On June 23, last year, a direct talk between President Salva Kiir and Riek Machar, leader of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement–In Opposition (PLM-IO) and other opposition parties was launched in Khartoum, Sudan. A framework accord was signed thereafter, on August 7. This was meant to put an end to the six years of civil war that has killed tens of thousands and displaced millions in South Sudan since December 2013 and 2016 respectively.
Unfortunately, the Khartoum Declaration Agreement is still tainted by enormous challenges. Some challenges were unforeseen while others are deliberate making of the parties involved. For example, there was supposed to be implementation of security arrangement, which has always been a threat to earlier peace agreements. This has got to do with series of violations of Cessation of Hostilities Agreement among signatory parties.
Failed implementation of the Security Arrangement prevailed in spite of the fact that the much-touted recent Juba Peace Celebrations were a signal to peace agreement implementation. Their aim was to build trust and cement the social fabric among 64 tribes of South Sudan. Since the signing, there has been slow implementation of the agreement from all signatories. The challenge of lack of financial funding from the donors is also affecting it.
The public, however, sees this as mere excuse, since the country has not shown accountability efforts even in the little funds the government raises from taxes and oil revenues. Runaway corruption is widespread and the masses' pleas and protests over inaction on it have gone unaddressed in the past. Without accountability and transparency in the usage of public funds, the UN, Troika and Western countries cannot recognise the peace accord and thus supporting it financially, diplomatically and morally may not be possible.
In conclusion, President Salva Kiir Mayardit, Dr Riek Machar and other opposition groups should join hands together and convince the South Sudanese, the region and the whole world that they are ready to implement the Khartoum peace process. They should do so by committing themselves to fighting corruption and recognising that the interests of all the citizens of South Sudan come first. They also should be committed to foregoing selfishness, ethnicity, sectarianism, injustices and bloody conflict.
The world is tired of the intransigence and political mutation of the leaders in South Sudan to return the country back to peace and stability. If that is addressed, the international community will support the agreement. But there is an African old adage, which says: “Who cannot account for a calabash cannot be entrusted to draw water from the stream”.