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President Salva Kiir and his vice Riek Machar are heading the peace implementation

South Sudanese people react to extension of transition period

The decision on Thursday by the parties to the 2018 revitalized peace deal to extend the transitional period for another two years has attracted mixed reactions in the public.

Abraham Kuol Nyuon, Professor of Political Science at the University of Juba, said the new road map signed by President Salva Kiir’s Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-In Government (SPLM-IG), First Vice President Riek Machar’s SPLM-IO and other political parties   is welcome due to the fact that the transitional period ends in February 2023.     

He however, expressed doubt on whether the signatories to the peace deal reached consensus to extend the transitional period.       

“This roadmap is supposed to be adopted by at least 70 percent of the political parties who are currently signatories to the peace agreement, in case that consensus is not reached then that one is not considered roadmap,” he told The Juba Echo in Juba on Thursday. 

Other signatories to the road map included, South Sudan Opposition Movement Alliance (SSOMA) and Other Political Parties (OPP) alliance.

“This is in fact my advice to the transitional unity government, this new extension should be based on key milestones,”

Kuol disclosed that security sector reforms and elections are some of the critical targets to be reached by the signatories if peaceful transition is to be achieved.

He also noted the need for wider consultations with the citizens prior to signing this roadmap, warning that the decision could come back to haunt the political players if the road map is not supported by citizens.

“If this extension is not done with citizens in mind, it could even be fuel added into fire, they (parties) need to create extension that is citizens friendly in terms of time and milestones that need to be accomplished,” Kuol said.

The extension will expire in February 2025. 

Chol John, a primary school teacher, said the extension lacks public legitimacy due to immense suffering of ordinary South Sudanese amid insecurity and economic hardship.

“People are not enjoying the peace dividends, they are suffering simply because the agreement which is expected to change lives has not been implemented fully,” Chol said.

However, Chol hopes that if the peace agreement is implemented in letter and spirit the major objectives of peace, justice and prosperity will be achieved.

 “We want the parties this time to put in place respect for the rule of law as layed down in the constitution,” he said.

Edmund Yakani, the Executive Director for Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO) urged the parties to prioritize going forward the constitution making process, establishment of transitional justice and accountability mechanisms, and the graduation of the 83,000 unified forces.

Yakani added that other key things include the enactment of the Political Parties Act, reform of the judiciary and enactment of electoral laws ahead of 2025.

Musa Kur, a 35-year-old resident of Gumbo, said extension of the transition period demonstrates that the parties have failed to deliver the much cherished economic and security sector reforms.

“We as South Sudanese expected the government to enact laws within a short time period and then organize elections, but this extension by two years will make refugees not to think of returning to the country,” Kur said.

The influential Troika that includes, the United States, Britain and Norway on Wednesday refused to endorse the extension of the transitional period.

“While we understand that your government is discussing a roadmap to deliver the many outstanding provisions of the R-ARCSS, we understand that all relevant parties to the R-ARCSS have not been included in consultations about the contents of the roadmap and an extension to the transitional period,” said the joint statement.

The Troika noted that wider consultations were not conducted with civil society, faith-based organizations, eminent individuals and international community.

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