The recent promise by South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir to accept a peace deal, which would end years of civil war in the world’s youngest country has been received with cautious optimism, to say the least.
To many, there is little reason for jubilation over the statement of the President or his rival Riek Machar, if their past empty promises are anything to go by. Since becoming the youngest country in the world, South Sudan has plunged into a senseless, barbaric and brutal war since 2013, two years after independence, which has resulted in the innocent loss of lives and uncontrollable refugee catastrophe. Rather than channeling its power and attention towards providing much-needed services and infrastructures for the South Sudanese, ethnicity, nepotism, power struggle and blatant corruption have been made a priority. The result is that the richly blessed country is descending into a lawless failed State.
According to the recent agreement – one of the many in the most recent years – being negotiated, if accepted by the warring parties, President Kirr’s arch-nemesis, Riek Machar would give the country five vice presidents, a process, some hope will appease the warring ethnic groups and cater for a fair representation of and sharing of power.
With a permanent ceasefire signed last month and President Kiir and Riek Machar promise an end to the war, is there any reason to be optimistic this time, if history could be used as a yardstick?