Former USAID head says South Sudan reforms unrealistic under Juba regime
WASHINGTON, D.C. (20 Sep.)

A former head of United States agency for international Development, USAID,
has asserted no meaningful economic reforms will ever occur in South Sudan
under the current regime in Juba. Kate Almquist Knopf, former USAID head in
South Sudan and Sudan said macro-economic stabilization is unrealistic with
the current regime in power.

“The same elite that have compromised South Sudan’s sovereignty are
responsible for squandering tens of billions of dollars in oil revenue
since 2005, and there is no evidence to suggest they would improve their
financial management practices in the future”, Knopf wrote in a testimony
before US legislators. The former top US official also said president Salva
Kiir and his main political rival and former vice president Riek Machar can
be peacefully excluded from South Sudan’s political and economic life if
they see the walls closing in on them and are offered a pathway that
ensures their physical safety outside the country.

Meanwhile Luka Biong Deng Kuol, Global Fellow Peace Research Institute Oslo
(PRIO) And Fellow at Rift Valley Institute, who also testified before the
congress on Wednesday said there are elements both in government and
opposition that are against peace and are the ones igniting violence and
influencing public opinion against the friends of South Sudan such as the
region, AU, UN and Troika countries.

To implement the peace agreement, according to Luka Biong, the
anti-elements on both sides must be isolated so that the agreement is
implemented as an incentive to their intransigent role in the process.
“These elements are driven more by wartime vendettas and narrow
self-interest. They have actively encouraged conflict ever since”, he wrote
in his testimony, copy of which extended to Radiotamazuj.

He continued: “When the big tent collapsed along the old dividing lines it
became obvious that the Government of South Sudan includes some officials
who are working hard to implement the Agreement, some who are undecided;
and others who are against the peace because it doesn't serve their agenda.
In terms of achieving the much-needed environment of political will, the
challenge is to strengthen the supporters of peace, win over the undecided
and isolate the anti-peace elements”.

He fell short of calling for exclusion of neither president Kiir nor Riek
Machar from playing a role in the affairs of the country, saying the two
leaders should be encouraged to work together, as happened to the Sudanese
president Omer El Bashir with late John Garang and Salva Kiir during
interim period.

“There are challenges of who to oversee the implementation of these
reforms. Although peace agreement is very clear that the principals of the
peace agreement (President Salva Kiir and Dr Riek Machar) are to oversee
these reforms, there are voices calling otherwise. In fact there are three
options: first is the peace agreement option of President Salva Kiir and Dr
Riek Machar as principals to the Agreement; the second is for one to step
down; and the third is that both step aside to give others a chance to
oversee these reforms. Despite the fact that President Salva and Dr Riek
Machar are unlikely to work together after the recent violent conflict in
July 2016, there is no option that can be imposed on them”.

“Given the fact that peace agreement is a win-win situation, the two
principals should be encouraged to work together as did Dr John Garang and
President Bashir and later on President Salva and President Bashir to
implement the CPA. If international community can use its diplomatic
leverage to convince either of the principals or both principals to give
way voluntarily with necessary exit packages and guarantees that may
provide a new leadership to champion the political reforms in South Sudan”.

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