South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir and ex vice president inked a peace deal that aimed at putting a stop to South Sudan’s long ongoing civil war.
Former vice president Riek Machar who is in control of one of the largest rebel groups fighting a political war against its own government, met with Salva Kiir in what is being termed as a make or break meeting in more than two years. The war has been going on for more than 2 years and the direct consequence of it has taken a toll on South Sudan, plunging the young country into a dark and a dangerous black hole.
Even though after the deal coming into picture, many believe that the solution to the ongoing problem is a farfetched idea. Deals relating to peace signed by both the political dignitaries have always fell through and has led to a lot of small factions or groups fighting this civil war.
Despite the deal being signed in the best interests of South Sudan’s citizens, Jacob Bul, co-founder of an artists’ collective known as Ana Taban, stated that the signatures on this deal “shouldn’t be a mere signature, but an agreement in letter and spirit”.
The current deal is a combination of a peace deal that fell apart long ago and a one-sided cease-fire.
The new peace deal sings out for the making a “national army, police and other security fragments that consist of a body that will be independent of all political control and will have no traditional or tribal affiliations. It mentions that steps to develop the country’s infrastructural skeleton and normal services “will be given more importance”.
It also gives way to the government of Sudan to keep in check the security of South Sudan’s oil fields that are located in the north side of the country. This deal or agreement or whatever word that is being used to describe it, pushes both the governments to restore the much talked about oil fields and resume service in these areas, allowing the monetary benefits from these oil fields to be used to support the poor section of the society and to completely eradicate poverty.
The path that this deal has set out on will be a very difficult one. The civil has blown to bits the social and economic structure of South Sudan. People, a lot of them are on the brink of having nothing to eat, thus resulting in a famine on a large scale, the economic side of the country has been destroyed. People or notably the citizens belonging to any minority group have been displaced and more than a million people have left the country to live in refugee camps set up by the United Nations to live a peaceful life.
The social workers in South Sudan are not sure whether this deal will hold any relevance or not because there are confirmed reports that state that commoners have been mistreated at the hands of parties who are at war with each other.
A powerful figure going by the name of Elysia Buchanan, who holds the position of an advisor to the relief group Oxfam on problems related to South Sudan, recently stated that “We will be hopeful when any new agreement translates to real changes on the ground”. She also mentioned that “when we hear from South Sudanese civilians that they feel safe from attacks and rape, free from rising hunger- which is being drive by ongoing conflict- and they can once again pursue their livelihoods and education without fear”.
Another person, Brian Adeba, commanding a high post at the Enough project, a group based out of Washington D.C. said that the new and updated peace deal could be a way towards something positive in the coming days, but there is a lot that needs to be learnt and worked upon.
Adeba said “One of the things that we have to really gird against is the danger of an agreement that becomes some elite pact that fails to address the structural problems that are at the route of this conflict”.
Brian Adeba also added that “The situation in South Sudan has changed significantly. There are other actors involved in it who have grievances both armed and unarmed. Therefore, any discussion on a deal must involve everyone on the table- those who are armed and those who don’t have arms- because a lot of sectors and quarters in South Sudan have grievances with the government”.
Therefore, the peace deal or agreement will not solve anything with immediate effect but is it is necessary to be put into effect in order to silence the people opposed to this arrangement. When the big stakeholders are silent, the real work towards building a peaceful country begins.