Speaking to a delegation from the African Union Peace and Security Council who have been in capital Juba on a fact finding mission, South Sudan president, Salva Kiir said his effort to bring peace and progress to the young nation has been frustrated by his opponents.
“After our independence the first priority for us was to building the nation we wanted to establish, unfortunately some of our brothers decided to place their own interest above the common and their actions plunged the country to the situation we are in today. But I am hopeful this situation will change. It will not remain the same,” Kiir said.
Him and his controversially appointed Vice President Taban Deng Gai are committed to the implementation of a binding peace agreement signed in August 2015 he said.
“War is not the best interest of anybody and as the president I assure you of our commitment to fully implement the peace agreement. We have made significant progress with comrade Taban Deng Gai”, said Kiir.
Adding “…what we need now is the support of the African union and the international community to help implement the peace agreement”.
He also called on South Sudanese to unite and start building a nation they wanted to establish after two decades of armed struggle for secession from Sudan.
But just less than two years after Independence, in December 2013, a political power struggle broke out between Kiir and his former deputy Riek Machar. Kiir alleged that Machar and ten others were plotting a coup d’état against him. They were outlawed.
Fighting broke out between Kiir’s Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) and Machar’s Sudan People’s Liberation Movement – in opposition, igniting a 20 months brutal civil war. A peace accord spearheaded by Taban Deng Gai on behalf of the rebels, now Kiir’s close ally and vice president was reached in August 2015.
Two months after the arrival of rebel leader Machar in Juba for the implementation of the agreement, fighting once again erupted between forces allied to him and president on July 8, forcing him to flee after his residence was bombed by government forces. President Kiir accused him of having gone to a palace to execute another coup, a claim Machar denies.
The clashes claimed hundreds, displacing hundreds of thousand both internally and outside the country. Machar has once again called for return to arms against president Kiir.
The head of the African Union delegation, Catherine Muigai Mwangi said the council was in South Sudan because “we wanted to find out firsthand, the progress that has been made regarding the implementation of the peace process”
“We also wanted to find out the situation regarding peace and reconciliation, regarding other socio-economic issues,” Mwangi added.
She also told journalists that her team held discussions with President Kiir, his deputy, former political detainees from the ruling party, other political parties, religious groups, civil society activists and heads of diplomatic missions regarding the peace process.
And so, she says that as the continent’s peace and security council leaves South Sudan “we have a better understanding of what the challenges that are facing this country especially the implementation of the peace agreement. We have reassured the leadership and people of South Sudan that we will remain engaged and will continue to support South Sudan in implementing the peace agreement and make sure that peace comes back to South Sudan”