Machar urges Parliament to enact security laws for formation of unified forces
“I want us to have faith in peace. It is very expensive to fight a war but it is cheaper for peace because you lose nobody in peace. You don’t lose lives you talk if there are differences and you resolve them by talking”.
This was one of the punchy parting shots by First Vice President Dr Riek Machar as he vouched for the enactment of security laws to unlock the pending graduation of the unified forces.
Machar was addressing mourners who gathered to pay their last tribute to the fallen former Speaker of the Council of States Joseph Chan Bol at the Freedom Hall in Juba on Wednesday.
He said some of the issues delaying implementation of the security arrangements are connected to the transitional legislature.
He said the security bills passed by the executive await input from the legislature so that they can be passed and presented to President Salva Kiir for assent.
“There has been a cry for the implementation of the security arrangement but some of the pre-requisite for implementing security arrangement is connected with this national legislature,” Machar said.
“If you are going to have unified forces military, police, national security, prison, wildlife, civil defence, and states police,” he noted.
“To have these organs, you need the legislature, you need laws for them. But when we received the bills for these security organs, we passed them and they are awaiting probably..the national legislature now,” added the First Vice President.
The SPLM/A-IO chief said since the executive had passed the security bills, the legislature as an oversight branch of the government should now speed up the process of discussing the bills to allow for the formation of the forces.
Call to action
“We would ask the national legislature to quickly go through them so that we have a legal document for the formation of our security organs.
“Some of you might have thought that once these forces are organised, this is the end of it. No. You need these laws or bills to be passed into laws so that the forces are formed,” he stressed.
The First Vice President said the national assembly is one of the important institutions that contribute to the implementation of the peace agreement.
However, Machar admitted that the implementation of the agreement was very slow and described it as deadly.
Commitment to peace
“Peace is a strategic objective to us, it is what our people want and therefore commitment to it is important. Yes, the implementation of the agreement is going very slow sometimes because the people want peace but we are committed that…that agreement is implemented,” he said.
Machar stressed that some of the important pending bills such as the permanent constitution should be enacted by the legislature for the country to have one legal document for reference.
“These are important because once the agreement is fully incorporated into the constitution, then you will have a document which you quote when you form structures, so we are hoping the national legislature will also pass this,” Machar emphasised.
He hinted that they are working hard to ensure that the states assemblies are formed for the states to review their constitutions to conform to the transitional constitution amended 2021
He said the party’s laws have also been discussed in the governance cluster that will soon be tabled to the Council of Ministers for further deliberation. Machar said the executive is trying its best to accelerate changes in the country.
Machar said the protracted inter-communal fighting in the countryside has interrupted the implementation of the peace agreement and that it is difficult to disarm them.
He said when leaders act together as a government at the national, state, count levels, and persuade the population to abandon possession of arms; it could pay off.
“We have been dragged by problems we do not expect during peacetime. This is because of the rampant arms in the hands of the population. I believe we can persuade them to trust their government whether at the national level, the state level, and the county level,” he said.
The first vice president stated that the rampant arms in the hands of the population are due to mistrust they have in the system of the government to protect their property and lives.
Dr Machar said he hopes the full formation of the states government structures such as states assemblies would reduce inter-communal violence across the country.