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JUBA - 3 Oct 2018

Buy textbooks, not guns; departing peace monitor asks South Sudan leaders

The outgoing head of IGAD's Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) for South Sudan, Festus Mogae, called on the South Sudanese political leaders to buy textbooks and turn swords into ploughshares instead of buying guns.

The former Botswana president was speaking during a farewell reception held in his honour in the capital Juba on Tuesday evening.

The former Chairperson of JMEC appealed to South Sudanese to come together to build their country, pointing out that many things may have gone wrong but it is time to concentrate on the future and implement the revitalized peace agreement.

Mogaue said he remains hopeful that tragedy that befell South Sudan, will one day come to an end and that South Sudan leaders will ultimately see the necessity of turning swords into ploughshares.

“I am more optimistic because South Sudan political leaders must be tired of fighting, instead of destroying the country, they could use the natural resources to build social and physical infrastructure,” he said.

Mogae, who stepped down as the Chairperson of JMEC at the end of last month, appealed to the regional and international community to fully support the now more inclusive unity government for the successful implementation of the revitalized peace agreement. 

He thanked IGAD leadership for giving him “the opportunity to be part of the pursuit to stabilize the Africa’s youngest nation.” 

 “That was a big honour and it is a pity that I am leaving when peace has not been completely achieved. But together, much has been achieved as well, including the constitution of key institutions and mechanisms which remain critical to the implementation of the Revitalized Agreement,” he said.

Mogae reflected on the missed opportunities and challenges he encountered while at the helm of the Commission, whose mandate is to monitor, evaluate and report the implementation of the peace agreement. 
“At one time, I pushed for the one voice message among IGAD member states. I think they listened but I don’t think they spoke with one voice, as I would have wanted them to do,” he said.
“However, my appeal to launch a process for the revitalization of the 2015 Agreement was accepted,” he added.

“I depart with hope and best wishes to the people of South Sudan. Much remains to be done. I pray for the peace and tranquillity that this country deserves.”

JMEC was established under the terms of the  2015 peace agreement to monitor the implementation of the agreement.