President Ruto appoints Sumbeiywo to lead South Sudan mediation

Friday, March 29th, 2024 08:57 | By
Ruto, Salva Kiir ink deal to lay fiber optic cable along Eldoret-Juba road
President William Ruto and his South Sudan counterpart Salva Kiir at State House Nairobi on Saturday, August 19, 2023. PHOTO/PCS

President William Ruto has appointed former Kenya Army Commander Lazarus Sumbeiywo as the chief mediator in the South Sudan peace process.

The appointment was made by Ruto after a request made by South Sudan's President Salva Kiir, according to a State House communique.

"President William Ruto, at the request of President Salva Kiir of South Sudan, has appointed former Army Commander Lazarus Sumbeiywo as the Chief Mediator for the South Sudan Mediation Peace Process," the State House communique read.

Sumbeiywo will be deputized by Mohammed Guyo.

"At the same time, President Ruto has also appointed Ambassador Mohammed Ali Guyo as the Assistant Mediator," the statement added.

The appointments have been made, with South Sudan's elections set to be held later this year. Kiir had requested that Ruto facilitate talks in Nairobi with opposition groups and other sections of society in that country.

The groups include holdout opposition organised under the rubric of the South Sudan Opposition Alliance, religious groups, and civil society.

The main objective of the talks is to reach consensus and peace regarding the conduct of the election.

Ruto explained why he settled on Sumbeiywo as chief mediator. The retired soldier has experience in the South Sudan peace process spanning nearly 20 years.

"Based on your wealth of experience and invaluable contribution in negotiating and the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005, I appoint you as the Chief Mediator from April 1, 2024, and June 30, 2025," Ruto said.

Outlining his mandate, the President said Sumbeiywo would provide the day-to-day leadership of the South Sudan Mediation Peace Process on my behalf.

Sumbeiywo is expected to facilitate negotiations and interaction among the parties to achieve peace and political stability in the East African country.

The chief mediator is expected to report directly to President Ruto and provide monthly reports.

Providing periodic updates to all stakeholders will also be part of his job. The stakeholders include the Advisory Panel, Partners Forum, and Stakeholders Forum, among others.

Sumbeiywo's experience

Sumbeiywo is an experienced mediator, having played a key role when he helped reconcile Sudan President Omar Al Bashir and John Garang of the southern-based resistance movement, the SPLM/A.

The mediation process culminated in the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in January 2005, which brought to an end an over-two-decade conflict between South Sudan and Sudan.

This mediation process spread for over five years before peace was eventually realised in one of the deadliest conflicts in Africa.

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