THE WAIT IS STILL ON, BUT FOR HOW LONG?
By: Charles Lotara (Guest)
South Sudanese are fed up with unnecessary excuses meant to adjourn the peace deadline and hold the country hostage. Even in the face of a collapsing economy, the citizens never asked for anything more than peace because it is the only phenomenon that makes them struggle and support their families. In November last year, people anticipated the signing of the revitalized peace agreement, which did not happen but instead there was an extension with 100 days with both parties citing outstanding issues, especially the number and boundaries of states. Prior to that extension however, there were several adjournments made just at the time when the principals were about put pen to paper. So, it is compelling to say that failure by both parties to beat agreed deadlines is a strategy designed to keep citizens waiting – and that has become quite familiar to the citizens. At least South Sudanese know that they have leaders who disregard critical deadlines at will. Unfortunately, this practice has made the word ‘peace’ less palatable to our people simply because no one is demonstrating the will to bring about lasting peace in the country. In Addis Ababa, a meeting organized by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development to bring the two principals together ended with brawls with government delegation accusing organizers of taking side. Nothing went quite smoothly, to say the least. This means a lot to the status of the situation currently obtaining. Only 11 days left until the new government is formed, but disagreements are flaring. They say “a bad beginning makes a good ending”. Maybe things will not go as wrong this time as one may imagine, but time is running out for the ordinary South Sudanese who have suffered the wrath of the current prevailing situation. The refugees and IDPs long for a permanent return to their homes but like their colleagues in the country, they are still waiting for a breakthrough that will bring genuine and lasting peace. Behind their anticipation for peace lies a big question as to how long they would keep waiting for something precious, but which is longer than expected to be implemented. Women are talking, civil society groups are voicing their concerns. Every progressive citizen yearns for peace. They cannot afford another adjustment, extension, or whatever halts the peace deal from being implemented.