JDB to screen unified forces for graduation
The Joint Defense Board has finally resolved to form a team to start the screening of the Necessary Unified Forces for graduation.
The team said it was ready to send its team to various training centers in the three regions: Bahr el- Ghazal. Equatoria and Upper Nile to start the screening of the Necessary Unified Forces.
In a press statement seen by The City Review, SSPDF Spokesperson Maj. Gen Lul Ruai Koang said: “the Joint Defense Board leadership urges all the trainees that might have left their respective training centers because of some other reasons that include lack of food shelters and medicine to report back within a week from today.”
“Joint defense board also resolved that South Sudan People Defence Forces would preposition necessary logistic required to facilitate the smooth running of screening processes among other essential tasks,” Maj Gen Lul added.
Last month, the government 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.
The Minister of Cabinet Affairs Dr. Martin Elia Lomuro said the regime change policy pushed by the west through an arms embargo exacerbated the delay.
Dr. Lomuro said the forces needed uniforms and food. It took the government time to get these from friends in the region.
He argued that the government had no guns to graduate the unified forces because of the arms embargo on the country and when they are going to be graduated, they need to be deployed.
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), various training centers across the country have deserted due to a lack of necessities such as food, shelters, and clean drinking water.
However, President Salva Kiir has on several occasions reiterated the need to hold general elections at the end of the interim period despite the absence of the permanent constitution. Also, the repatriation of refugees and internally displaced persons, and the conducting of the household and population census are yet pending.
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.