Rebecca Nyandeng, widow of South Sudan’s founding father John Garang, has said that President Salva Kiir’s government is ineffective and should be replaced.
“If you are afraid to say it, I am saying it, because there is nothing they are delivering. “Three weeks ago, hundreds of people died. How many people do we need to die in order for us to see this government [is] not delivering? Mrs Garang said at the ongoing talks in Addis Ababa, sponsored by Intergovernmental Authority on Development, that are aimed at revitalizing a 2015 peace deal.
She added: “The way forward is for the government in Juba to go, because there is nothing that they can deliver and they will never change. Dr. John used to say the government in Khartoum is too deformed to be reformed. It is this government in Juba which is too deformed to be reformed.”
Meanwhile, more than 100 members of the many South Sudan warring factions gathered at the Addis forum hope to work out a cease-fire as soon as Friday, with representatives of both armed and unarmed groups meeting Tuesday at the African Union headquarters to discuss a draft permanent cease-fire.
The atmosphere at the talks was tense, with various parties holding side meetings to discuss specific parts of a cease-fire agreement, including security arrangements and unfettered access of humanitarian agencies operating in South Sudan.
However, civil society groups at the forum said the warring parties should first silence their guns. Clashes between government forces and rebel fighters loyal to Riek Machar were still being reported in Lasu, Kajo Keji in Yei River state and Lol state.
Edmond Yakani of the Community Empowerment Network said that warring parties were positioning themselves to gain territory on the ground before signing a cease-fire.
“We are heading to dry season,” when fighting typically flares up. “And that is why we called for the armed groups, for the sake of the lives of the citizens of South Sudan,” to stop fighting for at least a week, Yakani said.
South Sudanese gender activist Rita Lopidia said the fighting has taken a heavy toll on women and girls.
“The suffering of the women and girls in the republic of South Sudan has surpassed all levels of carnage,” she said, adding: “The massive displacement, the deteriorating economy, lack of protection, fear, insecurity, hunger, disease and poverty, the sexual violence committed with impunity must not be tolerated.”