JUBA, OCTOBER 22, 2023 (SUDANS POST) – At least six South Sudanese opposition political organizations led by the Revive South Sudan Party (RSSP) on Thursday announced the formation of a new political alliance they said will work to restore democracy in the war-torn country.
Known as Coalition for Restoration of Democracy (CORD) in South Sudan, the alliance comprises of RSSP under prominent civil rights activist Peter Biar Ajak, Common People’s Alliance (CPA) led by Garang Kuot Kuot, SPLM-IO Kitgwang represented by Goi Jooyul Yol, Steps We64 led by Suzzane Jambo, United Citizens for Change (UCC) led by Jongkor Mayol, and Red Army of South Sudan led by Deng Mayik Atem.
In a communique following a three-day meeting in Washington DC, United States, from October 12 to October 14, the exiled political leaders affirmed “our unity in diversity” as well as their “unwavering commitment to a shared vision of a democratic, diverse, liberated, and prosperous South Sudan.”
They also said that they are concerned “about the inadequate political will to implement the Revitalize Peace Agreement and prepare the nation for genuine and credible democratic elections.”
The communique said that the formation of the latest alliance is aimed at helping bring democracy to South Sudan and called on other political groups, civil society organizations and faith-based leaders to unite forces so as to help in the democracy project.
“[We] agreed to establish the Coalition for Restoration of Democracy (CORD), to champion the cause of peaceful and democratic transition in South Sudan,” they said. “We call upon other political forces and civil society groups in South Sudan to join us in efforts to work towards a free and democratic South Sudan.”
South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in July 2011 after decades of war with Islamist north.
Despite promises of peace and prosperity, the country went into a deadly war in December 2013, just two years after independence.
The conflict was triggered by the power struggle between Salva Kiir and Riek Machar over who should be the ruling party’s candidate for election slated at the time for 2015.
The war was largely fought along ethnic lines, with the Dinka supporting Kiir against his now deputy president Machar, who was supported by the Nuer. As a result, more than 400,000 people died, according to 2018 estimates.
Under international pressure, Kiir and Machar signed a revitalized version of a previous agreement in September 2018 to end a five-year-old civil war and take the country to elections after a three-year transitional period.
But nearly five years down the road, the two men are struggling to implement it and while the two agreed to postpone elections for two more years in August 2022, there is no indication that the democratic process will take place in 2024 as the two have publicly differed over its conduct.
While Kiir is calling for elections despite pending provisions of the peace agreement, Machar says South Sudan needs more time and has expressed fears of election rigging and warned that it could be another recipe for return to a more deadly war.
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