By Catherine Apolot
President Yoweri Museveni has on Wednesday arrived in the South Sudan Capital Juba for the peace celebration day. He was invited by President Salva Kiir.
Museveni joins other regional leaders including Sudan’s President Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir, Somalia’s Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo Mohamed, Eritrea’s Isaias Afwerki, Ethiopian President Sahle-Work Zewde and Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly who are already in the country for the celebrations.
The celebrations being held under the theme “Celebrating the dawn of peace, appreciating friends, cherishing reconciliation and Unity,” are taking place at the John Garang Museliem in Juba.
Former first vice-president of South Sudan, Riek Machar is also in the capital Juba after fleeing two years ago.
Machar, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement In Opposition (SPLM-IO) leader is expected to join other leaders from across the region at the celebrations that are premised on a peace deal signed in September under the regional bloc, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD)and other international stakeholders.
Kiir and Machar inked the final peace deal mediated by Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir under the auspices of IGAD, an east African bloc.
The 2015 peace agreement to end the violence was violated in July 2016 when the rival factions resumed fighting in the capital Juba, forcing Machar to flee into exile. Under the new peace deal signed last month, Machar will be Kiir’s deputy once again.
The South Sudan conflict has had a huge effect on trade. During stability, Uganda used to export over US$700 million worth of goods. With the war, this has shrunk to a miserable US$200 million.