By Nhial Gatkuoth Chung
November 9th 2019 (Nyamilepedia) – The recent tripartite meeting held in Kampala by the leaders of South Sudan president Salva Kiir Mayardit and his main rival leader Dr. Riek Machar of SPLM/A in opposition under the auspices of president Museveni of Uganda and the Sudanese sovereign military council leader General Al-Burhan who are the guarantors of the 2018 peace agreement.
The meeting was purposely meant to reassess and evaluate the progress of the implementation in which they are aware of its status and to convince the two principals to compromise and implement the outstanding issues as the date line for the formation of the government of national unity on time was looming, this meeting came as a result of the ongoing pressure from the international community on the leaders to show strong leadership and form the government on time with pending issues resolved, as in the last few days, president Kiir has been vocal on the formation of the RTGONU “with or without IO participation in November 12, things turned out as his main rival Dr. Riek Machar clearly stated in second face to face meeting that was held in state house (J1) that he will not be part of the upcoming RTGONU if the security arrangement and number states issue are not well placed and resolved amicably according to what the agreement says in the presence of united security council members who visited Juba to push two leaders to iron out the pending issues.
Kampala meeting came out with 100 days (three months) extension plan in order to overcome the burning issues in the agreement that is hindering the formation of the revitalized unity government. The 100 days extension will add no value as long as there is no political will between the both sides.
President Museveni is a partisan and has deeply involved in South Sudan conflict since the eruption of war in South Sudan six years ago, he has been the right hand man of president Salva Kiir, and he deployed Ugandan forces to fight alongside with the government of Salva Kiir in order to defeat the opposition forces that was almost matching to capture Juba in early days of the conflict. The new U-turn which made him as a catalyze for peace in South Sudan is in a big question mark due partiality reasons, his involvement in brokering peace process as a guarantor in South Sudan is what delays the real implementation because of his double face, his economic and political interest in SSD is his number one priority, he is the one advising president to do what it takes to frustrate the success of the agreement so the SSD remains in the same and his malicious business continues.
The first pre-transitional period elapsed without any progress in security arrangement which was very critical in the agreement, six months were later added but the status remains the same, and now the 100 days extension, do you think the government has political will to resolve the outstanding within the time frame? The answer is a big NO. The government has been reluctant to implement the agreement in letter and spirit its signature a year ago.
The implementation of chapter II (permanent ceasefire and transitional security arrangement) is very key for the viability of the agreement and stability of the country, it’s also good for South Sudanese including president himself if he means real peace to prevail in the country, the amalgamation and training of unified forces gives him supreme powers to control and to be the only commander in chief of the unified national army unlike 2015 agreement which created two army and two commander in chiefs and the result was what we saw in 2016 J1 dogfight.
The cantonment areas which were identified lately were all deserted by the soldiers after they successfully gathered there due to lack of essential needs and services (food, water, shelters and medicines) in the assembly points, it’s up to the current government to put forth an effort and deal with the setbacks in order to overcome the hindrances, and inject necessary fund for the smooth implementation of the agreement.
Another issue that Mr. president never talks about it in all his speeches is the issue of number of states and their boundaries , president finds it hard and impractical to revert back to the 10 states as stipulated in the revitalized agreement. The establishment Order number 36 which created 28 states and 32 states thereafter was known as a clear violation to the agreement which recognized 10 states, the status of states is an issue that will jeopardize the agreement in the next 100 days’ time and it will remain as a bone of contention between the rival forces if compromises will not be made.
If South Sudanese need more states, the referendum can be carried or a committee is formed to look into the issue and come up with undisputable findings not like what the current states decreed and later said to be a popular demand and no referendum was conducted to know if the more states was a demand from the people.
South Sudanese have suffered in the hands of these current leaders, they want a space and a place that is stable, secured and peaceful, they need peace to rebuild their lives that have been shattered by the war imposed on them by their leaders.
South Sudanese need peace so that the internally displaced and those who crossed our borders for the search of security and food should return back home and help in the development of the country.
This is the last chance for our leaders to prioritize the lives of the people of South Sudan, last chance to silent guns, last chance to bring permanent peace home.
South Sudanese need peace so that justice is served to those who committed crimes against innocent people during the conflict.
The author is a concerned South Sudanese who lives in Ghana and can be via: firstname.lastname@example.org
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