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South Sudan’s unity government extends its time in office by another two years

President Salva Kiir and First Vice President Riek Machar on Thursday reached consensus with other signatories to the 2018 revitalized peace deal to extend the transitional period till February 2025.

President Kiir said that he accepted the extension not because he wants to cling to power but for the sake of peace and stability to prevail in the country.

“Today, I am informing the people of South Sudan that the political parties who signed the revitalized peace agreement to resolve the conflict in the Republic of South Sudan have unanimously agreed 24 months extension of the interim period,” Kiir said after the signing of the new road map at Freedom Hall in Juba.

According to the new road map elections are supposed to be conducted in December 2024 before the end of the transition period the following year.

“I want you to understand why we reached this decision, as seen in the unanimous decision across the political parties we are not extending the transition because I want to stay in the government longer, we don’t   want to rush you into an election that will take us back to war,” Kiir disclosed.

Kiir said that the country lost direction after winning independence from neighboring Sudan in 2011, adding that they failed to build effective state and cohesive nation.

 He said that failure at state craft led to power struggles within the then ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), hence outbreak of the December 2013 conflict.

The parties had failed to complete the critical pending tasks that include, graduation of the 83,000 unified forces, enactment of the permanent constitution and establishment of transitional justice, accountability, healing and reconciliation mechanisms.

The current transition period ends in February 2023 with little progress achieved so far by the signatories to the peace deal signed to end years of conflict.

First Vice President, Riek Machar, said that without extending the transitional period they risked dragging the country back to war.

“South Sudanese believe extension means we want to stay in power, but if we don’t do it we will go back to square one (war). Extension is the only way forward, we have seen it pre-mature to go for elections when institutions and reforms are not yet done,” Machar said.

He appealed to the international community to continue supporting the South Sudan peace process.

The United States in July pulled out of funding the peace monitoring mechanisms such as the Reconstituted Joint Monitoring Evaluation Commission (R-JMEC) and the ceasefire monitoring body (CTSAMVM) over what it alleged was “lack of political will” from the parties to fully implement the peace deal.

Machar said that the agreement addresses the root causes of the conflict and if not implemented the root causes will remainpending. 

Martin Elia Lomuro, the Minister for Cabinet Affairs, said that most provisions of the revitalized peace agreement have not been implemented, adding that extension of the transition period will allow the parties to implement all the pending provisions  to pave way for free, fair and credible elections in the country.

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