South Sudanese leaders urged to prioritize security, economy in extended transition period

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JUBA, Aug. 5 (Xinhua) -- South Sudanese on Friday called on their leaders to prioritize security and economic reforms after they on Thursday agreed to extend the transitional period for another two years.

Abraham Kuol Nyuon, an assistant professor of political science at the University of Juba, who welcomed the new roadmap signed by President Salva Kiir and other opposition political parties, urged them to immediately hasten the graduation of the 83,000 unified forces.

"This is in fact my advice to the transitional unity government: this new extension should be based on achieving key milestones such as security sector reforms," Kuol told Xinhua in Juba, the capital of South Sudan.

Signatories to the roadmap included Sudan People's Liberation Movement-In Government (SPLM-G) led by Kiir, Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army-In Opposition (SPLM-IO) under First Vice President Riek Machar, and South Sudan Opposition Movement Alliance (SSOMA).

Kuol noted the need for the parties to reach out widely to the citizens to sensitize them on the new roadmap.

The extension of the transitional period, until February 2025, could easily come back to haunt the political players if the roadmap is not supported by citizens, he warned.

The previous transitional period was set to end in February 2023.

"If this extension is not done with citizens in mind, it could even be fuel added to the fire," Kuol said. "They (the parties) need to create an extension that is citizen-friendly in terms of time and milestones that need to be accomplished."

Under the new roadmap, the parties will hold elections by December 2024 before the expiry date in 2025.

Chol John, a primary school teacher, said the extension lacks public legitimacy due to the immense suffering of ordinary South Sudanese amid insecurity and economic hardship.

"People are not enjoying the peace dividends. They are suffering simply because the agreement which is expected to change lives has not been implemented fully," he said.

Chol, however, hoped that if the peace agreement is implemented in letter and spirit the major objectives of peace, justice and prosperity will be achieved.

"We want the parties this time to put in place respect for the rule of law as laid down in the constitution," he said.

Edmund Yakani Berizilious, executive director for Community Empowerment for Progress Organization, called on the parties to prioritize the constitution-making process, the establishment of transitional justice, and accountability mechanisms.

Other key things include the enactment of the Political Parties Act, reform of the judiciary, and enactment of electoral laws ahead of 2025, he said.

Musa Kur, a 35-year-old resident of the Gumbo suburb in Juba, said the extension of the transition period demonstrates that the parties have failed to deliver the much-cherished economic and security sector reforms.

"We as South Sudanese expected the government to enact laws within a short period and then organize elections, but this extension by two years will make refugees not think of returning to the country," Kur said. Enditem

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