By John Ikani
Former President Goodluck Jonathan has been invited by the Government of South Sudan to play a role in the ongoing implementation of South Sudan peace agreement, designed to end the nation’s protracted political conflict.
The former President will be participating in the process through the platform of his foundation, the Goodluck Jonathan Foundation, which is committed to ensuring peace and promoting democracy in Africa.
South Sudanese President Salva Kiir Mayardit who stated this while receiving Dr. Jonathan in his office in Juba on Wednesday, noted that the people of South Sudan are very confident that the support of the former President would be valuable in the bid to enhance national unity, promote peace and position the country for sustainable development.
He described Dr. Jonathan as a well respected international personality with enviable records in peace mediation.
The implementation of the deal known as the Revitalised Peace Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan has begun with the carrying out of several measures including the formation of the Government, establishment of both Houses of Parliament, as contained in its first chapter. The agreement was signed in 2018 by key South Sudanese stakeholders.
However, there are outstanding issues in the next chapter bordering on the implementation of the security arrangements as it pertains to the unification of forces, establishment of commands and graduating and deployment of forces.
President Jonathan who met separately with President Kiir, First Vice President Riek Machar, four other Vice Presidents, African ambassadors and other stakeholders in the course of the three-day visit thanked the Government and the people of South Sudan for the confidence reposed in him and promised to do his best.
He said: “I have been following the process in South Sudan right from the time I was President. Then, I participated in the meetings that were held in several countries that brought about independence.
“I was also here in 2011 during the Independence celebrations. Then we were hopeful and enthusiastic about the future of South Sudan. That was why I was worried when we heard about the crises here.
“However, with what I have seen since I came in on Tuesday and from the meetings and consultations I have had with different interest groups, I believe there is hope.”
He further noted that executing a peace agreement is not an easy process but added that with the right political will on all sides, it will be successfully implemented.
According to him, the Revitalised Peace Agreement is a deal that would reform the country and lay a good foundation for democracy and prosperity.
Jonathan further stated that South Sudan has the kind of potential and resources that could support a robust economy.
“South Sudan must play a key role not just in East and Central Africa, but make considerable contributions to the continent’s development,” he said.