Editorial – It was August last year, roughly 7 months, since the Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCISS) was sign and there has been no significant progress made in implementing this “imposed peace” as it’s always refereed to by the peace partners; the Government of South Sudan (GRSS), the SPLM/A in Opposition and other partners.
What has always been reported and running in the media is nothing in favor of moving forward with the peace implementation, but rather, we have only been hearing and talking on other major news which has either been running parallel or opposite to the ARCISS: The case in point has been the 28 states which runs in parallel with the ARCISS and the ceasefire violation, especially in Western Equatoria, Western Bahr el Gazel, Unity State and Upper Nile, which runs completely opposite with the peace agreement.
The citizens are squarely bearing both the brunt of economic crises and the civil war which has been more destructive on their entire living; they have no workable solution both on the economy and the civil war to try and stop it, but the leaders (Politicians) do.
When the SPLM-IO’s Advance Team arrived in Juba in December last year, hopes were high that a real peace was going to be in place so soon and the IDPs may returns homes. But few weeks later, as there was no progress on political and security resolutions between the two main warring parties, many citizens lost hopes again. This lost of hope was widen by the disagreement and rejection made by many peace partners on appointment of 28 states governors and dissolution of 10 states by Pres. Kirr.
The political discussion on 28 states has been quite so hot at some points as the goverment never wanted to hear voices that rejects or point out the negative social, political and economical impacts the 28 states may cause to the Country given the fact that they are created on ethnic lines with other communities’ land being given to others, especially to Dinka ethnic group in almost all the cases. Dr. Luka Biong Deng of the Center for Peace and Development Studies at the University of Juba was expelled because he organized an open discussion on the 28 states which got majority at the event criticizing the government with strong facts to why it was not a good idea to have 28 states at this time.
For common citizens who try to make senses of the ARCISS, the whole thing look so complicated: At one hand, it seem that the elements who are against the peace agreement especially from the goverment side are working so hard against it and wouldn’t stop before achieving their goal; they have succeeded in creating more states with their implementation is in the progress and are continuing their work on other projects in contrary to the ARCISS and implement them through President Kirr with threat in a tribal spirit. In the other hands, considering the fact that the parties couldn’t even manage the simple beginning of the peace implementation, doubts are eminence that the parties may not reach the final day of the TGoNU and achieve all the resolutions which includes compensation, healing and reconciliation among others. It’s also not so clear whether the TGoNU will really come to functioning and the two main leaders, Dr. Riek and Pres. Kirr, would actually work together in trust with the Country first in their heart and not their bloody political interest which has caused a great deal of suffering to the Country.
Latest reports from independents human right organization indicates unusual stocking of weapons around Juba, especially in Luri, including Gunships, missiles and modern Tanks privately owned by President Salva Kirr out of the regular SPLA-IO military operations. The equipment are bought directly by the head of Special Force of President Kirr who are predominantly from Warrap and Northern Bahr el Gazel with the purpose of protecting what is said to be “Jieng leadership”.
The said troops have no proper military training and disciplines and are immune to any crime they commit in the process as their mandate is not national but tribal and personal. This forces is one of the biggest threat to the peace prevailing in the Country.
Nevertheless, the latest progress which is ongoing in the security arrangement seem to have raise hope again; more specifically, the arrival of the IO troops to Juba is one of the indicators that the peace agreement implementation would come to speedy era, because it will pave way for the arrival of the rebel leader, Dr. Riek Machar to Juba and the subsequent formation of Transitional Government of National Unity which may shortly follow.
Looking at the states and level of suffering the citizens are going through, both economically and politically, it’s not really by default that the suffering will stop because peace is there and is being implemented. The citizens will always have their contradicting interpretation of the peace implementation which will be more or less a negative assumption. Well, they are right. They have had positives assumption of their hard-won Country but all is now a miserably suffering on them.
It’s up to President Salva Kirr Mayardit Deng Kuethping and Dr. Riek Machar Teny Dhurgon together with their teams and other peace partners to make all of us believe that the peace will not go up in smokes. We all wait finger crossed to see that it’s really becoming a reality and we shall get out of suffering.
Peace 4 South Sudan !!!