By Deng Machol
Juba – South Sudan’s First Vice President Riek Machar warned of the serious threat posed by the continuing sub – national violence to the fragile 2018 revitalized peace deal.
South Sudan has been blighted by the inter – communal Violence since her independence from Sudan in 2011.
Dr. Machar, who is also a chairman of the SPLM – IO said if civilian disarmament is not undertaken, then things will fallen apart.
“Our country is not yet at peace, political violence has stopped in 90 percent of the country but the threat on peace now is civilian violence brought about by the rampant ownership of guns by our population,” said Dr. Machar during the opening of a peace retreat for the country’s Ministers of peace building on Tuesday in Juba.
The five-day peace retreat is organized under the theme “towards inclusive peace building strategy in South Sudan”.
The observers say violence was caused by the proliferation of illegal arms unabated in the hands of civilians.
With this, Dr. Machar said it could disrupt the prevailing weak and uncertain peace deal in the East Africa’s youngest nation after six – years of conflict since December 2013.
According to Dr. Machar, every household [in South Sudan] could be having not less than 5 rifles.
“The question is why each household have on average 5 rifles? Machar asked. It is because of their concern for their own protection they want to protect their lives, they want to protect their properties and their communities which is a sign of breakdown of law and order.”
Machar urges the participants to disseminate peace and to involve Chiefs, Women and Youth in the process of peace building and maintaining peace in their respective states.
Meanwhile, Stephen Par Kuol, national Minister for Peace Building said that achieving peace in the restive country should be a collective responsibility.
“Peace cannot be built by one institution it is a collective work that we must do together, and if we fail to build peace and implement peace in this country we will all suffer from legitimacy crisis because what legitimizes all of us as parties is the peace agreement,” said Kuol.
Minister Kuol said that harmony in the transitional government is critical for peaceful, stability and co – existence in the country.
The transitional unity government was formed in February last year, in order to conclude implementation of the remaining critical tasks under the 2018 revitalized peace deal, which didn’t work out.
“Harmony within our government is very important because we cannot build peace without harmony. We cannot work as parties in the government, government must be one and there must be team work,” Kuol added.
“Peace building will only be achieved after we manage to restore law and order, without law and order we have a long way to go,” said Chol Rambang, Chairperson for South Sudan National Peace Commission.
Despite the formation of critical institutions like parliament and Council of States as the warring parties are yet to complete the training and graduation of the 83,000 unified forces to take charge of security during the transitional period.
The forces are reportedly deserting the training centers or cantonment sites due to lack of food, medicine and clean drinking water.
But Vice President Machar emphasizes that the transitional Government is working tirelessly to resolve the areas of differences in order fast-track the formation of unified command, graduation and deployment of the unified forces.