The acting spokesperson of the SPLA in opposition says there is need to demilitarize Juba before the establishment of the interim government.
Colonel Lam Gabriel said guns are still in the hands of civilians and unauthorized persons, which could pose a threat to peace.
Last week, President Salva Kiir – for the second time – extended an invitation to Dr. Riek Machar to return home for the formation of the Revitalized Government of National Unity due for 12th May, as stipulated in the peace agreement.
But the main opposition leader – who earlier proposed a 6-month extension of the pre-transitional period to allow for the implementation of unimplemented security arrangements – insists that he will not return to Juba until the provisions are put in place.
Echoing his boss’ position, Colonel Lam argues that one of the most critical security arrangement that should be implemented beforehand is the demilitarization of the capital, Juba, to avoid a recurrence of 2016 incident.
“Without us stabilizing the security, what if Dr. Machar comes tomorrow and there is a clash in Juba? We need to be stable, we need to stabilize the security in this country,” he said.
But the President argues that some of the security arrangement can be addressed through an established government of all parties. He said it is not ideal to “tick every box” in the agreement before parties can form the ReTGoNU.
However, Colonel Lam insists that Dr. Machar’s safety and the stability of the next government hinges on demilitarized towns, unarmed civil population and the disbandment of paramilitaries.
“These guns we need to control them because we have guns in the hands of very many people, even civilians, even militias,” he told Eye Radio.
“If we are not able to control these guns, we just let everyone hold a gun and move with it freely and we are not having command and control of whoever has got gun, then this country will not be at peace that is where our worry is.”
IGAD has invited President Salva Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar for a meeting in Addis Ababa on May 2nd – 3rd to discuss “the implementation of the peace agreement and the way forward”.
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