Machar blamed for delayed joint command formation

Machar blamed for delayed joint command formation
First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar (photo credit: The City Review Digital)

President Salva Kiir has blamed First Vice President Dr Riek Machar for the delay in the implementation of Chapter Two of the security agreement provisions.

In a statement published on the president’s official page on Thursday, Kiir pointed out that the failure by his first deputy to align the ranks of the Sudan People Liberation Army in Opposition (SPLA-IO) has partly delayed the formation of the army joint command.

According to the statement, the head of state made the remarks during a meeting with the delegation of the UN Security Council (UNSC) who visited the country on Wednesday to assess the status of the 2018 revitalized peace agreement implementation.

“H.E President Salva Kiir Mayardit said he requested his First Deputy, Dr Riek Machar Teny, to align the ranks of his soldiers according to the size of his force and, up to now, he has not gotten the feedback.

“But he is waiting to discuss the subject matter in the next Presidency meeting on the progress in order to establish a unified command.” Partly read the statement issued on Thursday.

According to Chapter Two of the peace agreement, forces were supposed to be registered, screened, trained, and graduated, and redeployed within the six months of the signing of the peace agreement. 

However, since September 2019, parties have doubled the pre-transitional period, leaving less than a year and a half to complete the outstanding tasks, as both the government and opposition have maintained parallel demands on the establishment of a joint arm command, as a prerequisite for the graduation and deployment of the necessary unified forces.

In September, armed parties –the SPLM-IG and SPLA-IO—rejected the IGAD’s proposed force contribution ratio and maintained parallel positions as Kiir wanted a 60:40 per cent while Dr. Machar demanded a 50:50 ratio.

Unconfirmed information, however, claimed that most of the opposition’s and government’s forces had few privates and noncommissioned officers (NCOs), while the majority were officers, including second and first lieutenants, captains, majors, lieutenant colonels, colonels, brigadiers, major generals, and lieutenant generals.

It also claimed that the officers have rejected demotion to conform to the organisation of the army with limited ranks needed according to scout, platoon, coy, and brigade, among others.

Half of the over 40,000 joint forces who completed their training at various training centers across the country were said to have deserted due to delays in graduation as well as unbearable conditions.