I welcome the revitalized agreement
Many South Sudanese are upbeat about the revitalized agreement on the resolution of the conflict in South Sudan due to be signed on Wednesday 12 September 2018. The five years of civil war were indeed horrible years; people cannot take more of it, and I am in full agreement with them although the motives may be different.
Some of us who lived through the seventeen years war witnessed the pressure, the South Sudanese in Khartoum then, built on the Southern Sudan Liberation Movement negotiating team in Addis Ababa to sign what became known as the Addis Ababa Agreement between Gaafar Nimeri’s Government of Sudan and the SSLM under Gen. Joseph Lago. The people were so fed up with the war that they agitated for the peace agreement without knowing its terms.
We are aware of the peace terms being signed tomorrow. They may not be palatable to some of the signatories. However, the urge for peace can now be gleaned from the number of political parties, civil society groups, faith-based groups, academics and the so-called eminent individuals who have been invited to Addis Ababa besides the two warring parties. The bottom line is that people do not want the senseless violence and are ready to forgive and forge ahead to recreate their lives.
At the end of 2017, I wrote a paper entitled “make 2018 a year of decisive action’. I was sounding out the SPLM/A-IO. It was obvious the armed struggle it spearheaded had stalled and there was no hope of regaining initiative; luck does not strike twice. It was therefore necessary to make strategic decision to end the war. The decision could have come in a better way that what was negotiated in Khartoum. Was it that difficult for South Sudanese leaders to have done it by themselves without the agency of Bashir and Museveni?
In welcoming the revitalized agreement, I would like to congratulate the parties to the conflict for agreeing to end the war. I would like to congratulate President Salva Kiir in particular for accepting peace this time without reservations. I am not being cynical. This peace agreement will not satisfy all and sunder. And President Salva Kiir is quite aware that his victory was against his own people. He must now go extra miles to bring back the South Sudanese now dispersed in all corners of the world.
I welcome the peace agreement because the war produced on both sides of the political divide people interested only in power and accumulation of wealth. The war was about power more than social and economic transformation of the conditions of poverty, ignorance, illiteracy and disease. This peace, if its terms are implemented in good faith will enable people to go back to their villages to recreate their livelihoods. It will allow focused dialogue and consensus building on the future of South Sudan and its people. But most importantly peace will enable South Sudanese to understand that while they are warring and butchering themselves some regional and international vultures are helping themselves to the resources of the country.
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