Machar, Gatwech blamed for slow security arrangements implementation

Machar, Gatwech blamed for slow security arrangements implementation
Riek Machar and Gen. Simon Gatwech (photo credit: Paradise News)

The internal power struggle within the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO) is partly to blame for the slow pace of the security arrangements implementation, UNMISS Chief, Nicholas Haysom has said.

A representative to the United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Haysom warned that the conflict between Dr. Riek Machar and his former army Gen. Simon Gatwech could undermine the entire peace process if left unaddressed.

An unfortunate result of the slow pace in the implementation of the transitional security arrangements is the fractures within the SPLM/A-IO,” he said in his briefing to the United Nations Security Council on 15th September.

“The desertions by forces led by Generals Gatwech, Olony, and Thomas Dhul, and the conflicts between these groups and the forces loyal to Riek Machar will undermine the peace process,” Mr. Haysom continued.

The Special Representative said the warring parties within the SPLM-IO should set aside their differences and work toward the implementation of the peace deal.

“At the political level, this [crisis] has exacerbated the imbalance between the main parties to the revitalized peace agreement. It is imperative that the parties put aside adversarial politics to work as a unity government in support of peace,” he urged.

“For this reason, I joined the IGAD Council of Ministers and the South Sudan Presidency in calling on both factions to resolve their differences peacefully and politically,” he added.

Haysom said UNMISS will, in any event, be closely monitoring the evolution of the divisions within the SPLM/A IO, given that they could ignite violence within IDP camps.  

The UNMISS chief advised signatories to the peace deal that the realization of the transitional security arrangements is pivotal to almost every aspect of the agreement.

“For example, the electoral process can only be guaranteed by an impartial, unified security apparatus. The lack of progress in the implementation of the transitional security arrangements is now a major challenge,” he lamented.

Mr. Haysom commended the efforts of IGAD and the Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (R-JMEC) to encourage the parties to reach a consensus on the unified command-and-control structures of the new national security institutions.

The Secretary General’s representative also urged the sitting government to act according to its commitments if sustainable peace is to be realized.

“President Kiir has, himself, assured that this will be agreed imminently, as will the graduation of uniformed personnel currently stationed in training centers. We encourage the parties to compromise in the interest of achieving this vital benchmark without further delay,” Haysom said.

Mr. Haysom took over from David Shearer as the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative to South Sudan in May this year and has witnessed a myriad of challenges, some of which can be addressed through democratic elections.

Last month, he presented an electoral needs assessment to the UN Security Council. In his latest briefing, Mr. Haysom warned that an election in South Sudan could be catastrophic if held without technical support.