The war in South Sudan which left a trail of death and destruction has officially come at end, with the country witnessing the formation of a new government.
President Salva Kiir Mayardit presided over the swearing in ceremony for the First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar, who was appointed on February 21 to the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity.
The swearing in ceremony was administered by the Chief Justice Chan Reech Madut at the State House on Saturday.
The historic event was witnessed by the President of Sudan Sovereign Council Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, Deputy President of South Africa, David Mabuza, Prime Minister of the Republic of Uganda, Ruhakana Rugunda and the International partners to the peace agreement.
“This swearing-in signifies the official end of the war and we can now declare a new dawn in South Sudan,” said Kiir.
“Peace has come to stay, not to be shaken ever again in this nation,” he added.
The three Vice Presidents, Dr. James Wani Igga, General Taban Deng Gai and Rebecca Nyandeng Garang, also took oath of office in the new government.
South Sudan, the world’s youngest nation, has been mired in instability and conflict for nearly all eight years of its existence.
In 2018, President Kiir and his former Vice-President and long-time political rival, Mr. Machar, signed a peace accord with the hopes that it would end the crisis and improve the lives and safety of millions of South Sudanese.
However, disputes later emerged on the number of states and reintegration of armed forces hence delaying the inauguration of the new government.
Hopes are high that the new Unity Government will bring an end to the conflict.
Kiir urged South Sudanese to “forgive one another and forge a way forward.”
The President further said, him and Dr Riek Machar will lead the way for forgiveness and reconciliation in the country.
He also assured the people that the country has attained sustainable peace.
Earlier, President officiated the swearing in ceremony for Mayiik Ayii Deng as the Minister of Presidential Affairs, and Tut Gatluak as Presidential Advisor of National Security Affairs, in the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity, Justice Joan Alice Joshua was also sworn in as Head of legal administration in the office of the President.
urged the newly appointed officials to stand firm with him in the revitalized transitional government of national unity.
The Executive Director in the Office of President James Deng Wal congratulated Mayiik Ayii Deng for winning the trust of President Salva Kiir to reappoint him as Minister of Presidential Affairs.
On his part, the newly appointed Presidential advisor on National Security Affairs Tut Gatluak appreciated President Kiir for appointing them back into the government as an Advisor and promised to work hard to provide services to the people.
Meanwhile, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres welcomed on Saturday the establishment of the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU) in South Sudan.
In a statement issued by his spokesperson, the UN chief commended the parties for the “significant achievement in the implementation of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan”.
“The Secretary-General applauds regional and international efforts that contributed to this result”, the statement continued.
Mr. Guterres also called on the TGoNU members to “fully adhere to the letter and spirit of the Agreement”, so that the people of South Sudan can finally realize the benefits of durable peace and stability they deserve.
“The United Nations stands ready, in close coordination with the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development and the African Union, to assist the parties in implementing the Agreement”, the statement concluded.
‘Courage in peace’
Saturday’s ceremony took place just before the peace agreement deadline expired.
UN Special Representative David Shearer called it “a thrill” to witness the signing in of Vice President Riek Machar and hailed it as “a new chapter in South Sudan’s history”.
Noting that “often the courage in peace is greater than the courage in war”, Mr. Shearer, who also heads the UN Mission in South Sudan acknowledged the courage of both President Salva Kiir “for taking the decisions that he needed to take” and Mr. Machar “for coming back after conflict” and joining to make the Unity Government possible.
“I believe that after this signing and the forming of a transitional government we will see floods of people returning to their homes, picking up their lives” and getting on with hope for what the future holds, he said.