Financial constraints delay forces’ graduation, says Lomoro

Financial constraints delay forces’ graduation, says Lomoro

The government has blamed the financial constraints and the continued United Nations Security Council’s arms embargo on South Sudan for the delay in the graduation of the necessary unified forces.

Dr. Martin Elia Lomoro, Minister of Cabinet Affairs, said the regime change policy pushed by the west through an arms embargo exacerbated the delay.

Speaking at a round table discussion on Radio Miraya yesterday, Dr. Lomoro said, “The forces need uniforms, they need food. It took us time to get these from our friends in the region”.

“We don’t have guns to graduate them because of the arms embargo on the country and when they are going to be graduated they need to be deployed. They also need military barracks, they need shelters …So it is financial and also material,” he said.

On Monday, the Revitalised Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS) marked three years since its signing on September 12, 2018.

Though the transitional period which was supposed to end in 2021 has been extended twice up to 2022, about 80 percent of the agreement is yet to be implemented.

Critical provisions remain pending, including the Chapter Two of the Permanent Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements such as the training, graduation, and redeployment of 83, 000 necessary unified forces.

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

According to the Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Verification Commission (R-JMEC), about half of the current joint forces at various training centers across the country have deserted the centers due to lack of necessities such as food, shelters, and clean drinking water.

Besides, parties are yet to implement the Resource, Economic, and Financial Management Reform of Chapter Four and the Transitional Justice, Accountability, Reconciliation and Healing provided for in Chapter Five.

The permanent constitution-making process, repatriation of refugees and internally displaced persons, and the conduct of the household and population census were yet to be implemented.

It remains unclear whether or not the transitional period will be extended to allow the full implementation of the critical tasks by the parties to the pathway for the general elections.

Call for 2023 poll

However, President Salva Kiir has on several occasions reiterated that South Sudan would hold its first general election as an independent country at the end of the interim period.

“The election will be held at the end of the interim period, in 2023. So your work has now started. Our present challenge is the implementation of the Revitalised Peace Agreement. For those of you who read the Revitalised Peace Agreement, it has covered many aspects of institutional reforms in our country,” the President told members of the SPLM Youth League on Saturday, August 9.

Kiir added, “While these reforms are critical to moving our country forward, the most important aspect of the Revitalised Peace Agreement is the conduct of free, fair, and credible democratic elections. This coming phase calls upon you as the youth of the SPLM Party to prepare yourselves for peaceful competition for power. This means you must prepare yourselves to engage with grassroots.”