Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has concluded his three-day working visit to Kenya and South Sudan.
The Deputy President visited the countries in his capacity as Special Envoy of President Jacob Zuma to South Sudan during which he hailed steps taken to reunite the ruling party’s Sudanese Peoples Liberation Movement (SPLM) and to end the war in South Sudan.
The visit to South Sudan also came against the background of regional efforts aimed at cementing lasting peace in South Sudan and consolidating gains made with the signing of the Reunification Agreement in Arusha, Tanzania, early this year.
The Reunification Agreement, which was signed by the various factions of the SPLM, is aimed at addressing political, organisational and leadership issues, the source of political crisis in the SPLM and conflict in South Sudan.
Deputy President Ramaphosa departed from South Sudan, on Wednesday, following a visit to Juba during which five Nairobi-based members of the Former Detainees group of the SPLM returned to their home country for the first time since December 2013.
The group has been based in Nairobi since December 2013 when divisions within South Sudan’s ruling party gave rise to war within the country.
Speaking to the media at the Juba airport before he departed, Deputy President Ramaphosa characterised their return home as a giant and brave step towards building peace in South Sudan.
“They were very courageous, they were very brave to have taken this step in terms of implementing the Arusha SPLM Reunification Agreement.”
On the mission to Juba, Deputy President Ramaphosa was accompanied by Secretary-General of Tanzania’s ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party Abdulrahman Kinana, and the Foreign Ministers of Kenya and Ethiopia.
The CCM and the South African ruling party’s African National Congress are co-guarantors of efforts to reunite and rebuild the ruling party of South Sudan.
During the Juba visit, Deputy President Ramaphosa held discussions with President Salva Kiir of South Sudan, co-guarantors of the peace process and the returning SPLM – Former Detainees group.
This group also held separate discussions with structures of the SPLM in government in Juba.
The Deputy President described their meeting as honest and frank.
“We had honest discussions and really thorough-going discussions. We believe that following on this past few days we built a very good firm foundation for the peace process to now move ahead. We want to move with speed, we want to move with determination and this we are determined to do all of us working together.”
At a dinner hosted on Tuesday in honour of the visiting delegation including the returning Former Detainees, Deputy President Ramaphosa said the mission to Juba wanted to ensure that “peace reigns and the guns of war are silenced once and for all”.
The Deputy President said the return by Former Detainees for discussions with their SPLM colleagues had been a “most historic occasion to welcome back your own comrades into South Sudan,” adding that the reconciliation based on peace and the rebuilding of South Sudan and the SPLM was within reach.
“The historical task of revolutionaries is not to continue a war that is senseless and useless the historic task is to seek peace and instil it in the hearts of our people. Let bygones be bygones let anger and grievance (take a back seat) in our search for peace,” Deputy President Ramaphosa urged.
He assured the people of South Sudan that South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda would remain at their side in their quest for peace.
“The peace that we intend to build here is the task of the South Sudanese leadership and the people of South Sudan. No one else can build peace in South Sudan other than the leadership of the SPLM,” he said, adding that the SPLM has a big responsibility on its shoulder to build peace.
“What we have seen here is the clear determination that everybody wants to build peace and we believe that we will move ahead with the support of the leaders here and I would like to thank Vice President James Wani Igga for seeing me off. I saw him briefly in Nairobi and now I see you again and he has also briefed me and I briefed him as well.”
On Monday, Deputy President Ramaphosa paid a courtesy call on Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta, attended Kenya’s Independence Day celebrations and held a meeting with the former detainees SPLM before they departed to Juba.
Source : SAnews.gov.za