With salary problems unresolved, illegal checkpoints will be with us for longer

With salary problems unresolved, illegal checkpoints will be with us for longer

On Wednesday, the CTSAMVM Technical Committee met, where the signatories to the revitalised peace agreement deliberated on the plight of the members of the necessary unified forces who were deployed to various parts of the country.  

In this meeting, the SPLM-IO representative to the ceasefire body, Maj. Gen. Andrea Mungu, lamented that the members of the Unified Forces had not received their payments.

Mungu lamented that the patriotism of the soldiers had not been reciprocated by the government.

“Coming to salaries, the forces that are not yet in the system but they call themselves unified forces are not getting anything; they remain like that and others are getting,” he said.

“It means that unification is just a fake name given to them; when we are unified, all other things should be equal,” Mungu added.

Mungu’s counterpart from the South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA), Maj. Gen. Jany Kaway, also expressed dissatisfaction over the manner in which the issue was being handled by the government.

This takes us back to the countless promises that have come from the government, particularly the concerned agencies such as the ministry of finance and planning and the Bank of South Sudan, on the steps to rectify the perennial salary delays.

For instance, when a battalion of around 1,000 forces was being deployed in Upper Nile State late last year, the National Minister of Finance and Planning, Bak Barnaba, said he would ensure that the salary delays were fixed. Fair play to Mr. Bak that he promised to clear the names of the ghost workers on the payroll of the government, although there has never been a detailed statement over the promise. The patriotic citizens of South Sudan are obviously entitled to knowing the status of that clean-up and how far the ministry has gone with the bid to activate timely salary payments.

By delaying the salaries of the organised forces, the government risks perpetuating state-level insecurity incidents and highway extortion of motorists. One of the resolutions at the National Economic Conference was to ensure timely payment of salaries and the removal of illegal checkpoints. But with the former problem unresolved, there is no hope of fixing the latter.