Feb 22, 2020(Nyamilepedia) — South Sudan’s main opposition leader, Dr. Riek Machar Teny, the chairman and the Commander-in-Chief of the armed opposition, SPLM/A(IO), has today been sworn in as the country’s First Vice President in a bid to form the long awaited Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (RTGNU).
Speaking after his swearing in, Dr. Machar promised the people of South Sudan that the parties will work collectively to ensure that peace returns to the country.
“First, I take this opportunity to congratulate the people of the Republic Of South Sudan for attaining peace. I want to assure you we will work collectively to end your long Suffering.” Said Dr. Riek Machar during his swearing in ceremony.
Sworn in by Chief Justice Chan Reech Madut before President Salva Kiir, Dr. Machar thanked IGAD, TROIKA, AU, C5 Countries, China, Japan and the international community for supporting peace in South Sudan.
“We also recognize the role played by AU, AUPSC, the C5, UN, Troika, EU, IGAD Partners, Japan, China and the International Community.” Dr. Machar said.
Machar appreciates his arch-rival, President Salva Kiir, for inaugurating peace and importantly for reverting the country back to 10 states.
“Our special thanks to President Kiir for steering the country to peace particularly his courageous decision to revert the country to ten states.” Machar continued.
The main opposition leader underscored the reservations of his party, however, he reiterates his commitment to peace
“Finally, I believe, Your Excellencies, have received the SPLM/SPLA(IO) proposal for an addendum to the agreement on the remaining pre-transitional tasks, this is to ensure sustainability of the implementation of the Agreement” Machar underscores the important of full implementation of the pre-transitional period.
“ln conclusion, once again, I would like to reiterate my commitment and the commitment of SPLM/SPL.A(IO) to work closely with peace partners and particularly President Kiir Mayardit to implement the agreement in letter and spirit” He further assures.
On his part, President Salva Kiir also assured the people of South Sudan of his commitment to peace saying that peace has come to stay.
“This action signifies the end to the war,” Kiir told the gathering of dignitaries and journalists. “Peace has come and it has come to stay.”
“My brother Dr. Machar and I are now partners in the peace agreement.” Kiir further said.
Alongside Machar, three other vice presidents namely H. E James Wani Igga, H.E. Stephen Taban Deng Gai and H.E. Rebecca Nyandeang de Mabior took oath of office.
While James Wani Igga has been serving as the Vice President since August 2013, Gen. Taban replaced Dr. Machar in July 2016 when the first agreement collapsed.
On the other hands, H.E Rebecca Nyandeang and one more vice president, that is yet to be decided by the South Sudan Opposition Alliance, are requirements of the new peace agreement.
Her Excellency Rebecca Nyandeang, a wife to late SPLM/A Chairman Dr. John Garang de Mabior, represents a barely existing group of former detainees, and also women who are to be allotted 35% of power sharing in the new peace agreement.
Despite euphoria for peace and stability as one main requirement, forming a transitional government, is being fulfilled, there remain critical outstanding issues to be resolved by the parties.
According to the agreement that was signed on September 12, 2018, the parties were expected to train, unify and deploy their forces during the pre-transitional period that has expired two times so far and subsequently demilitarized cities and civilians centers.
So far less than 25% of the security arrangement has been implemented and Dr. Machar continues to retain one of the largest military group in the country except in the city – Juba where is security and safety will be taken care of by his arch rivals.
In addition, the parties were expected to collectively disseminate the peace agreement to citizens within and outside the country, and also incorporate the peace agreement into the Transitional constitution of the country.
Due to numerous outstanding issues, critics observe the little progress made so far with reservations citing the 2016 incidents and many past failures by the leaders to take any opportunity to restore peace and stability in the country.
“This was the only foreseeable path forward. It is a momentous day,” said Alan Boswell, an analyst focusing on South Sudan at the International Crisis Group, who was in Juba for the ceremony Saturday and recently returned from areas where Kiir and Machar’s security forces were attempting to integrate into one unified army.
“In other ways, though, it is a crawling step forward and doesn’t drastically change the situation in the country,” he added. “South Sudan isn’t going to emerge from being a failed state overnight. It will take the work of generations to put its shattered pieces back together — even to get it back to where it was at independence.”
According to Hon. Duer Tut Duer, a former governor and a senior official of Dr. Machar’s SPLM/A faction, accepting the formation of the R-TGoNU without implementation of the critical issues such as Security Arrangment amounts to violation of the peace deal and betrayal of the cause the SPLM/A(IO) stands for.
“Accepting the formation of the R-TGoNU without or before the Implementation of the security arrangements as stipulated in the R-ARCSS, means: violation of the Article: 2.2. of the R-ARCSS, [that] the Chairman of the SPLM-IO surrendered to the Government, [that] the Chairman of the SPLM-IO betrayed the cause of our struggle, and that the Chairman of the SPLM-IO betrayed the spirit of Struggle of our fallen heroes and heroines.” Said Hon. Duer Tut Duer.
Despite criticism and visible weaknesses, many South Sudanese reiterate their commitment to see peace and stability return to the country.
South Sudan plunged into a political civil war that quickly turned tribal as leaders mobilized support along tribal lines in December 2013.
So far over 400, 000 are confirmed dead, nearly five million people displaced and more than half of the remaining population survive through the mercy of the international community.
The return of peace could salvage South Sudan’s dwindling economy that depends on oil production which was paralyzed by the conflict.