President Kiir, Machar told to set date for graduation of forces

President Kiir, Machar told to set date for graduation of forces
President Salva Kiir and First Vice President Riek Machar (photo credit: courtesy)

South Sudan has been told to quickly fix the date for the graduation of unified forces to advance the implementation of the revitalised peace agreement.

The Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (RJMEC), on Thursday, said the Revitalised Transitional Government of National Unity (RTGoNU) must move with speed and ensure that all the remaining chapters of the agreement are implemented within the timelines.

“All critical tasks, including the constitution-making process, should have been completed and preparations for the conduct of elections should have been in high gear,” RJMEC Interim Chairperson Amb. Charles Tai Gituai said during the 23rd monthly plenary meeting in Juba.

South Sudan has just seven months to the end of the Transitional Period due to lapse in February 2023.

Gituai said that all that is remaining, including Chapter 2 of the agreement, must be attained within the time frame set out in the agreement.

“Despite the April agreement on a unified command structure, progress towards the graduation of the unified forces has stalled.

“Critical tasks, including some pre-transitional tasks, like the unification of forces, are still pending.” Amb. Gituai said.

Last Friday, a draft roadmap was presented to President Salva Kiir.

The presidency was set to meet this to discuss the electoral roadmap report. The meeting was, however, pushed back for unspecified reasons.

“I understand that this draft will be discussed by the Presidency before being tabled to the Parties for consideration. Once adopted by the RTGoNU it will be presented to RJMEC,” he said.

A detailed roadmap is expected to ensure the implementation of the remaining tasks, to facilitate peaceful, free, fair and credible elections at the end of the transition period.

With just seven months before time runs out, Gituai said the commission may be forced to exert more pressure on the RTGoNU to ensure that the processes move as expected.

“I appeal to all of you as members of RJMEC to be cognizant of our collective mandate, as monitors and evaluators. Let us seize this unique opportunity and proactively engage with the RTGoNU, propose remedial measures to overcome the challenges to the peace process, and facilitate progress,” he added.

Further,  Amb. Gituai acknowledged that since the unification of the command structure (in April), there has been a reduction in clashes between South Sudan People’s Defence Forces (SSPDF)-allied elements and the SPLA-IO.

He commended the SSPDF leadership for the recently concluded Court Martial in Yei, CE State that resulted in the trial and conviction of several soldiers for crimes committed against civilians such as murder, rape and looting, among others.

“It is important that all perpetrators of violence are held accountable,” he said.