Odongo Odoyo

Topical Commentary

The current political dispensation in the country dictates that the mood is basically peace implementation.

However, news that one of the provisions of the Revitalized Peace Agreement; Cantonment faces challenges is not good to our ears.

Coming hot on the heels of earlier warnings by certain quarters that time left ahead of the November 2019 peace implementation timeline is inadequate just adds salt to injuries.

What raises concerns is the fact that some cantonments sites do not have food, none food items and sleeping materials and storages have not been realised.

That means the forces reporting to cantonment sites cannot not find them friendly unless essentials are made available.

Remember security arrangements are one key component of the recent talks between President Salva Kiir and Opposition Chief Dr Riek Machar.

Implementation of the peace deal requires the goodwill of everyone and so blame games should not be tolerated.

Those charged with the responsibility of providing resources should not use it as a strategy to sabotage implementation of the peace process.

The Transitional Government of National Unity should release funds to the NPTC for implementation of the pending mechanisms.

Though the agreement on the permanent ceasefire are holding in most parts of the country, its aspects of protection of civilians remains in limbo.

Parties to the peace process and the National Pre-Transitional Committee should address the pending issues as a matter of urgency including agreeing on the number of states.

Other prohibited actions under Sub Article 2, says the parties shall not occupy any damaged community properties and infrastructure including schools, hospitals, business centres, places of worship and any other installations. The parties shall withdraw from any of the above sites that have been occupied.

The agreement on cessation of hostilities and protection of civilians and humanitarian access was signed on 21st December 2017 and should be observed.

We continue to hear of cases of rights violations and more so in rural set ups.

Such negative actions only negates gains made in ensuring freedom of expression and access to information, yet these are fundamental rights entitled to the public in any democratic society.

Somebody somewhere seems to be misinformed about the rights of the public under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

It is important to note that ignorance to the law is not an excuse before the same law. The law is applicable in its fullness, letter and spirit.

It is a violation for anyone to interfere with the freedom of expression and editorial independence of the media organizations in South Sudan.

The compounding situation has seen the Media Authority run an advertorial to warn people who still believe in rights violations in South Sudan.

The Media Authority should continue working well with media to ensure the public is updated on the on-going peace implementation.

The fact that the authority has always reiterated its commitment to promote the freedom of expression is yet another proof that the media should confidently report on the on-going peace process.

At the end of it all the society has continued to appreciate the role of media in informing, educating, entertaining and even holding authorities accountable on behalf of the public.

Continued updates by Information Minister Michael Makue Lueth are yet another indicator that the government appreciates the role of media in peace dissemination.

All parties to the peace process should therefore closely work together to ensure peace implementation remains of course.

They should continue building trust and showing commitment toward the peace process.

Information released for public consumption should be aimed at reducing anxiety and tension instead of fuelling the same.

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