South Sudan Opposition Groups Set Expectations as Nairobi Talks Progress

The South Sudan opposition groups have welcome the re-branding of the troubled country’s mediation process as the Tumaini (Hope) Initiative overseen by Kenya.

Speaking at a press conference in Nairobi on Thursday morning, representatives of the SSOMA faction, other opposition groups and the PCCA set clear goals and expectations as the talks progress, saying they welcomed the Tumaini Initiative as a last golden opportunity to rescue South Sudan from collapse and disintegration.

“We expect that the initiative will lead to a national constitutional conference in Kenya and South Sudan in two stages,” the groups said in a press release.

The opposition groups pointed out that the expected outcome of the conference will be the adoption of a social contract, a constitutional text, interim governance arrangements and implementation modalities.

They said the Tumaini Initiative sent a fresh wave of hope to the people of South Sudan, the region, and the African continent to achieve a peaceful Africa focused on developing and improving the lives of its people.

Kenya’s President William Ruto held a round-table meeting with the donor community immediately after last week’s talks in Nairobi, to mobilize support for the Tumaini Initiative.

“We hail the courage shown by President Salva Kiir Mayardit, President of the Republic of South Sudan for reaching out to the Non-Signatory Opposition Groups (NSOG) through his request for President William Samoei Ruto to help resolve the South Sudan crisis,” the statement said.

They also expressed hope that the co-mediator, the Community of Sant’Egidio in Italy, will guide the parties to craft a rescue plan to usher South Sudan into peace, good governance, and prosperity. The opposition further said they expected both processes to lead to a national constitutional conference in Kenya and South Sudan in two stages.

The opposition noted that Africa’s newest state was engulfed in a deep national crisis, thus their commitment to abide by whatever agreement the parties reached.

“We are extremely grateful and fortunate that President William Ruto assigned Gen (rtd) Lazarus Sumbeiywo to bring peace to South Sudan once again.”

Sumbeiywo had previously midwifed the birth of South Sudan as an independent state.

South Sudan, which is planning a General Election in December, has been teetering on the verge of collapse and descent into chaos. The service delivery across the country is totally broken with the people lacking access to most social and developmental services. The state is unable to pay the of civil servants, the army, and the police.

Equally worrying is the rampant violence and insecurity that have forced thousands to seek refuge in the Protection of Civilians (POCs) camps run by the United Nations in South Sudan, including in the national capital, Juba. Inter-communal fighting is widespread.

Koch Madut