By Ochaya Jackson
The South Sudanese President Salva Kiir, on Wednesday, admitted that he was painfully aware of the behind schedule implementation of the re-vitalized peace agreement, which is a disappointment to the citizens’ expectations, and called for collective effort to speed up the process by eliminating the obstacles to the agreement.
The President made the remark in his address to the nation during the country’s ninth anniversary of independence.
“Fellow compatriots, despite what we have achieved in terms of implementing the Revitalized Peace Agreement, I am acutely aware that the peace implementation remains painfully slow and far below your expectations. We must therefore collectively act in decisive fashion to pick up the pace in resolving sticky issues in the implementation of the agreement,” Kiir admittedly stated in an authored address to the nation.
The unity government formation was stalled two times in which the government was citing lack of fund, while oppositions were pointing to lack of political will by the governemt to implement the prerequisites of the agreement before any formation. Since then, the agreement is in tortoise movement. And recently, the unity government was formed at the executive level, and the appointment of state Governors and administrative areas so far.
The President, in his earlier addresses, had disclosed that he was not interested to work again with his main rival Dr. Riek Machar, after the war broke out in 2013 and in the aftermath of 2016 fighting at Presidential Palace. But he said it was because of the nation’s interest and its people, that made him to reconsider his stance and stomach the bitter pill after he had spoken to the Ugandan President Museveni and the Sudanese former President Bashir, of his intention to work with Dr. Machar.
“After the tragic events of 2013 and 2016, I could hardly imagine ever working again with Dr. Riek Machar, the leader of SPLM/IO, but having decided that we must put the interest of the country and its people above all else, I changed my mind. I told President Museveni and former President Bashir in Entebbe that I was going to swallow my pride and resume working with Dr. Riek Machar. It was this key concession that made it possible to realize Revitalized Peace Agreement that we signed in Addis-Ababa on September 12, 2018,” the President disclosed.
His address to the nation also noted that the agreement did not provide everything, that there were issues left out, which required political understanding. He emphasized that it was important to “avoid foot-dragging” when dealing with them, adding that the parties to the agreement should desist from adamant positions in the hope of backing by the mediators.
“The Peace Agreement didn’t cater for everything. There are issues that are left out for the parties themselves to sort out through amicable political understanding. To those issues where the agreement is silent on, I would like to emphasize that it is essential we avoid the temptation to foot-drag when tackling them. It is critical that we, the Parties to the Agreement desist from adopting uncompromising positions in the hope that the mediation would eventually back them,” the address urged.
The address however, did not specifically mention the left out issues by the agreement.
In addition to that, the address talked about the inclusion of under-represented groups like women and youth, stressing that their participation is valuable, and the assurance that the ceasefire is largely holding and the underway Rome Peace process, in order to secure the final deal with holdout groups.
On the other hand, it said the inter-communal conflicts have threatened ending political violence. But it also said the government will very soon initiate inter and intra communal dialogue and disarmament exercise to address the issues.
And finally, the nation address acknowledged the severe effects of COVID-19 on the economy which has seen the drop in the oil price, and it said in the coming weeks they are going to unveil means of rectifying the situation to enable payment of monthly salary on time.
The 9th Independence celebration of this year has been cancelled due to the Coronavirus and also in the previous years there were no official celebrations as a result of conflicts, according to President Kiir. A