National, News

South Sudan Gov’t grapples over army deployment

By Bida Elly David

As the month comes to an end, there are no signs of preparations seen to guarantee deployment of graduated unified forces, though the Minister of Information, Michael Makuei Lueth, had pledged.

Early this month, the government spokesperson announced that graduated unified forces would be deployed to pave way for phase two to start training by the end of June or early weeks of July.

However, the minister of information notes that the implementation of the provision, and the process might delay, saying government would decide on what to do, but the fixed date remains as planned.

According to Makuei, most of the hard tasks that seemed to be stumbling blocks for the implementation of the security arrangements have already been accomplished.

The minister did not clarify whether the second phase of the unified forces had already reported to their cantonment and training centers in preparation for the graduation.

He did not also state the necessary logistical and procurement arrangements for the deployment of the phase one forces.

“In terms of deploying and graduating the forces, the month has not yet ended, and we are in the process of making it. There is already a submitted letter,” Makuei said.

Minister Makuei further noted that the problem that might have delayed the graduation and the deployment was the commissioning of offices in the army.

“The problem was not the deployment but commissioning the officers in the middle and lower echelons of the army. So this has been done, and we are waiting for the deployment after this,” Makuei noted.

Meanwhile, civil society activist Mr. Edmund Yakani said that delays in the implementation of the security arrangements risk the chance of South Sudan conducting elections.

He called on the peace parties as well as the stakeholders to ensure speedy implementation of the security arrangements together with the national political act to pave the way for elections.

South Sudan’s Council of Ministers recently approved 3.6 billion South Sudanese Pounds (SSP) for the deployment of the Necessary Unified Forces, in the country.

The budget was meant to facilitate the logistical and other processes for the deployment of the graduated and necessary unified forces, which was projected to happen on the first or second week of June.

Last year, over 50,000 personnel were graduated to join various ranks within the national security sector, but their deployment has delayed as the government grapple over lack of arms to equip the officers.

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