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Why Kiir, Machar must show honesty for peace to happen

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Added 1st October 2018 09:59 AM

Truth and accountability are high among the missing puzzle in efforts to stop the five-year brutality

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Truth and accountability are high among the missing puzzle in efforts to stop the five-year brutality

By Simon J. Mone

When hundreds of political prisoners have remained caged, and rebel leader, Dr, Riek Machar insists on not arriving in Juba at this particular time, even on invitation of President Salva Kiir.

And another rebel leader, Gen. Thomas Cirillo, insisting not to be part of the peace process; it leaves us all with more questions to answer. Already, many common people are creating guesswork, about the war situation in the newest state in the world, South Sudan. For the umpteenth time, we read stories of accusations.

That some political actors in Juba are conspiring to make sure peace in South Sudan does not happen. People are asking some important questions of the two key actors; President Salva Kiir and Dr. Riek Marcha.

That, why can they not be true to their own words, and end the suffering of people in their country? That when will the armed conflict there end? They see it has already led to serious human rights violations. Where there were mass atrocities against civilians and killings along ethnic lines. Abductions, rape, and sexual violence were rampant. Villages were destroyed.

That is why people are right to demand that the key players show some honesty this time round in order to get peace. If genuine peace should return to mother land, all stakeholders involved ought to bring humility to the roundtable.

Here, truth and accountability are high among the missing puzzle in efforts to stop the five-year brutality that has no doubt, left an indelible mark. It is commendable that the recent progress in peace process has brought Nairobi, Entebbe, Sudan and Addis Ababa on board.

To join hands and try to make Salva, Riek and all others grow up and ink a permanent cease fire and power-sharing deal. The efforts are paying off because we see that President Kiir has already offered amnesty to all those who pointed a machine gun towards his direction.

United National Security Council (UNSC) intervened, threatening violators of the peace process with sanctions. Travel bans and asset freezes on individuals were also mooted. Even with these measures, there were still violations here and there, and there have been occasional relapse in the peace process.

After Machar fled South Sudan in 2016, Kiir always maintained a stance of unwillingness to talk peace. And the various peace initiatives that were proposed fell through. Against this non-commitment to peace as seen from the past. Clearly, we know too well that signing agreements on paper is no big deal these days.

The big deal is to have to implement the terms of the signed agreements. Looking from the sidelines, the international community are itching to weigh in, promising sanctions if Kiir and Riek do not comply. Mr. President accepted talks with his foe. And in September, an agreement was reached between Kiir’s group and Machar’s.

Now Machar becomes the first vice president of the south. And all the other loose ends of the agreement should seamlessly fall in place. The five vice presidents, the number of ministers and the permanent members must all pull their weights in the same direction in order that peace can happen.

Should it not, a regional force is on hand to swing to action, to keep the peace process on track, so that the promises are not breached. The expectation is that the ugly days of the past are firmly behind to pave way for peace to prevail. But it will take honesty by all parties. And we need president Kiir to be genuinely honest about the decision to call Machar to the high table. Mr. President must also free all the captives from prison.

Likewise, we expect Machar to be humble enough to allow peace to happen in South Sudan. To avoid setting tough conditions that ensures all parties go divergent ways again. Let us pray and hope for sustained peace to happen in South Sudan this time.

Writer is a civil engineer

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