Vice President Igga Briefs South Sudanese Community In Nairobi On The Peace Process

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“We must move forward in order to address the challenges occasioned by the conflict. We acknowledge that there are unresolved issues related to the agreement, I promise we will equally resolve those matters amicably…."

Taban Deng Gai, Minister of Mining(L), Vice President Wani Igga(C) and Akol Paul Kordit, Deputy Minister of Information, Communication in Nairobi during the briefing with South sudnaese community [Photo by M. Lole]

By Margaret Lole

NAIROBI, 16 May 2016 [Gurtong]-The Vice President of South Sudan, James Wani Igga on Sunday briefed South Sudanese community living in Kenya in the capital Nairobi on the state of affairs in the Republic of South Sudan with regards to the formation of the Transitional Government of National Unity and matters related to implementation of the Peace Agreement.

The Vice President was accompanied by among others, Taban Deng Gai, the Minister of Mining and Akol Paul Kordit, Deputy Minister of Information, Communication Technology and Postal Services.

Campaigns by civil society groups and government aimed at passing peace messages to South Sudanese communities who are affected by the conflict that has devasted the country over the past two years has been on-going since the signing of the peace agreement.

During the briefing which was held at the Kenyatta International Convention Center, in Nairobi and attended by thousands of South Sudanese, Igga asked South Sudanese to reconcile and forgive one another.

“We must move forward in order to address the challenges occasioned by the conflict. We acknowledge that there are unresolved issues related to the agreement, I promise we will equally resolve those matters amicably. This is the only choice for us to relieve our people from the undeserved suffering associated with the armed conflict imposed upon them. I believe this is the only way to return South Sudan to the path of peace, stability and prosperity,” said the VP.

On behalf of the leaders of South Sudan and himself Igga including, Taban Deng Gai knelt down before the audience to ask for forgiveness.

“If I wronged someone during the crises, I apologize and I asked for forgiveness" said the Vice President as he knelt down.

The Deputy Minister of Information, Akol Paul Kordit who was the first Speaker condemned the war that just ended in South Sudan with a peace agreement being signed between the SPLM and the SPLM in Opposition calling it a wrong war.

He also assured the South Sudanese community in Kenya that South Sudan will not fall into another war and repeat the mistakes of the past.

“All of us in the SPLM collectively deplore and condemn this war as a wrong war. It is a wrong war, and we want to tell the war that we have turned our backs against the war and we will not look for war and neither should war look for us…This war which just ended with a peace agreement will be the last war in South Sudan amongst South Sudanese. Never again will we turn our backs against ourselves. And this is a commitment President Salva Kiir Mayardit, First Vice President Riek Machar, Vice President Wani Igga and the entire team of the transitional government of National Unity, all collective forces in the country have committed themselves to.”

The eventual agreement on a transitional government of national unity was the result of months of negotiations. The implementation process has faced many challenges leading to a delay in its formation, but despite the delays there have been signs of progress.

The government has been formed with respective ministers appointed as per the agreement.

Taban Deng Gai, Minister of Mining on his part said that reconciliation and forgiveness is an important aspect for peace to be realized in the country.

“The constitution that is in this agreement is for South Sudanese it does not belong to any other person so we are careful of implementing it. This agreement is important for the dust to settle because if the dust does not settle you will not develop the country…If you reconcile and what is important with reconciliation is that you close out the outsiders. But if we do not have reconciliation and healing and total forgiveness then you allow foreigners to come and interfere with your affairs. We are very conscious as the TGoNU and all he factions of SPLM that this time we must have total reconciliation and healing, so that we settle our affairs ourselves as South Sudanese. Once we have healing and reconciliation and made peace we can now talk of development.”

In an interview with some south Sudanese who attended the briefing, many said it was important for them to know what the government is doing in order to ensure that the peace agreement is implemented.

Some said that having a direct communication with the Vice President would help answer some specific questions directly.

Joshua Tom from the University of Catholic University of Eastern Africa said, “We in the diaspora have many questions to ask since the formation of the government of national unity. It’s a large government, one of the biggest in fact in East Africa and to me personally I want to know whether that government is effective for the people of South Sudan or not. I feel great if I forward my question directly to them and deserve answers this is why I am here.”

Michael Maboring, also a student in Kenya said it is important for him to address his issues to the leaders.

“ This is a forum where I get to address my issues to the seniors for example the Vice President who is going to be here today and it is important for me as a student to get my point across to the Vice-President to get a solution in a timely manner.’

Ayii John on the other hand was interested in knowing the benefits of joining the East African community.

“One of the topics that we have been told in the agenda is joining the East African community and that is crucial because when are they going to explain to us why it is important for us to join the EAC. The other reason is that now that we have peace our leaders should now explain to us the ways of living in peace and harmony as South Sudanese.”

The event was also graced by traditional dances from different ethnic groups from South Sudan including poetry from a young South Sudanese girl longing to return to the country but left to be in exile due to the continuous conflict in the country.

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