he fear of delegates being comprised looms large as South Sudan groups prepare for next week’s Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (Igad) peace talks in Ethiopia.
The Center for Inclusive Governance, Peace and Justice Organisation national director, Ms Jackeline Naziwa, said bribery was one of the key stumbling blocks to the Igad High Level Revitalisation Forum.
She warned her civil society colleagues at the December 18 talks in Addis Ababa, not to be comprised by any faction.
“We should not be like politicians to accept bribes. South Sudanese need peace now more than tomorrow because the refugees are suffering and they want to come back home. They are lacking all the basic needs,” she warned.
Ms Naziwa urged the regional bloc to interrogate the South Sudan factions on their achievements on the implementation of the August 2015 peace agreement.
“Igad should question these people on what positive things they did to implement the peace agreement,” she said.
Ms Naziwa blamed the parties to the peace agreement for intentionally bogging it down for their selfish gains.
“Every now and then, political figures in government rebelled in order to obtain top positions when recalled into government.
“We have seen government officials who are removed from power and after that they rebel in order to get back to government positions.”
The UN Special Representative and head of Mission in South Sudan, Mr David Shearer said the revitalisation forum would not to be easy because of the different aspirations of the delegates.
“I think it is a long way to go, I don’t think it is going to be easy, because there are a number of people coming together to take part in the forum,” he said.
Meanwhile, a letter from the Igad chairman, who is also the Ethiopian Premier Hailemariam Desalegn, indicated that the main armed opposition leader Riek Machar would not attend the forum.
“Your Excellency, all participants to the High Level Revitalisation Forum will be representing their respective parties. Hence, I wish to kindly request you to delegate three dully-authorised representatives of the SPLM-IO who will participate in the forum.
“In this regard, I recommend that at least one of the delegates could be a woman,” the letter dated December 8, 2017 and addressed to Dr Machar, reads.
Ending the war
The letter further advised Dr Machar to seize the opportunity to cease all forms of hostilities and re-establish a firm foundation to building sustainable peace, stability and democracy in the young nation.
President Salva Kiir and his Vice-President Taban Deng Gai too have received a notice from the Ethiopian Prime Minister advising them to fully cease hostilities.
The August 2015 peace agreement failed to achieve its objective of ending the war after the July 2016 violence.
South Sudan, which attained independence in 2011, entered into a civil war following a political quarrel between President Kiir and Dr Machar in 2013.
The war has claimed more than 100,000 lives, mostly of children and women, according to the International Crisis Group.
President Kiir recently apologised for the human rights abuses committed during the war.
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