President Museveni has arrived the South Sudan capital Juba to join other regional leaders for the peace celebration day at the invitation of President Salva Kiir.
Other leaders in attendance include Sudan’s President Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir, that of Ethiopian President Sahle-Work Zewde, Eritrea’s Isaias Afwerki, Somalia’s Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo Mohamed and Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly.
His host Salva Kiir Mayardit received the Ugandan President at Juba International Airport.
Others at the Airport to receive him were Uganda’s Ambassador to South Sudan Col. Ronnie Balya, Senior Presidential Advisor on Defence and Security Gen. Proscovia Nalweyiso and Bukedea Woman Member of Parliament Anita Among, among others.
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 has also arrived in the capital Juba and is expected to join other leaders from across the region at the the celebrations that are premised on a peace deal signed in September under the regional bloc, Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and other international stakeholders.
Mr Kiir and Mr Machar inked the final peace deal mediated by President Omar al-Bashir.
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 Vice President Salva Kiir’s deputy once again.
President Museveni is among the leaders who have championed efforts to end the South Sudan conflict that has had a huge effect on trade and people at large, for Uganda specifically, export revenue to South Sudan reduced by $500m, while at least a million South Sudanese sought refuge in Uganda.
With this peace process taking root, there is hope that the refugees can return home and participate in rebuilding their country.
According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), more than 85 percent of South Sudanese refugees in Uganda are women and children under the age of 18.
In addition to the million refugees now hosted by Uganda, a million or even more South Sudanese refugees are being hosted by Ethiopia, Sudan, the Central African Republic, Kenya and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.