On his return to Juba from Rome where the Rome Declaration between the Juba regime and the South Sudan Opposition Movements (SSOMA) was signed, Barnaba Marial Benjamin bluntly lied at the State House to the media and the general public about what was discussed and signed at the Community of Sant’Egidio in Rome.
According to a story published by the South Sudan Presidential Press Unit on their official Facebook page, Barnaba Marial. who headed the Juba delegation to the talks, said the signed Rome Declaration “included [the] immediate cessation of hostilities, inclusivity of the non-signatories to the revitalized peace agreement into the peace process and the recommitment of the Revitalized peace agreement and its implementation.”
The only truthful thing about what he said was that the signatories of the Rome Declaration recommitted themselves to the cessation of hostilities effective 15th of January. However, the rest of the statement (inclusivity into the peace process, recommitment to the already failed peace agreement and the implementation of it) is sadly nothing but blatant lies.
The only direct mention of the failing R-ARCSS in the document was in point 7 where it was used to further provide some context as to what the term ‘non-signatories’ is about.
If anything, the South Sudanese should have expected a bit more diplomacy and much more truth from Barnaba Marial Benjamin, the former Minister of Foreign Affairs who fell from grace and lost his job after he referred to Luka Biong Deng, a South Sudanese from Abyei, as non-national and a citizen of the Republic of Sudan.
It seems the disgraced politician has not learned much from his past mistakes and is keen on disappointing the peace-seeking people of South Sudan as he picks up from where he left as a loyal servant of Salva Kiir, and tries to yet mislead the folk.
His motives aside, the truth and the determination of the people of South Sudan to strive for what is rightfully theirs, will persist, prevail and expose the lies being told by profiteers who have for way too long suppressed, oppressed and manipulated the masses for their personal gain.
Contrary to all the lies, the points and issues that were discussed revolved around finding a new mechanism (not the failed R-ARCSS or its implementation) that will attempt to address the root causes of the conflict (not touched by R-ARCSS).
Why would SSOMA discuss R-ARCSS and/or its implementation when it is an alliance of non-signatories?
What would SSOMA (again non-signatories) have to say about the implementation of R-ARCSS when the signatories themselves still have a tonne of unresolved (unresolvable) issues years into the agreement?
Unless Barnaba Marial is talking about another imaginary declaration, the Rome Declaration signed on 12th January 2020 at the Community of Sant’Egidio in Rome by SSOMA members and the Juba regime had nothing to do with the failing R-ARCSS, its implementation (or lack of), and the inclusivity of non-signatories therein.