Kampala. The Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement-In Opposition (SPLM-IO) has dismissed media reports that they have struck an agreement to join the government.
The statement issued on Monday by the opposition denied reports that Riek Machar and his rival, president Salva Kiir, had conclusively agreed to work together during the Entebbe meeting.
The SPLM-IO National Information Committee chairperson Mabior Garang De Mabior said the proposals by President Museveni and Omar Bashir of Sudan were not final.
“The proposal presented by President Museveni was discussed verbally, in a cordial environment, but there was no official document presented to the chairman [Dr Machar] and, therefore, the proposal, is not official,” the statement reads in part.
The SPLM-IO says they rejected the proposals because they only focused on accommodation of politicians, while ignoring the radical reforms needed to effect in fundamental change in South Sudan.
They also stated that there will be no shortcut to the peace process.
“We are following the IGAD peace process and the Movement shall not accept any shortcuts to peace by vested interests, whether locally, within the region or beyond,” the group stated.
President Museveni and Mr Bashir had proposed that Mr Kiir remains in power but be deputised by the four vice presidents, with the incumbents Taban Deng Gai and James Wani Igga keeping their jobs.
An additionally, a slot will be ring-fenced for a woman, but from the opposition.
The two also suggested that the number of members of the national legislature be increased by 150 to 550, with SPLM-IO taking up 100 slots and 50 reserved for other opposition actors, and expanding ministerial portfolios from 30 to 45 members.
Dr Machar’s team will snap up 10 of the additional 15 positions, leaving other opposition groups to share five.
It was also suggested that the country’s current 32 states be maintained, and an ad hoc Interim Boundary Commission be established to survey frontiers of the states within three months.
From the onset, SPLA/M-IO demanded more time to consult internally before reaching a conclusion.
The group was given up to Tuesday (yesterday) to come up with their position to be presented to Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta at a similar engagement meeting on a day yet to be fixed.
South Sudan has been embroiled in war for the greatest part of her independence obtained in 2011.
On Monday, the members of SPLM-IO held celebrations at Makerere University for the release of Dr Machar from detention in South Africa two weeks ago.
Dr Machar, who is now in Sudan, had been under house arrest in South Africa after fleeing bloody clashes in South Sudan on July 8 2016 at the Presidential palace.
The SPLM-IO representative in Uganda, Mr Ambrose Lomin, told Daily Monitor yesterday that the release of Mr Machar will give confidence to the ongoing peace talks.