South Sudanese on Thursday were upbeat after President Salva Kiir and ex-rebel leader Riek Machar vowed to form a transitional government of national unity by mid-February 2020 in a bid to end more than five years of civil strife in the world’s youngest republic.
David Manyang, who hails from Jonglei region bordering Ethiopia to the east, said that he had allowed his young family to return home from Kampala, Uganda to spend the festive season amid hope for the long term stability.
“Following the recent face-to-face meeting between President Salva Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar, we are confident there will be no more chaos in the country,” said Manyang.
“I will now enjoy this year’s Christmas celebrations with my family and friends,” he added.
Manyang said that citizens are no longer worried about insecurity as it used to be in the past because many families are returning home after lengthy stay abroad.
Juma Peter, a Juba resident, echoed Manyang’s sentiment that the presence of the two arch-rivals in the capital at this time as citizens are ready for festivities is very encouraging in terms of confidence-building.
Peter said what would make this year’s festivities peaceful more than previous years is because there have been no security advisories from the foreign embassies warning their citizens, saying that the advisories used to scare locals.
“If you look at the movement of people along the major roads linking the country to the neighbouring countries, for instance, in Sherikat a suburb of the capital, Juba, where a bus park is located, you see that people are not going out like last years,” Peter said.
Sara Subandrio, a resident of Juba’s Munuki suburb, hailed reconciliation efforts spearheaded by President Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar saying it will bring lasting peace, stability and cohesion in South Sudan.