Expedite peace deal, US diplomat, Renz tells South Sudan in goodbye message

Expedite peace deal, US diplomat, Renz tells South Sudan in goodbye message
Outgoing Chargé d’Affaires at the US Embassy in south Sudan, David Renz when he paid a courtesy call to President Salva Kiir at state house. [Photo: Courtesy]

The outgoing Chargé d’Affaires, David Renz, has called on the parties to the agreement to expedite the peace deal rollout and transition the country to a democratic dispensation. 

Mr Renz said he was extremely moved by South Sudan’s tenacity in the face of all the hardships within a few months of starting his job in the country. He said this resilience needs to be accompanied by political progress. 

Speaking during a press conference at the US embassy in Juba on Thursday, David emphasised that the US policy remains in support of the implementation of the peace agreement and to assist South Sudan in establishing the conditions necessary for free, fair, credible, and democratic elections.

He argued that the US government’s focus on development and health is meant to achieve what the people of South Sudan desire such as peace, opportunity, and prosperity.

“The other thing I focused on when I was here is how do we keep the peace agreement moving.”

However, throughout his stay in the country, David told the reporters that he had not travelled as much as he did in other countries due to the insecurity.

He said the insecurity is making everything tough for everyone who works here including the US team.

The US diplomat is expected to leave Juba on Saturday, as his duty in the country has come to an end, saying this also marked the end of his 29 years in a diplomatic career. He said most of the 29 years he had spent serving the mission in Africa.

Mr David began his job as Chargé d’Affaires at the US Embassy in South Sudan in August 2021. However, before his assignment to Juba, he had worked as the Deputy Chief of Mission at the United States Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. 

Renz career

He has also worked at the US embassies in Kenya and Nigeria, as well as in Washington on Central African matters.

Unlike his predecessors who have been so outspoken against the Juba administration, Mr Renz has cut a low profile but has been more of a proponent of civic space since he arrived in the country.

When asked why he was very much focused on civic space in the nine months he spent in South Sudan, he said: “I have perhaps been more public on that because I have been trying to create space for what I see as an important aspect of implementing the peace agreement”.

“This is an agreement that involves political questions that the people of South Sudan must resolve as they form a permanent constitution as a form for an electoral system as they compete for an election that ultimately marks the transition of this agreement.”

“So, that civic space is extremely important and I have been calling for that publicly because I know how little civic space there is and at least people have in mind that when the US speaks, sometimes people listen,” Mr Renz explained.

 According to him, civic space has been restricted in the country, particularly since the People’s Coalition for Civil Action (PCCA) declared a protest in August 2021 against the government.

The PCCA was accused by the government of planning incitement to topple the current regime. The government maintained that such organised protest would worsen the country’s security, especially in the face of intercommunal violence in the states.