Ramaphosa in South Sudan to ease tensions
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa arrived in Juba‚ the capital of South Sudan‚ on Thursday‚ to help the country end its civil war and reunite the divided ruling party.
Ramaphosa is representing President Jacob Zuma at a conference convened by the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM)‚ the ruling party.
An independent state since July 2011 ruled by the SPLM‚ the party split into two blocs in 2013‚ when an ethnic-based civil war began. The SPLM-Juba faction‚ under Sudanese President Salva Kirr‚ controls the cabinet and the presidency‚ while the SPLM In Opposition is headed by former vice president Riek Machar.
A political power struggle broke out between President Kiir and Machar in 2013‚ as the president accused Machar and ten others of attempting a coup. Rebels targeted members of Kiir's Dinka ethnic group and government soldiers attacked Nuers.
A ceasefire was signed in January 2014‚ and a peace agreement in August 2015.
The SPLM's Extraordinary Convention‚ scheduled for Thursday and Friday‚ is meant to reduce tensions between the factions of the SPLM. Ramaphosa‚ working together with Abdurahman Kinana‚ the Secretary-General of Tanzania's ruling party Chama cha -Mapinduzi‚ has been involved in efforts to bring unity among the various factions of the SPLM.
Ramaphosa and Kinana have been involved in a number of initiatives to help unify the SPLM‚ including the return of former detainees.