Mediators cautiously optimistic South Sudan peace will hold

Riek Machar and Salva Kiir had twice pushed back deadlines to form a government of national unity after signing a peace accord in 2018.

As South Sudan moves to form a government of national unity, after years of civil conflict, mediators to the country’s peace agreement are cautiously optimistic that the peace will hold.

Kenya’s special envoy to South Sudan former Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka has welcomed the unity government’s decision to hold a national dialogue at the beginning of March, even as the country seeks closure on a brutal conflict that left thousands dead.

International Rights group Amnesty international, however, says accountability will offer the best closure.

From Rebel leader to first Vice President, although not a first for Dr. Riek Machar and South Sudan, mediators to the peace agreement that led to the formation of the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU) are cautiously optimistic that this time the peace will hold.

Musyoka says it is time for the South Sudan leaders to use their mental guns and not the physical ones.

Years of conflict have left the country’s economy on its knees and a population on the brink of starvation, leaving donors no option but to remain engaged in the country.

Musyoka says the international community must support South Sudan.

“We need to meet South Sudanese halfway. They are busy forming their government. We also want the international community to support them. The moment they impose sanctions on leaders, that’s negative energy. We hope again that these sanctions regime will be put away with as soon as they demonstrate goodwill to proper governance, adherence to the rule of law then sanctions must also disappear.”

The 2018 peace agreement proposes the formation of a hybrid court to hold to account those accused of committing atrocities during the six-year war. But will these affect the country’s fragile peace?

At least 400 000 people have been killed in the six-year conflict and millions are displaced inside the country as well in neighbouring countries.