$40m needed to finish peace tasks

$40m needed to finish peace tasks
Tut Gatluak, Advisor on National Security and Chairman of the National Transitional Committee (photo credit: courtesy)

It would cost the country $40 million, an equivalent of SSP16 billion to cover the crucial pending processes of the implementation of the peace agreement. 

The head of Administration and Finance at the National Transitional Committee (NTC), Evans Doctor Ali, yesterday presented the budget during the 19th Plenary of Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (RJMEC) in Juba.

According to the NTC’s budget, security arrangement which is critical to the overall peace process requires $31.5 million (SSP12.72 billion) to cover the stalled process of screening, training, graduation, transportation and deployment of the first and send batches of the necessary unified forces.

There is also $7 million—an equivalent of SSP2.8 billion— needed to cover the non-security arrangement and administrative cost.

Funding gap

It was unclear what would be the source of funding the budget as Mr Ali did not mention it in the budgetary estimates. However, the government and international partners have been supportive to the process of the peace implementation process.

Most of the provisions of the revitalised peace agreement have not been fully implemented due to a lack of financial resources.

The Revitalised Government of National Unity (RGoNU) is left with 16 months to the end of the transitional period with much of the provisions of the agreement yet to be implemented.

Among these is Chapter Two of the permanent ceasefire and transitional security arrangement, transitional justice, accountability, reconciliation and healing, and completion formation of state governments as well as the constitution-making process.

It also remains unclear whether the revitalised government would complete all the outstanding tasks to the clear pathway for the general elections by 2023 as repeatedly assured by President Salva Kiir despite caution from activists, the UN, and the Members of Parliament.

“We witnessed an increase in violence particularly communal violence and humanitarian challenges. The slow security arrangements can be an obstacle for the coming election,” the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General Nicholas Haysom warned last month.

Way forward?

However, on Thursday, the Chairperson of RJMEC, Maj. Gen. Charles Tai Gituai demanded that the coalition government should reveal how it intends to implement the remaining provisions of the agreement within 16 months. 

“I want to reiterate my concern that we are already behind the agreed timelines and the implementation schedule. According to the timelines of the agreement, it is 16 months to the end of the Transitional Period. Despite all that which has been achieved, a lot remains to be done.

“I would like therefore to request the RTGoNU to provide members in our next meeting with a plan on how to it will implement the outstanding tasks in the remainder of the Transitional Period,” Maj. Gen. Tai demanded. 

Parties have so far extended the transitional period intended to end in 2021. The deadline is now slated for 2022 with about 80 per cent of the agreement yet to be implemented. 

The formation of the joint command has also remained pending with parties disagreeing over forces contribution ratio. While the incumbent government wants a 60:40 per cent ratio, the opposition groups demand 50:50 per cent, resulting in deadlock.

According to the Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Verification Commission (R-JMEC), various training centres across the country have been deserted by trainees due to a lack of necessities such as food, shelters, and clean drinking water.

On Wednesday, the South Sudan Defence Forces (SSPDF) Spokesperson, who is a member of the Joint Defence Board (JDB), Maj Gen Lul Ruai Koang, told The City Review that the team was preparing for screening the trainees but there was a lack of funds in areas such as Bahr el- Ghazal, Equatoria, and Upper Nile.

“The Joint Defence Board Secretariat has been following with Chairperson of the Pre-Transitional Committee Tut Gatluak for the necessary resources needed for the team to be dispatched. So that this what we are waiting for now,” he said. 

 “Now we are prioritising the issue of screening. We want to go to screen the forces and we organised them in military formation and when we are done with that the graduation will follow,” he added.