South Sudan’s government says it has began the “real implementation” of the peace accord as Reik Machar’s SPLM-In opposition forces have started arriving in the capital Juba.
The arrival of the troops is considered a prelude to the arrival of their leader Reik Machar, to the capital. He had been expected to return to the capital in early March.
“The arrival of these officers and … the arrival of forces as of tomorrow, … this means the Vice President will come to Juba any time as of now,” said Taban Deng Gai, SPLM-In Opposition’s Chief negotiator.
We should not be just blind folded that the return of Riek Machar is the return of the second Messiah to complete all these messes that is around, No!
But analyst, Dr. Sunday Okello of the African Union Institute of Peace and Security Studies says Machar’s return is not necessarily a guarantee that the peace process would remain on track.
For Dr. Okello, the return of Machar to the capital will be merely symbolic.
“We should not be just blind folded that the return of Riek Machar is the return of the second Messiah to complete all these messes that is around, No! We will still have problems in South Sudan (that) maybe can be contained.”
“We have seen them working together, we have seen them disagreeing to the point where they actually went into war. We have seen them actually disagreeing even during the talks. We have seen them very, very closely that they probably… I would also say they have troops who are still disintegrated behind them,” he added.
Machar was re-appointed Vice President of the unity government in February as part of a renewed deal to try to end months of civil war in that country. Machar was sacked from the position of vice president by Salva Kiir in 2013 after the former publicly stated his intentions to contest the latter.
This led to a civil war fought mostly along ethnic lines. The fighting has so far killed thousands and displaced 2.3 million people since late 2013.
The return of the SPLM troops is their first deployment in Juba since their leader fell out with president Kiir in 2013.