political groups to ensure a "radical political, economic and security transformation" in the country and to restore its integrity.
However, when the peace agreement was signed in September 2018 some groups such as NAS, PDM among other, split after their refusal to endorse the deal.
Also, the alliance has been characterized by the power struggle between the remaining members and as a result, the SSOA split again into 2 groups, one led by Josephine Lago and other by Denay.
During the interview, Akol developed the idea that the SSOA after the relocation of its factions in Juba in November 2018 slowly espoused the government language and positions.
"We became no longer that alliance that was well known during the peace negotiations. The differences in positions between us and the Government narrowed since that time and in the end, those differences disappeared," he asserted.
He added that these divisions did not obstruct the agreement an agreement over the need to have one position for the nomination for government positions.
He was referring to the deal struck between the two factions for the nomination of the alliance three ministers and deputy minister and the vice-president without holding a meeting on these matters before.
Akol, also, said that the SSOA positions on any issue were identical to the government one pointing to the past differences over the 32 states, the formation of the transitional government in May and November 2019 before to recall their stances on the number of states and the security arrangements which were similar to the government.
"The only logical conclusion is that SSOA is now hands-in-glove with the Government and they don't have any differences with it anymore," he stressed without indicating his decision on the future of the alliance.
The alliance still has to nominate its candidates for a governor and local government officials.
March 31, 2020 (KHARTOUM) - The IGAD leaders on Monday agreed to establish a strategy to fight pandemic diseases and an emergency fund for its implementation.
The heads of states and governments of the IGAD held a meeting on Monday chaired by the Sudanese Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok who is also the Chair of the IGAD Assembly of Heads of State and Government.
The extraordinary meeting was dedicated to deliberate on an IGAD strategy to combat the spread of the Corona Virus (COVID-19) in the region.
Besides Hamdok, took part in the video conference discussions Djibouti's President, Ismail Omar Guelleh, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed; South Sudan FVP Riek Machar and the IGAD Executive Secretary Workneh Gebeyehu.
In a statement released after the meeting, the regional body agreed on the need for a joint approach to deal with the respiratory disease due to the strong interactivity and circulation of the population in the region.
The IGAD leaders decided to "Formulate an IGAD Regional Response Strategy to pandemic diseases particularly COVID-19. IGAD Ministers of Health and Finance shall meet virtually to inform the strategy," said the statement.
Further, they decided to "Establish an IGAD Emergency Fund for the control of pandemic diseases and the strengthening of health systems in the region".
The IGAD also agreed to strengthen national health systems and build local manufacturing capacity for medical equipment and supplies to fight pandemic diseases.
They also called on the international financial institutions to cancel the debts of IGAD countries to free up resources to fight the Coronavirus.
March 31, 2020 (KHARTOUM) - The holdout Sudan Liberation Movement/Army of Abdel Wahid al-Nur (SLM/A-AW) accepted the UN's calls for a ceasefire in Darfur but reiterated its rejection to join the peace process in Juba.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres earlier on 22 March issued an appeal for a global ceasefire in the conflict-hit areas across the world to allow efforts to combat the spread of coronavirus and deliver humanitarian assistance to civilians.
Three days later, UNAMID head Jeremiah Mamabolo called on the SLM-AW to join the ongoing peace process in Juba and to cease fighting in Darfur. In the same vein, Gwi-Yeop Son, the Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan, calling for a ceasefire across Sudan on 29 March.
In a six-page long statement issued on 30 March, the SLM-AW leader Abdel Wahid al-Nur responded positively to Guterres call pointing that the first to call for an international action to prevent the spread of CVID-19 in the camps of Darfur displaced persons and refugees on 19 March.
Also, he criticized Hamdok government saying that it has no authority on the ground and that the power "remains in the hands of the leadership of the Sudanese Armed Forces" and the "Janjaweed genocidaire militias".
Further, al-Nur repeated his rejection of the peace process taking in the South Sudanese capital which he described as "a cosmetic exercise" to " legitimize a transitional government that lacks genuine sovereignty".
"As we have clearly stated the SLM will only participate in full negotiations when all stakeholders will have a true, unfettered voice at both the regional and national level and no longer under the gun of the forces of the old order," he stressed.
"We can assure the UN, however, as is clearly established that the SLA will continue to exercise a de facto ceasefire and not engage in offensive operations," he declared.
He further said that they will only respond in self-defence to hostile attacks by the Rapid Support Forces or "other armed aggressors" on their military positions or civilians.
He further called on the United Nations to deliver the needed humanitarian support to the war-affected civilians in Darfur and not to withdraw UNAMID but instead reinforce it.