Incorporating R-ARCSS into South Sudan’s Transitional Constitution, a joke – Information Minister

 

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Information Minister and government spokesperson, Michael Makuei Lueth addressing the media during an unknown event ( File/Supplied/Nyamilepedia).

October 4th 2019 (Nyamilepedia)-The Minister of Information and Broadcasting Michael Makuei has said an attempt to incorporate the Revitalized Peace Agreement into the Transitional constitution of the Republic of South Sudan is just a joke.

“Talking about the constitution at this time is just a joke, because we can take it today, present it to the parliament, the parliament will pass it, it is brought to the President, the President signs it into law and then it is waiting for that day. So, it is not a necessity.”

The Information Minister and government spokesperson, Makuei, undecored that there is no cause for alarm and members of the public should not worry about the delay in incorporating the peace agreement into the constitution, pointing out that the time is not yet ripe.

“There have been a lot of voices; people have been talking a lot – expressing worries about the delay in the enactment of the constitution, and we have been telling them the constitution at present is not the priority,” said Michael Makuei on Thursday.

Noting that, “Even if it was signed now by the President, it would wait for the establishment of the transitional government of the revitalized TGoNU.”

South Sudan’s Parties signed an agreement last year, aimed at ending violence that has triggered one of the highest levels of displacement on record.

Under the terms of the Revitalized Peace Agreement, the National Constitutional Amendment Committee (NCAC) – a body charged with overseeing the constitution – is supposed to begin the process of incorporating peace into the country’s constitution as soon as it is signed

“Pursue robust & diplomatic efforts to engage South Sudan’s leaders” – IR urges UN, IGAD and donor countries

 

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The Emblem of the Refugees International (Credit: IR)

October 4th 2019 (Nyamilepedia)-Refugees International (IR), an international humanitarian organization, has urged the United Nations, IGAD member states and donor countries to continue to make a strong and coordinated diplomatic effort to engage South Sudanese leaders as the formation of a Transitional Government of National Unity draws closer.

To the UN, Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) donor countries;

“Pursue a robust, coordinated, diplomatic effort to engage South Sudan’s leaders toward creation of a transitional government by the new deadline of November 12, 2019 and further implementation of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS).”

The global advocacy group urged the international community and the region to ensure the safety of the SPLM-IO Chairman, Dr. Riek Machar, before returning permanently to Juba without fear for his life.

This implementation should include the following;

 

  •  “Engaging Salva Kiir and Riek Machar directly, including facilitating the safe permanent return of Machar to South Sudan and prioritizing efforts at cantonment, integration of forces, and political settlement of the issue of states and borders within South Sudan.

 

  •  Establishing clear consequences for failure to implement key elements of the peace agreement, such as targeted sanctions aimed at South Sudan’s leaders, including travel bans and asset freezes.”

The Refugees International called on the UN and IGAD countries to exert pressure on South Sudan government to immediately disburse funding for the speedy implementation of the Revitalized Peace Agreement.

 

  •  “Pressuring the current government to make good on its pledge to provide $100 million to implement the peace process, with priority given to funding for cantonment and integration of forces.

 

  • Conditioning further funding of measures of importance to the parties, such as cantonment and demobilization of some troops and training of others, on the demonstrated commitment and tangible progress in the peace agreement made by the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) and the opposition.”

Pushing the current government to accept external assistance on housing, land, and property (HLP) issues.

 

  • “Continue to expand services in areas of return, but in a manner that does not force IDPs in PoCs to choose between protection and services.
  • Support further analysis by UN and NGO actors on the issues of population movements, intentions, and barriers to returns to better plan for returns and avoid manipulation of those returns for political purposes.
  • Fully fund the efforts laid out in the 2019 Humanitarian Response Plan (calling for $1.5 billion in aid and currently funded at just 46 percent) and sustain high levels of humanitarian aid.”

The statement seen by Nyamilepedia called on the Commission of Human Rights on South Sudan, mandated by the UN Human Rights Council, to investigate the ethnic dislocation taking place in the country and specifically, the United States should reappoint a special envoy for South Sudan, with experience and stature in the region and who enjoys White House backing.

Pointing out that, “The envoy should prioritize support for the peace process and combatting aid manipulation and ethnic dislocation.”

The advocacy group, press on South Sudan’s government to implement all provisions of the peace deal, this includes disarmament, demobilization and integration of forces into a unified national army.

TO THE GOVERNMENT OF SOUTH SUDAN AND OPPOSITION LEADERS;

Implement unfulfilled aspects of the peace agreement, including use of the $100 million pledged by the current government, with a priority for the following:

  • Cantonment of soldiers in agreed-upon sites and initiation of disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration programs.
  •  Integration of forces to reflect ethnic diversity and reduce the overall number of soldiers in a new unified army.
  • Settlement of the number and boundaries of states in a manner that avoids disenfranchisement of ethnic minorities.
  • Meet at the highest levels, including regular in-person meetings between President Salva Kiir and former Vice President Riek Machar, to reach a political agreement on Machar’s permanent return to Juba.
  • Establish a special court for adjudicating HLP issues arising in the context of ethnic dislocation taking place in towns like Malakal and Wau.

Finally, the statement called for rapid establishment of the hybrid court to try those accused of committing heinous crimes against the civilian population.

“Promote accountability for atrocities committed during the civil war by establishing the hybrid African Union-South Sudanese court that the peace agreement called for to try those responsible for crimes against humanity and war crimes.”

EAC lawmakers agree to impose sanctions on South Sudan over fee arrears 

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The Emblem of the East African Community (File/Supplied/Nyamilepedia)

 

October 4th 2019 (Nyamilepedia)-During its high-lvel meeting convened in Arusha, Tanzania, the Council of Ministers of the East African Community has adopted a resolution to impose sanctions and ban South Sudan from the regional body’s membership, should it fail to fully meet its obligations, the regional bloc said on Friday.

Following the deliberations, the East African regional bloc, EAC, unanimously agreed to suspend membership of the world’s youngest nation, South Sudan, due to its non-compliance with the terms and conditions provided for in the group’s constitution.

At the moment, South Sudan is being required to fulfill its commitments by paying its pending membership fees, totaling about 27 million US dollars.

In June, the East African Community threatened to suspend Juba over unnecessary delays in speeding up its payment plans. However, the South Sudanese government pleaded with the EAC Council of Ministers, asking for the group to give it more time to pay its pending dues.

According to the EAC Treaty, each member state is required to pay about $ 8 million on an annual basis.

South Sudan, which joined East African countries, on 5 September 2016, is currently facing a serious economic crisis due to the ongoing conflict in the country.

SSPDF forces still occupy civilian buildings in Yei River State- ceasefire monitors

 

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Emblem of the CTSAMM (File/Supplied/Nyamilepedia)

October 3rd 2019 (Nyamilepedia)-At the 15th Meeting of the CTSAMVM Technical Committee held on Wednesday in the capital Juba, the ceasefire monitoring body, CTSAMM, reported that the SSPDF troops still occupy four schools located near Yei River State, bringing the number of occupied civilian buildings to 39.

“On the occupation of civilian buildings, I regret to inform you that four more buildings have been occupied since we last met. The Lora Primary School, Ronyi Primary School, Jambu Primary School and Wuktebi Primary School – all near Yei – are now occupied by government forces. Only two buildings have been vacated – by the SSPDF in Nimule and in Moli Tokuro, both reported by our MVT in Torit. This brings the total number of occupied civilian buildings to 39,” said CTSAMM Chairman Maj. Gen. Desta Abiche Ageno in an opening remark.

The Chairman of CTSAMM, Abiche, called on all Parties involved – particularly government forces – to safely vacate the civilian buildings or else it could be considered a breach of the R-ARCSS.

“35 of these buildings – mainly schools and health centres – are occupied by government forces and 4 by the SPLM/A-IO. The failure to vacate these buildings demonstrates a lack of commitment to the peace process. CTSAMVM advises the parties to consider the occupation of each building as a violation, representing a total of 39 violations in all,” he added.

Occupation of civilian buildings as stipulated in Chapter II of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS), is considered as one of the flagrant violations of the peace deal signed by the Parties.

South Sudan’s peace partners are expected to fully implement all critical pending tasks of the agreement before the formation of a Transitional Government of National Unity scheduled for 12 November.

In the past few months, the IGAD Council of Ministers’ set a timeframe that, at least 50 per cent of the 83,000 Necessary Unified Forces should be cantoned and barracked, trained and deployed by 30 September, however, the deadline has now passed.

Open letter: SPLM-IO Deputy Chair, Odwar writes to Head of JMEC concerning Maiwut’s incident

 

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SPLM/A-IO Deputy Chairman, Henry Dilah Odwar (File/Supplied/Nyamilepedia).

October 3rd 2019 (Nyamilepedia)-Ambassador Lt. Gen. Augostino Njoroge, Interim Chairperson, Revitalized Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (R-JMEC), Juba, South Sudan.

Systematic violations of COHA and permanent ceasefire by the Incumbent TGNU in Maiwut County-

Dear Sir,

I am writing to bring to your attention the flagrant and systematic violations of the Revitalized Agreement by the Incumbent TGNU in Maiwut County. Under the Agreement and Cessation of Hostility Agreement (CoHA, December, 2017), the parties are under obligation to refrain from prohibited actions outline in CoHA including those outlined in Revitalized Agreement Article 2.1.10.4 “offensive, provocative or retaliatory actions such as dissemination of hostile propaganda, recruitment, mobilization, redeployment and movement offorces…

The Incumbent TGNU has since August, 2019 engaged in systematic violations of the text and spirit Of the Agreement unabated. This campaign is aimed at undermining the Permanent Ceasefire declared in September, 2018.

As part of its mandate, in August, 2019, the JMCC established Turuw Cantonment site and deployed AJMCC and JMCT in Maiwut area.

But due to the government hostilities in the area, Turuw cantonment site has never been operationalized. In fact the government militias attacked and now effectively occupy the site. The AJMCC and JMCT deployed in Maiwut have since failed to discharge their mandate due to intimidations threats to their lives and denial of access to Turuw cantonment site.

Further in August, as part of mobilization and recruitment drive by the government, the leadership of SPLMA-IO was shocked and outraged by the conduct of the National Security and Intelligent Service to recruit and fly some SPLMA-IO officers from Khartoum to Juba and airlifted them upon arrival to Maiwut County to destabilize the area.

The latest plan to destabilize Maiwut was announced by the government on 25/9/2019. Maj, Gen. Ochan Puot, who was sewing SPLA-IO martial disciplinary procedure, was announced by the government spokesperson and the Minister of Information to have defected to the government.

This announcement was televised on South Sudan Broadcasting Corporation for two consecutive days from 25-26/9/2019. The SSPDF since then has been supplying and arming Maj. Gen. Ochan in Maiwut and use him as a proxy counter-insurgence unit to destabilize the area, In fact the SSPDF now occupies civilian area of Jotome, Wechluak-jaak and Turuw areaThese flagrant violations of the Agreement undermine the text and spirit Of the Agreement and seek to overturn the Permanent Ceasefire. SPLMA-IO brings these violations to your attention for your appropriate actions.

Outrage as oil spill causes serious environmental pollution in South Sudan’s Northern Liech State

 

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An image showing crude oil seeping into water sources in one of the three areas of South Sudan’s Northern Liech state (File/Supplied/Nyamilepedia)

October 3rd 2019 (Nyamilepedia)-Local authorities and members of parliament representing South Sudan’s Northern Liech states have raised grave concerns about the spill of crude oil, which is said to have caused catastrophic environmental pollution, and killed aquatic animals and birds in three oil-producing areas.

This is not the first time that crude oil has seeped into rivers and water sources, causing enormous suffering to the population and aquatic ecosystem.

Speaking to the media earlier this week, the Undersectretary of the Ministry of Petroleum, Mayen Wol said that the government has no hidden agenda to harm these innocent people Affected by the pollution, noting that they’re citizens who deserve better treatment like everyone else in the country.

“There are no bad intentions against anybody because these are our people, and we cannot drill oil while it kills our people,” said Mayen Wol in a statement.

He stressed that the government and oil companies are ready to address the matter and will be repairing the leaked pipeline soon so that the affected communities do not face such an incident in the near future.

“So, we will make sure that the mess we have created is cleaned, and the pipe is going to be renovated so that nothing of this kind happens again.”

South Sudan’s oilfields are being run by foreign oil company, called the Greater Pioneer Operating Company or GPOC –an oil firm responsible for overseeing four other companies, Malaysians, Indians, Chinese and Nilepet of South Sudan.

“R-ARCSS slowly missing intended targets again”- civil society group sounds alarm bells

 

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South Sudan Leaders Signing The Revitalized Peace Agreement In The Sudanese Capital Khartoum (File/Supplied/Nyamilepedia)

October 3rd 2019 (Nyamilepedia)-The South Sudan Civil Society Forum’s Observations on Cantonment and Related Processes.

1. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

1. Efforts by transitional security mechanisms to unify the forces of the parties to the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS) were desperately frustrated and made to fall far behind schedule by insufficient government funding of the peace process.

2.  It is no longer possible for parties to the R-ARCSS to produce trained Necessary Unified Forces (NUFs) at the agreed upon amounts prior to commencement of the Transitional Period set for November 12, 2019.

3. Without clear allocation and consistent disbursement of government revenues for implementation of the R-ARCSS, the anticipated Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (R-TGONU) is bound to be paralyzed if it is formed at all.

4. Lack of full and sustained national ownership of the R-ARCSS is a stark indicator of weak internal commitment to implement the peace agreement and is likely to shatter public confidence in the peace process.

5. Unfavorable conditions bordering starvation at cantonment sites present a threat to both the process of reorganization of the forces and safety of civilians. Persistent hunger may cause soldiers to loot food from civilians and desert the cantonment sites.

6. Intercommunal violence and a surge in armed criminality have profound implications on the safety of civilians and may eventually erode their confidence in the peace agreement.

7. The level of collaboration among military officers of the various parties since the signing of the R-ARCSS is an important asset to sustain compliance with provisions of the permanent ceasefire.

8. Achievements of the R-ARCSS are far below intended targets in the Pre-Transitional Period. However, the country would have disintegrated more and descended further into political violence and destruction without this imperfect peace agreement.

9. The country should continue to pursue peace through the R-ARCSS and other viable options.

10. As regional authorities, IGAD and the African Union, acting collaboratively can help increase R-ARCSS outcomes and prospects for peace in South Sudan. Backing from the United Nations and other wider international community are critical in this regard.

  • 2. INTRODUCTION

This report presents a summary of observations of civil society on cantonment process and review of reports of mechanisms implementing the Revitalized Agreement on the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS). It follows a visit to Ding Ding cantonment site and Bentiu army barracks on September 20, 2019.

 

The report is not a comprehensive assessment of the implementation of the R-ARCSS in the Pre-Transitional Period. It is limited to cantonment process and related outstanding issues of the RARCSS. It is meant to draw attention of the parties, implementation mechanisms, stakeholders, guarantors and partners to the R-ARCSS to issues surrounding implementation of this peace agreement. It was produced by the South Sudan Civil Society Forum (SSCSF) through its representation in the Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (RJMEC).

SSCSF is aware that status of implementation of the R-ARCSS changes on daily basis. It is possible that some changes might have happened since these observations were made over a week ago.

  • 3. CONTEXT Ding Ding Cantonment site and Bentiu Barracks

Implementation of the R-ARCSS is a major political development in South Sudan. The first phase of implementation of this agreement, an 8-month Pre-Transitional Period, provides for creation of trained Necessary Unified Forces (NUFs) to take charge of security of the country in preparation for establishment of a unity government to implement the peace agreement.

This deadline was missed in May, resulting in an extension by six months. Less than six weeks to the end of this extension, a hugely demanding process initially designed to last for a minimum of eight months, to canton, register, screen, unify, train and deploy combined forces of government and opposition groups is just beginning. The parties agreed to use 35 cantonment sites and 10 major barracks for the initial stages of this process.

Representing civil society, SSCSF participated in a visit to Ding Ding cantonment site and Bentiu Baracks in the former Unity state on September 20, 2019.

This joint visit was organized by the Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring and Verification Mechanism (CTSMVM) and included members of the Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (RJMEC) and defense attachés form diplomatic missions.

At the cantonment site, registration of forces was steadily making progress. Civil-military relationship at Ding Ding cantonment site located in an area hosting about 30,000 civilians appeared to be good. Relations were also cordial between government forces, the South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF) and forces of the opposition, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army – In Opposition (SPLM/A-IO). They hold joint weekly meetings on Wednesdays and at the time of the visit, the shadow state governor of the SPLM/A-IO was returning from Bentiu, a town under government control. In this visit, presence of child soldiers was not seen both at Ding Ding cantonment site and Bentiu barrack.

 

SSCSF learnt of major logistical deficits especially at Ding Ding cantonment site. The 5,000 opposition forces in this cantonment site share one water borehole with about 30,000 residents of the area. According to Gen. John Tukutur Khor, the commander of Ding Ding cantonment site, the last time this site received food supply was in June and his repeated calls for new supplies received no response from his superiors in Juba.

Non-military logistics like medical supplies, transport and storage facilities were also lacking at the cantonment site. Sick soldiers are carried by their colleagues to health clinic in Rubkona, a small town about 20 kilometers away. Bentiu barracks, the only cantonment site for government forces covering three states of the former Unity state also lack transport facilities to aid movement of soldiers from neighboring outposts to the barracks for registration.

 

Expressing frustration over the logistical inadequacies, Gen. John Tukutur Khor said his forces were better off at their base before assembling at Ding Ding cantonment site. Meanwhile SSPDF commander at Bentiu barrack said logistical inadequacies have slowed down the registration process.
The Joint Defense Board (JDB), Joint Military Ceasefire Commission (JMCC) and the Joint Transitional Security Committee (JTSC), institutions of R-ARCSS directly responsible for implementation of Transitional Security Arrangements (TSA) presented their monthly reports to RJMEC on September 12. From the reports, one could deduce that the current realities in all of the cantonment sites and barracks around the country are not so different from Ding Ding cantonment site and Bentiu Barracks.

 

The parties agreed to have trained 83,000 NUFs prior to commencement of Transitional Period by November 12. In a consultative meeting in Addis Ababa in August, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the mediator and main guarantor to the R-ARCSS recommended that the parties produce at least 50% of the NUFs by end of September.

According to the JTSC, the body responsible for training of the forces, the duration of the training for a set of NUFs is 45 days. This is now almost exactly the time left before November 12 but the much anticipated training is yet to commence.

The JTSC reported in the September 12 RJMEC plenary session that training centers had not been prepared because of lack of funds. Even if the training centers were ready and registration of forces completed at cantonment sites and barracks, weeks would still be required to screen registered forces for physical and health fitness before they are confirmed for training.

SSCSF followed up with JDB to understand the level of donations from different countries towards the cantonment and training of the forces. Maj. Gen. Majier Deng, head of security at the National Pre-Transitional Committee (NPTC) and one of the officers involved in receiving donations at the airport and river ports in Juba outlined some of the consignments so far received. They include: tents from the African Union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC), tents and medical supplies from the Arab Republic of Egypt, about 13,000 tracksuits from the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and about 30 tons of rice from the People’s Republic of China. Maj. Gen. Deng said pledges from other countries, mainly African countries are yet to materialize. This includes a pledge of 2 generators by the AUPSC from its base in Cameroon.

  • Number of states and tribal boundaries.

Among the outstanding issues of the R-ARCSS to be resolved prior to commencement of the Transitional Period is the matter of the number of states and tribal boundaries in the country.

In the nine months of the High-Level Revitalization Forum (HLRF), negotiations that led to the signing of the R-ARCSS, differences among the parties on the number of states and tribal boundaries were not conclusively resolved.

It will be impossible to determine responsibility sharing ratios (ie power sharing) at the state and local levels until this matter is decided and it has the potential to contribute to conflict no matter how it is decided. Formation of the Council of States, South Sudan’s upper house of parliament, is also hinged on the number of states in the country.

A mechanism defined in the R-ARCSS to resolve this matter through an Independent Boundaries Commission (IBC) has failed and recommended that the parties reach a political solution.

In the first week of September, a face-to-face meeting between President Salva Kiir Mayardit and Dr. Riek Machar Teny, Chairman of the SPLM/A-IO recommended the establishment of a committee, inclusive of the parties to the R-ARCSS to attempt resolving this issue. This recommendation is yet to take effect.

Permanent Ceasefire, and Safety of civilians

Generally, there is observance of ceasefire especially among forces of the parties to the R-ARCSS for almost a year following the signing of the R-ARCSS. This is the longest period of ceasefire especially between SSPDF and SPLM/A-IO forces since the onset of the conflict in December 2013. It is probably the major achievement of the R-ARCSS so far.

In a public event organized by the Organization for Responsive Governance, ORG, on July 12, 2019, the JDB revealed that it has done its best to contain the forces of the respective parties to the R-ARCSS with extremely limited resources. The JDB politely emphasized the need for sufficient resources to help accelerate the multiple processes of reorganizing the forces into the NUFs otherwise the gains made in the Permanent Ceasefire may be lost or reversed.

Military confrontations have continued discretely between SSPDF and forces of non-signatories to the R-ARCSS, mainly the National Salvation Front (NAS) and the South Sudan United Front (SSUF). These cases of fighting have concentrated in Yei River and Lol states and civilians in their thousands have been targeted victims .

In a meeting between civil society and parties to the R-ARCSS, Hon. Michael Makuei Lueth, Minister of Information, government spokesperson and a member of the NPTC emphasized the need to engage and involve the non-signatories in the implementation of the R-ARCSS. He said even just a few forces of the non-signatories are enough to disrupt implementation of the RARCSS. However, IGAD’s efforts to mediate between signatories and non-signatories to the RARCSS have not seen any notable progress since March.

A Petition on a Surge in Armed Criminality in Juba City Submitted to the Hon. Minister of Interior of the Republic of South Sudan
Juba, September 4, 2019

Summary: Petition for Immediate Action on Armed Criminality in Juba City.

We, the undermentioned representatives of civic groups in the implementation mechanisms of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS), petition the Government of the Republic of South Sudan, through the Ministry of Interior, to take immediate, concerted and sustained action on armed criminality in the national capital, Juba.

Experiences shared in a consultative meeting we held on August 27 – 28, 2019, revealed that there is a surge in armed criminality in Juba in the preceding weeks. Gangs of armed criminals usually in uniforms of organized forces rob, harass and harm civilians at gun point. A follow up on this case revealed that several victims lost lives and property including telephones and money. In places like Gueri, these incidences reported to be happening almost on daily basis, some as early as 7:00pm. As a result, the safety of civilians is compromised and they live in fear.

Aware of the constitutional mandate of the government, vested in the Ministry of Interior, to protect the people; and conscious of your commitment to this responsibility, we hereby request the Ministry to pursue, apprehend and punish the armed criminals in the city. We are convinced that appropriate action from the Ministry will save lives, give people hope, encourage their pursuit of livelihoods without fear and restore public confidence in the peace agreement.

We avail ourselves of the opportunity to collaborate with the Ministry on this important subject.

Outside the civil war,intercommunal violence and armed criminality have been a major threat to the safety of civilians. The R-ARCSS does not effectively address these issues. Representatives of civic groups in the implementation mechanisms of the R-ARCSS extensively discussed the effects of armed criminality on civilians and petitioned Hon. Michael Chanjiek Gai, Minister of Interior to address this matter. This inset shows a copy of the petition they delivered to the Minister.

Authorities in state and local government levels in collaboration with community leaders and with support from national and international organizations pursue local solutions to these issues. Their work has resulted in several community peace and reconciliations initiatives.

Confidence Building and Political Will
Confidence building among the parties is part of reconciliation and healing as they attempt to move from a bitter violent conflict to peace. It may be categorized into military and political fronts.

On the military front, relations at the surface appear to manifest commendable levels of cooperation and collaboration among officers of the various parties to the R-ARCSS. In official meetings and public events, the language and conduct of the officers in the transitional security mechanisms demonstrate some encouraging level of professionalism, shared responsibility and cooperation. This new paradigm of comradeship seems to substitute a situation of open tensions and hostilities among government and opposition officers in 2015/16, marked by searching military vehicles of opposition forces, reported cases of attacks on their officers, hostile propaganda and continued military confrontations in different parts of the country.

On the political front however, there are mixed signals of peace, evasion of responsibility for peace implementation and “polite hostilities”. In all formal statements, each party expresses commitment to implementation of the R-ARCSS. For example, on September 15, 2018, barely three days after the signing of the R-ARCSS, the President issued a public statement assuring citizens of the voluntary decision of the parties to sign the peace agreement, work together in its implementation and never to let down the people again. South Sudan’s delegation to the 74th General Assembly of the United Nation included representatives of the opposition, something the government doesn’t have do at this point, according to the US Ambassador to South Sudan.

While it appears again quite encouraging at the surface that the parties are good preachers of peace, generally, they are collectively accused of demonstrating insufficient political will to implement the peace agreement. Political will is demonstrated by the amount of efforts, resources and time dedicated to a cause. For the R-ARCSS, all these are in short supply.

First, the parties hardly invest efforts to meet on their own to substantially discuss and address outstanding issues of the peace agreement. For example, it took IGAD to convene meetings in Addis Ababa in May and August for the parties to discuss extension of the Pre-Transitional Period and delayed implementation of key tasks of the extended period. The August meeting concluded with no decision or commitment from the parties, except a communique from IGAD’s Council of Ministers.

Meanwhile meetings between President Salva Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar, R-ARCSS signatories and partners commonly referred to as “the two principals” hardly happen without external facilitation. In its Communiqué on the Consultation Meeting of the Parties to the R-ACRSS, IGAD Council of Ministers recommended “…to the IGAD Heads of State and Government to convene face-to-face meeting of the top leadership of the Parties to discuss and resolve outstanding issues ” of the R-ARCSS.
Second, resources the government disburses for the peace process are so inadequate that in almost all meetings of RJMEC, implementation mechanisms plead for funds so as to deliver on their respective mandates. In a report of the NPTC to the consultative meeting IGAD convened in
August, the Government has disbursed slightly more than $33 million for the peace implementation.

This includes $10 million before the extension of the Pre-Transitional Period, $10 million thereafter and SSP1.7 Billion (about $13 million). $33 million is about 11.6% of the estimated $285 million budget developed by the NPTC for the Pre-Transitional Period.

Third, elements of hostilities can still be clearly seen in the actions of the parties. For example, President Salva Kiir publicly declared an intention to constitute the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity without Dr. Riek Machar.

This declaration came just days after the face-to-face meeting between the President and Dr. Machar; and following a massive prayer session at the Presidential Palace in Juba. In response to this declaration, Hon. Henry Odwar, Deputy Chairman of the SPLM/A-IO wrote a strong worded-letter to the President, stating that this declaration did not send a message of trust and confidence building for the sake of realizing peace.

The South Sudan Broadcasting Corporation (SSBC) covered the defection of a former commander of SPLM/A-IO to government. Citizens around the country watched on the national television the defection rally in which the defectors were shouting “down, down Riek Machar”.

The coverage was introduced by the Hon. Michael Makuei Lueth, the Minister for Information and spokesperson of the government. He said the defecting commander and the people with him had decided to “join peace”.

Meanwhile opposition groups in Juba have always complained of restrictions of political space. These actions appear quite openly confrontational and they amount to hostilities contrary to the provisions of the R-ARCSS on reconciliations and healing.

4. KEY OBSERVATIONS

1. It is no longer possible for parties to the R-ARCSS to produce trained Necessary Unified Forces (NUFs) prior to commencement of the Transitional Period set for November 12, 2019. It is evidently impractical to accomplish the unification of the forces with inadequate resources within six weeks when it could not be done in over 12 months.

2. The planning and actions of the transitional security mechanisms – the JDB, JMCC, JTSC and SDSRB demonstrated commitment and capability to substantially implement the Transitional Security Arrangements. However, all these efforts were desperately frustrated and made to fall far behind schedule by insufficiency of government resources to the peace process. A major national process at the scale of the R-ARCSS cannot be successfully implemented at any point with only 11.6% funding from government and 88.4% left for unsubstantial external in-kind support.

3. Without clear allocation and consistent disbursement of government revenues for implementation of the R-ARCSS, the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity is bound to be paralyzed upon formation, it is formed at all.

4. Unwillingness of the parties to take full responsibility to regularly convene meetings, discuss and timely resolve pending and emerging issues on implementation of the peace agreement shows inadequate national ownership and leadership of the R-ARCSS. This lack of full and sustained national ownership of the R-ARCSS is a stark indicator of weak internal commitment to successfully implement the peace agreement. It is likely to shatter public confidence in the parties and the peace process.

5. President Salva Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar are still living in the pre-R-ARCSS period of no direct engagements. The High-Level Revitalization Forum and its resultant product, the RARCSS have not created substantial peace, reconciliations and healing between the two. Given this reality, it is obviously difficult to sincerely expect them to deliver peace, reconciliations and healing to the rest of the country without first doing so to themselves.

6. Polite hostilities among the parties to the R-ARCSS contradict their commitments towards confidence building, reconciliations and healing. Such hostilities risk fomenting and escalating hatred and divisions. Hostilities and differences among the parties usually spread very fast among their supporters. This is a situation the R-ARCSS was meant to address for the purpose of harmony, national cohesion and transition to peace and stability.

7. Unfavorable conditions edging starvation at cantonment sites present a threat to both the process of reorganization of the forces and safety of civilians. Persistent hunger may cause soldiers to loot food from civilians and desert the cantonment sites. Reluctance of commanders in Juba to maintain effective contacts with and provide appropriate and timely responses to concerns of their respective forces in cantonment sites may constitute preliminary reasons for frustrations and eventually defections among the forces.

  1. Intercommunal violence and surge in armed criminality have profound implications on the safety of civilians. This situation increases the suffering of the people, undermine their strong desire for stability and to live in dignity. Such a situation will only reduce their confidence in the peace agreement.

9. The level of collaboration among military officers of the various parties since the signing of the R-ARCSS is an important asset to sustain compliance with provisions of the permanent ceasefire.

  • 5. RECOMMENDATIONS

1. Military officers of the various parties should sustain compliance with the Permanent Ceasefire and serve as internal guarantors of the R-ARCSS. They should continue to normalize relations, increase collaboration and comradeship at the leadership level and effectively manage their respective forces. Partners supporting confidence building measures should continue to maintain engagement in this areas. Such efforts should include support for civil society particularly at the state level, to complement by providing additional space for parties to meet and build trust.

2. Substantial percentage of government revenue should be allocated and accordingly disbursed to institutions implementing the R-ARCSS as a guarantee for meaningful implementation of the peace agreement.

  1. The parties, stakeholders and guarantors should use the status of implementation of PreTransitional tasks as a lesson and a point of honest evaluation of the way the R-ARCSS will be implemented in the Transitional Period. The authority of the guarantors is necessarily needed in this regards.

4. Collective leadership of the parties and particularly President Salva Kiir, as head of state and government, should provide clarity of direction around commencement of the Transitional Period when necessary security requirements and related outstanding issues have not been resolved. This should take in consideration honest and sincere messages of reconciliation, healing and collective action.

5. Intercommunal violence and surge in armed criminality should be addressed primarily by the Ministry of Interior and with necessary support to subnational governments. No matter what the status of implementation of the R-ARCSS, the Ministry of Interior and related security institutions should remain effectively functional to protect civilians and their property at all time.

  1. Alongside IGAD’s mediation with non-signatories, there is need for more robust track II efforts by civic actors, especially faith-based leaders and civil society, with appropriate backstopping by technical experts in mediation.
  • CONCLUSION

7: There is no doubt that the achievements of the R-ARCSS are far below intended targets in the PreTransitional Period. However, the country would have disintegrated more and descended further into political violence and destruction without this imperfect peace agreement. The country should continue to pursue peace through the R-ARCSS and other viable options. As regional authorities IGAD and the African Union, acting collaboratively can help increase R-ARCSS outcomes and prospects for peace in South Sudan.

Latest: Kiir and Machar to meet again next week in Juba- opposition official

 

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President Salva Kiir Mayardit and Dr. Riek Machar posed for a group picture during F2F Meeting in Juba.

October 1st 2019 (Nyamilepedia)-South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir Mayardit and Chairman of the main armed opposition group, Dr. Riek Machar Teny are expected to meet again next week in the capital Juba, in a bid to resolve contentious issues ahead of the formation of a Transitional Government of National Unity, according to an opposition official.

“I think it will take place maybe 10th or 9th of this month of October. They need to agree on the number of the states and bounders of the states. These outstanding issues need to be resolved before we go to form the government of national unity,” SPLM-IO Deputy Head of Information Manawa Peter Gatkuoth told journalists on Tuesday.

Last month, South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit and leader of the main armed opposition faction, Dr. Riek Machar held a face-to-face meeting in what’s seen as commitment to revitalized peace agreement signed in September last year.

However, the meeting between the two leaders remained hanging in the balance as they could not agree on a number of outstanding issues, including the formation of a unified national army and the fate of the number of states and boundaries.

South Sudan’s warring parties signed a peace deal in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa to end years of political rivalries and return the country to the path of peace and unity.

Tribalism from Madis and Kukus during job recruitments, other tribes are only saved by expatriates

 

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Anti-nepotism warning sign (File/Supplied/Nyamilepedia)

September 29th 2019 (Nyamilepedia)-BY SINNER LOUD. Many people have failed to talk about this. Is it because one will lose his/her job? But hey, lets call a spade a spade. There is a lot of tribalism and nepotism when it comes to NGO jobs in South Sudan especially Juba.

There are these two tribes which have dominated the HR section of most work place you come across; they are the Kuku and Madi. I am not sounding tribal here, but according to my experience, these are the people who don’t wish any good for other tribes. When they see other tribes have jobs where they are, they feel they want to do anything to make you lose the job so that they can bring their own.

We just wonder if these guys ever enter government, I guess no any other tribe will ever get a chance! If these guys are screening the application received, other tribes will have your applications not even looked at.

They will only select the ones with names belonging to their tribes. Even when their tribe mates are not qualified, they will rather get a CV of non Kuku/Madi person and edit it in the name of their own tribe mate.

They further go ahead and sneak in interview questions to their tribemate who will pass everything. Organizations like IRC, SPEDP, ICRC,WFP, MSF,CRS to mention but a few are all dominated by these guy. For IRC, there are reports that oral interviews are conducted in Madi language! The non Kuku/Madi who have had a chance to be employed is because of expatriates who insist on looking for competent South Sudanese.

Something should be done to stop this tribalism. The saddest part is, even these Madis are from Uganda (Moyo) who are making other South Sudanese to suffer!


The writer is a concerned South Sudanese, he can be reached sinnerloud@gmail.com

 

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US welcomes The Sentry report, vows to slap new sanctions on South Sudan’s corrupt officials and corporations

 

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US Department of State’s Official Emblem (Credit: US-DS).

 

September 29th 2019 (Nyamilepedia)-The US Department of State in a statement seen by Nyamilepedia, has welcomed the newly released report by The Sentry entitled, “The Taking of South Sudan” which  accused South Sudan’s officials and international corporations of profiting from the country’s deadly civil war.

 

The United States government commended the role played by the US-based think-tank group, The Sentry, in conducting in-depth investigations into mass corruption in South Sudan, and noted that the administration is reviewing alleged corruption allegations and will soon take tough measures against the top government officials allegedly involved.

“We welcome The Sentry’s efforts to bring light to corrupt practices in South Sudan. The relationship between corruption and conflict in South Sudan is of long-standing concern to the U.S. government, and we are troubled by the numerous allegations of corruption cited in the report,” said the US Department of State.

 

Adding that, “The United States maintains a robust sanctions regime targeting individuals and entities responsible for undermining South Sudan’s peace process. We will review the allegations cited in The Sentry report and will carefully consider the recommendations to strengthen efforts to end illicit financial flows to and from South Sudan.”

The Trump administration called on South Sudan’s government to investigate its corrupt officials involved in amassing vast wealth at the expense of the country’s vulnerable population, and hold them accountable for their actions.

 

“The international community invests billions annually to assist the South Sudanese people. We urge the Government of South Sudan to demonstrate similar concern for the well-being of its people by taking significant steps to deal with corruption, increasing accountability, and implementing policies that reduce violence and promote peace.”

 

In the last few weeks, The Sentry released a comprehensive investigation report, exposing an array of foreign profiteers from the United States Asia, Africa and the United Kingdom, who have benefited off South Sudan’s protracted conflict that has killed thousands of people and left millions homeless.

 

Last week, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) estimated that South Sudan’s baseline on internally displaced persons exceeded 1.5 million.

Anyuak Chiefs demand Kiir to establish separate state for their ethnic group

 

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President Salva Kiir Mayardit And Anyuak Chiefs Posing For A Group Picture After The Meeting At The State House (photo credit: PPU)

September 29th 2019 (Nyamilepedia)-On Saturday, a group of chiefs from the Anyuak Kingdom paid a courtesy call on South Sudan’s President Kiir Mayardit at the State House in the capital Juba. According to state-run media, the community elders discussed with President Kiir, a wide range of issues, including the possibility of creating a separate state for the Anyuak community, as an alternative way of avoiding issues that often drag neighboring communities into conflict.

The chiefs narrated a number of challenges currently facing the Anyuak ethnic group, such as lack of education, shortage of health facilities, lack of access to safe and clean water, absence of telecommunications network and many other related issues.

“During the meeting, The Kings Presented to President Salva Kiir number of issues affecting the people of Anyuak which include lack of educational facilities, water, poor roads, and communication network.
The Kings emphasized to President Salva Kiir for the need of the creation of their own state as a solution to the Problems affecting the kingdom of Anyuak,” said PPU.

Adding: “The Kings of Anyuak ethnic group, demanded President Salva Kiir Mayardit for the creation of their own state as a mean of addressing the issues affecting their community.”

For his part, President Kiir assured the Anyuak chiefs of his readiness to consider resolving the issues raised, particularly, the establishment of a separate state for their ethnic group.

“Addressing the Kings during the meeting, President Salva Kiir said, he will address the demand for the creation of the state for the Anyuak community after the implementation of the Revitalized Peace Agreement, President Salva Kiir pledged to address the problems affecting the people of Anyuak Community.”

In response to some of the challenges expressed by the elderly, President Kiir instantly approved a budget for the construction of primary schools in the area, and reportedly ordered the Director General of National Security Internal Bureau General Akol Koor to coordinate with telecommunications companies to set up mobile networks in Pachala.

“End Sudan’s Designation As State Sponsor Of Terrorism,” UN Chief António urges

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António Guterres Secretary-General of the United Nations (File/Supplied/Nyamilepedia)

September 28th 2019 (Nyamilepedia)-Following are UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ remarks at the high‑level event on Sudan, in New York on September 27/ 2019:

  • This is clearly the happiest moment I have in this high-level week. If, one year ago, we would be forecasting the possibility of this meeting, I think nobody would believe [it], but the fact is that we are here, and we are here celebrating a new Sudan.

 

  • I have a special emotional relationship with the people of Sudan. Sudan was the first country in which the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has established an operation, an active operation, many decades ago. I was not yet there. But, in my 10 years as High Commissioner for Refugees, I went to Sudan many times to visit refugees from different origins, and the generosity, the openness with which the people of Sudan always have received refugees is absolutely outstanding.

 

  • I remember in one of my visits, there was, at the time, of course, the climax of the crisis in Darfur, but there had been some interactive conflicts in eastern Chad and a group of a few tens of thousands of Chadian refugees went to Darfur, to the remote south-western part of Darfur. And it was very difficult to provide effective assistance so far away. I went there and I saw how the people of those villages were receiving their Chadian brothers and sisters and sharing everything with them with an enormous generosity and not complaining. Not saying the kind of xenophobic things that we listen [to] sometimes in other parts of the world, when some foreigners come to our door.

 

  • This enormous generosity always impressed me tremendously, and so when I could witness the extraordinary transformation taking place in Sudan, I must say this was for me something I followed with enormous joy. And I am, on top of that, very proud that the Prime Minister of Sudan that is here today with us is a former colleague of the United Nations, with whom I always had not only an excellent relationship, but I can testify of the enormous competence, dedication and capacity that he has always shown in all his activities in the context of the United Nations. I am pleased to welcome you to this high‑level event on Sudan, which is taking place in a pivotal moment of change and hope.

 

  • The events of the past few months, which culminated in the establishment of a civilian-led Government earlier this month, have been extraordinary. We are all familiar with the scenes, beamed across the world, of peaceful protests at the sit-in site in Khartoum’s “Freedom Square”. The most striking element of the transition is that the drive for change has been led from the beginning by Sudanese men, women, especially the young from all sections of society who have risked their lives to achieve their long-held aspirations for democracy and peace.

 

  • The United Nations remains committed to supporting the new Government and the people of Sudan as they embark on the delicate period ahead. The transition is not the end of the journey but marks the start of Sudan’s long road to socioeconomic recovery and to the achievement of sustainable peace and inclusive development that will benefit all of Sudan’s diverse and vibrant society.

 

  • This has been a Sudanese-led process from the beginning, supported by the mediation efforts of the African Union and Ethiopia, and I want to express to the African Union my deep gratitude and deep appreciation for the excellent work that was done creating the conditions or facilitating the conditions for the success of the transition. But, looking ahead, the international community has a key role to play, and here I have to say that we have altogether an enormous responsibility.

 

  • Sudan is a country that is in the centre of an extremely important area of the African continent. Sudan has borders with a large number of States. Sudan has an enormous importance for the stability and the prosperity of the region. The success of this transition is, of course, essential for the people of Sudan, but is extremely important for the whole region.

 

  • And in my political experience, there is one thing that is clear — much worse than a situation that has created the difficulties, that is not well accepted by the people of a country — much worse than that is if a transition in which people have put their hopes and their engagement fails. Because, even in the past situation, there was hope. And if things fail, the hope leads to despair, and we come to a situation that is much worse than the one in the beginning. So, the international community has a strict obligation to do everything possible to help facilitate the conditions for the success of the present Sudanese democratic experience.

 

  • And we need to be aware of the enormous challenges that Sudan faces and the enormous support that will be required to allow for those challenges to be overcome, and for the country to be able to create a new future that is a future of democracy, a future of prosperity and a future of justice and human rights. Now we need from the international community a number of things, and they should include removing immediately Sudan’s designation as a terrorist-supporting State, lifting all economic sanctions and mobilizing massive financial support for development to make the current political gains durable.

 

  • We are entering a new phase of partnership, including in Darfur, following decades of humanitarian, peacekeeping and development support. As a first step, the United Nations convened a meeting in Khartoum earlier this month to develop initial priorities for our support to the transition. But those priorities will be the priorities defined by the Government of Sudan in a process that needs to be a process of national ownership. We look forward to continuing these discussions with the Government in the coming weeks to achieve that objective.

 

  • I commend the priority placed in the Constitutional Declaration on achieving a just and comprehensive peace with the armed groups. I am optimistic that, under the leadership of Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, the Transitional Government will be able to strengthen governance and the rule of law, uphold human rights and set the country on a path towards economic recovery. This must include addressing the root causes of conflict and achieving inclusive peace, including in Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan.

 

  • As we accompany Sudan in this critical transition, we must also keep a strong focus on the scale of humanitarian needs in the country, with more than 8 million people now in need of assistance. The economic recovery that will take place will take time. And we must absolutely guarantee that the humanitarian needs of the country, the immediate humanitarian needs of the country, are covered, giving time for the economic recovery to be in full swing.

 

  • And I welcome the Government’s commitment to ensuring that critical assistance reaches all those who need it efficiently and in a principled manner. In addition to scaling up humanitarian assistance, investment is essential in the provision of basic services and social protection to ensure that more people do not become reliant on humanitarian assistance in the coming periods. I look forward to hearing the vision of the Government for the transitional period. And I thank everyone here for their engagement and their support. Thank you.
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