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S. Sudan activists step up campaign for unity government

August 12, 2019 (JUBA) – A group of South Sudanese activists on Monday began a campaign to ensure the country’s warring parties meet the November 12 deadline agreed upon for the formation a coalition government.

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South Sudan President Salva Kiir (C) adresses a press conference together with FVP Riek Machar (R) and SVP James Wani at the State House on July 8, 2016 (Reuters Photo)

Grouped under the civil society forum, more than 100 organizations started what they call a 90-day countdown to the formation of the long-awaited South Sudan Government of National Unity (GoNU).

The activist said they collaborate with the church to convince opposition groups that have not signed the September 2018 revitalized peace agreement to ensure they do so within the next three months.

The country’s rival parties, in May, agreed on a six-month extension to implement the next steps in the fragile peace agreement. The latest extension came after the main opposition group threatened to boycott formation of a unity government on May 12.

Speaking to reporters, Jackeline Nasiwa, the Executive Director for the Center for Inclusive Governance, Peace and Justice said the civil society groups and the church will form a coalition to engage non-signatories to embrace the agreement within the next three months.

“We need to ensure we reach all the forces that are still holding out and encourage them to be part of the peace process,” she said.

Nasiwa expressed concerns that some parties involved in the peace implementation process could abandon the initiative if the holdout opposition groups fighting the government are not included in it.

The General Thomas Cirilo-led National Salvation Front (NAS) and the South Sudan United Front led by former army chief of general staff, General Paul Malong Awan are the two main armed opposition groups that have not been included in the current peace process.

In September last year, South Sudan’s warring factions signed a revitalized peace agreement to end the country’s civil war. The revitalized peace accord stipulates that there shall be a transitional government formed after eight months of the pre-transitional period.

However, under the peace agreement, opposition leader Machar will be reinstated as South Sudan’s Vice President.

South Sudan descended into civil war in late 2013 when President Salva Kiir accused his former deputy Machar of attempting a coup.

(ST)