Ruto appoints former army commander to head South Sudan mediation process

President William Ruto. [File, Standard]

President William Ruto, at the request of President Salva Kiir of South Sudan, has appointed former Army Commander Lazarus Sumbeiywo as the Chief Mediator for the South Sudan Mediation Peace Process.

At the same time, President Ruto has also appointed Ambassador Mohammed Ali Guyo as the Assistant Mediator.

In appointing the two Kenyans, President Ruto said elections in South Sudan are scheduled by December this year and his South Sudanese counterpart had, therefore, requested him to facilitate talks in Nairobi with opposition groups and other sections of society in that country.

These include "holdout opposition groups organised under the rubric of South Sudan Opposition Alliance, religious groups and civil society".

The talks are meant to achieve "consensus and peace towards the conduct of the election".

President Ruto said he had picked Mr Sumbeiywo as Chief Mediator due to his experience in the South Sudan peace process nearly 20 years ago.

"Based on your wealth of experience and invaluable contribution in negotiating and the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005, I appoint you as the Chief Mediator from April 1, 2024, and June 30, 2025," he said.

Outlining his mandate, the President said Mr Sumbeiywo would provide "the day-to-day leadership of the South Sudan Mediation Peace Process on my behalf".

He is also expected to facilitate negotiations and interaction among the parties to achieve "peace and political stability in South Sudan".

Mr Sumbeiywo will report directly to President Ruto and provide monthly reports. In addition, he will also provide periodic updates to all stakeholders.

The stakeholders include the Advisory Panel, Partners Forum and Stakeholders Forum, among others.