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Will South Sudan know peace? Questions asked as Kiir and Machar sign accord to end brutal war

South Sudan’s warring parties signed a peace deal granting rebels key positions in a transitional government, the latest bid to end an almost five-year conflict that’s claimed tens of thousands of lives

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South Sudan’s warring parties signed a peace deal granting rebels key positions in a transitional government, the latest bid to end an almost five-year conflict that’s claimed tens of thousands of lives.

The accord will restore rebel leader Riek Machar as President Salva Kiir’s deputy, while appointing four other vice presidents and adding new posts for ministers and lawmakers. Following the collapse of a similar pact in July 2016, it will be the second attempt at a power-sharing government since the start of the civil war in the East African nation.

Kiir and Machar signed the deal -which came after weeks of incremental agreements — Sunday in Khartoum, the capital of neighboring Sudan. Other opposition politicians and rebel groups also took part in the ceremony.

“We shall rededicate ourselves soberly, our people, and go for peaceful transforming of power through dialogue and ballot boxes rather than the bullets of the guns,” Kiir said after signing.

Read Also: Mnangagwa wins in Zimbabwe but hope of peace deems

Celebrations erupted late Sunday in the streets of South Sudan’s capital, Juba, where a peace agreement is long-awaited. The nation has faced economic chaos because of a decline in oil income, while 4 million people have fled their homes and some areas have been on the verge of famine. Both government forces and rebels have been accused of atrocities and the United Nations Security Council recently imposed an arms embargo.

The warring parties now have eight months to form the government that’s supposed to last 36 months and eventually usher in South Sudan’s first elections since it seceded from Sudan in July 2011.

Kiir and Machar, who was fired as Kiir’s deputy months before the war erupted in December 2013, signed a broadly similar deal in 2015. It collapsed weeks into its enactment the following year, spurring a new wave of violence that fueled Africa’s biggest refugee crisis.

Machar eventually fled into exile and has yet to return to South Sudan.

Politics

Burkina Faso’s junta leader, Ibrahim Traore, assures France of relations amidst recent tension

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Amidst recent diplomatic tension between Burkina Faso and France, the military leader of the West African country, Ibrahim Traoré has claimed that recent incidences do not suggest the end of relations with France.

Burkina Faso had expelled French ambassadors and expelled French troops earlier in the year. French President, Emmanuel Macron had sought clarifications from military President Ibrahim Traore about reported demands for the departure of French troops from the country.

He said: “We’ve heard everywhere in the press that Wagner is in Ouagadougou. That’s also how we heard about it. I’ve asked some people who say, ‘Oh really? Where are they?’

“We’ve since heard that they’re even in a hotel somewhere, we’re surprised to hear about that.”

“There’s a general state of mind whereby if you deal with Wagner, everyone runs away from you, so it’s something which has been created in order that everyone shuns us – well congratulations, good job.”

The wave of anti-French agitations in the West African sub-region has continued in recent times. Notably French relations with Burkina Faso’s neighbour, Mali who is also caught up in a serious security crisis.

“The French embassy is here,” He said. “French nationals are here, just as ours is there, so diplomatically nothing has changed.

“This is about an agreement over military presence, and as they have said, our sovereignty is up to us, so that’s what we are expressing through our denunciation of this agreement. So there is no breaking off of diplomatic relations, or hatred of any particular country.”

France’s position in Africa has been a subject of discussion lately amidst recent anti-French agitations across the continent.

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Politics

Tunisian union, UGTT chief, Noureddine Taboubi accuses President Saied of intimidation

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As part of the fallouts of the recently conducted parliamentary elections in Tunisia, its trade union, UGTT accused President Kais Saied of targeting it as a distraction from record-low election turnout.

The powerful union also accused president Saied of overseeing a “total failure” of economic policies.

The UGTT chief, Noureddine Taboubi at a meeting held at Gammarth to discuss the arrest of the union’s senior official Anis Kaabi earlier in the week said “the president is trying to divert attention from the record low election turnout in the first and second round of legislative elections and the utter failure of his economic and social decisions.”

Mr. Taboubi added: “Why is the UGTT a target?  Because [the authorities] want to pass the painful reforms they are always discussing.

“In order to pass these painful reforms, they need to distract the public with trivia by saying that the reason for this situation is the UGTT.”

The election, which was a second round of the Tunisian parliamentary polls held last Sunday with reports that nearly 90% of the electorate did not vote, making it the highest level of abstention since the 2011 revolution that toppled dictator Ben Ali and marked the advent of democracy in the country.

Voter turnout for the first round of the parliamentary elections in December was only 11%, prompting widespread ridicule among Saied’s opponents and new demands by the powerful labour union that he changes tack.

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