In the face of other duties, the 2018 peace deal must never take a back seat

In the face of other duties, the 2018 peace deal must never take a back seat
Salva Kiir, South Sudan President. [Photo: Presidential Press Unit]

Last month, this newspaper ran a detailed editorial piece of this ilk calling on the government not to forget about the implementation of the revitalised peace agreement. At the time, the Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (RJMEC), a body charged with monitoring the peace process, had a genuine concern. That the government may have sunk all its attention on the Tumaini Initiative which involves negotiation with the holdout groups in Nairobi, to the extent of forgetting the accord that brought peace and stability in the country.

These fears may have shown up when the Deputy Norwegian Ambassador to South Sudan, Lars Petter, addressed a Round Table Discussion Forum in Juba on Thursday, where he said the following: “We want South Sudan to have its first truly democratic elections, inclusive and fair. But we see unfortunately very little has been done to prepare. We call upon the government and the parties to the peace agreement to prove to us that they respect the peace agreement and what is in it.”

He the added: “I have to say we see that that is difficult. And that is why we are turning our attention to the process in Kenya. And I am afraid we are now again in a situation where civil society, the churches, and the independent media find themselves in a difficult transition. And this country has been in transition for a very long time. And it has not transitioned into what we had expected.”

While the Tumaini Initiative remains a noble course, worth all the attention and applause; we cannot disregard the salience of accomplishing the revitalised peace agreement and actualising the tasks as enshrined in the roadmap.

It is no secret that the leaders, including President Salva Kiir, have expressed disgust in the manner in which the transition process has taken ages. It is only prudent that all the parties to the peace agreement play their roles effectively, and the views from other players who are non-signatory be also considered to make the exercise all-inclusive. It can be done!