One year down the line, activists concerned over peace deal

By James AtemKuir

Civil society activists have voiced strong calls for the review of the implementationof the peace agreement and as the country mark one year since swearing in of the five vice presidents to the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (R-TGoNU).

Dr. Riek Machar, the leader of the main opposition group SPLM/A-IO took office as the First Vice President; Gen. Taban Deng Gaiwho was theformer First Vice for the Transitional Government of National Unity became vice president alongside Dr. James WaniIgga, RebecaNyandeng deMabior on the tickets of SPLM and Former Detainees (FDs) respectively.

Vice President Hussein AbdelbagiAkolAyii was appointed and sworn in days later representing theSouth Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA)-an umbrella groupof political parties also signatory to the agreement, marking the beginning of the unity government.

The 20th of February also marks approximately 29 months since the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS) was signed in Sudan back in 2018.

Prominent activists,Jame David Kolok the executive director of Foundation for Democracy and Accountable Governance (FODAG) and Rajab Mohandisthe executive director Organisation for Responsive Governancein separate interviews with Juba Monitor yesterday said the current pace of implementation of the agreement has not been speedy enough to meet the timeline given in the peace agreement.

Mr. Koloksaid besides failing to meet the agreement given timeline, the peace parties havefailed to reduce the economic hardships the ordinary people are facing, byspending the 29 months since signing of the agreement on renegotiating the structures of governance and power sharing without working on the economic sector reforms and security arrangement and reforms stipulated in the other chapters.

“I think the implementation has been largely focused on chapter one, which is the structures of governance. Worst still, the concentration has been mostly on issues of state and subnational governments,” he said.

At the backdrop of the peace implementation, the economic crisis has worsened.

“The success of the peace agreement should be measured by the number of people appointed to the government. It should be measured on the basis of how much impact people appointed have on the ordinary. I’m saying this because when you ask the ordinary person on what peace means, they will give a list that does not include this issue of appointing people,” he said.

“They don’t understand what a minister does, what they want is how the government actions translate into security, food, water and all that they expect around their table and children. So, it’s unfortunate that we have not really seen a very clear dividend of peace. People are still IDPs, those who are outside have no confidence in coming back. So, regardless of the fact that the ceasefire has been holding for sometimes, the entire implementation of peace process has been slow,” he further said.

Rajab Mohandis said although there has beenlevel of permanent fire holding among the parties, the backdrop of peace implementation continues to witness deteriorating economic and non-political security crises across the country.

Mr. Mohandis said since its signing in 2018, the agreement has not met its objectives as security and rising commodity prices remain challenging throughout the country.

“We have seen some progress in the implementation in terms of formation of the executive of the government and the appointment of governors and of course now the formation of states governments especially the Central Equatoria State. The other aspects of permanent ceasefire have also been positive but generally from the perspective of the civil society, the peace agreement has not really met the real objective.

“The agreement was meant to restore stability but that has not been considerably achieved, we still have serious issues of insecurity especially in the states and it appears the transitional government has not established the security capacity that should have been developed under provisions of chapter two of the peace agreement, to respond to the security situation in the country,” he said.

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