-- It was all ululation and jubilation in Juba as
South Sudanese nationals welcomed the signing of the revitalized
power-sharing pact by warring parties on Sunday night, saying
the deal will end the more than four years of strife in the
Thousands of jovial Juba residents
seized the occasion and took to the streets immediately after
the peace deal was inked in Khartoum earlier in the day.
“Today, I am overjoyed because peace
has finally been restored in our country and we are now going
march forward and build our nation,” Mary Ajith expressed her
great excitement and feeling of joy to Xinhua.
She said that it has been her wish to
see the warring parties reach the deal to end the conflict that
has worsened poverty in the country.
Hordes of residents gathered in Juba
carrying the flags of South Sudan as they sang and danced the
night away around the capital city that had been under years of
curfew since the conflict broke out in December 2013.
Another jubilant citizen, who only
identified himself as Deng, said all he wanted was peace and
unity of all the South Sudanese people.
“Our country ought to be inclusive and
transparent to all. I believe we have learned a lot from
meaninglessly killing each other,” Deng said as he chanted
“Peace! Peace! Peace!”
President Salva Kiir and opposition
leader and arch-rival, Riek Machar, signed a revitalized
agreement to end the civil strife that would see the latter
reinstated as first vice president after serving a two-year
house arrest in South Africa.
The agreement was signed collectively
by the two leaders as well as all political parties in South
Sudan, signaling their desire to end the conflict that has
caused a lot of suffering and displacement of people.
The agreement outlines guidelines on
power sharing and governance, including settling boundary
disputes which will be guided by a Boundary Commission and
provides for an avenue for the people of South Sudan to
participate in a referendum if need be to settle those disputes.
Kiir pledged to incorporate warring
factions into the government after he met with Machar and an
alliance of opposition leaders.
The deal which was inked in Sudan will
lead to the formation of a unity government which will run for
three years in South Sudan.
Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir who
hosted the talks said South Sudan peace agreement will not just
be ‘ink on paper’, saying more sessions will sketch out details
and timetables for implementation of the signed peace deal.
He pointed out that his government had
taken a decisive decision to implement the 2005 peace agreement
signed with the SPLM movement that eventually led to South
Sudan’s independence from the north for the sake of peace.
Meanwhile, Kenyan President Uhuru
Kenyatta said the peace process will continue in the Sudanese
capital, Khartoum, instead of Nairobi as decided by East African
“We have agreed with my brother
President Bashir that let us continue with this negotiations
right here in Khartoum,” he said after the signing of the deal.
Kenyatta appealed to the political
leadership in South Sudan to secure the future of the region by
commencing implementation of the Agreement.
“Informed by our shared and common
experiences and grounded in a long history of solidarity between
Kenya and South Sudan, I urge each and every leader to leverage
the diversity of South Sudan and harness it to build strong and
responsible structures that respond effectively to the needs of
the people,” he added.
Kenyatta paid tribute to Al-Bashir for
hosting the current phase of the peace process that has yielded
promising results for South Sudan and the region.
Kenya has been a key participant
amongst other IGAD states in the process of bringing peace and
stability in South Sudan driven by the belief that peace and
stability in the young nation heralds prosperity for the whole
South Sudan’s conflict that has now
entered its fifth year erupted in 2013 after forces loyal to
Kiir and his former deputy engaged in combat.
The 2015 peace agreement to end the
violence was again violated in July 2016 when rival factions
resumed fighting in the capital, Juba, forcing Machar to flee
Millions of South Sudanese civilians
have sought refuge in neighboring countries as the conflict
rages on despite attempts by international players to end it.