National, News

Assembly adopts R-JMEC peace report

By Bida Elly David


National Legislative Assembly (R-TNLA) on Tuesday adopted the reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (R-JMEC) report on the status of implementation of revitalized agreement.

The report was presented by the R-JMEC interim chairperson, Rtd. Lt. Gen. Charles Tai Gituai for deliberation and ratification.

Members of Parliament, in their observations, however, demanded changes in the pace of the implementation process and called for reforms.

Stanislaus Jada, chairperson of the specialized committee for peace and reconciliation said the report contains an in-depth narrative on the position of the agreement with regard to outstanding provisions and achievements made.

“There are tasks that remain unfinished or have not started, for example, the national constitutional review commission and the political parties’ council,” he said.

The RJMEC report highlighted the challenges that the country will face in conducting elections due to the delayed implementation of transitional security arrangements.

Jada said another pending task in the report is the reconstitution of the National Election Committee (NEC) to prepare for the looming general elections.

In chapter three of the agreement, the R-JMEC noticed that the severity of humanitarian need continues to rise due to natural and man-made disasters.

“Humanitarian need continues to rise due to accumulated and prolonged inter-communal conflict, the wide spread of floods, and the influx of refugees and returnees from Sudan,” he stated.

He stressed that R-JMEC, with concerns, figured out continuous looting and plundering of humanitarian goods as well as attacks on aid workers across the country.

In Chapter Five, R-JMEC raised concerns over public financial and resource management as provided in the agreement, which was one of the alarming challenges to its implementation.

The report also empathized the urgent need to address post-war conflict over land rights, especially informal settlements in cities and on the outskirts.

R-JMEC realized problems in the country’s public finance management sector, suggesting transparency.

“The report urges the ministry of finance and planning to ensure adherence to the budgetary line and eliminate all expenditures outside the budget,” the chair of the parliamentary committee said.

Furthermore, the report also figured out problems with Chapter 5, particularly the establishment of transitional justice institutions to foster justice.

“This chapter obliges the government to establish the Commission for Truth, Reconciliation, and Healing (CTRH), the Reparation and Compensation Authority (RCA), and the Hybrid Court for South Sudan (HCSS), which are still pending,” it noted.

RJMEC further stated that Chapter 5 of the agreement on the development of a permanent constitution remains a hindering factor in the road map.

The report underlined that the bodies concerned with developing the constitution have not yet been established.

“The bodies such as the National Constitutional Review Commission, the Constitutional Drafting Committee, and the preparatory sub-committee for the National Constitutional Conference are yet to be established.”

However, after critically listening to the report, the lawmakers observed that R-JMEC failed to clarify the financial status of facilitating the agreement.

Paul Yoane Bonju, an MP representing Yei River County under the SPLM ticket, said R-JMEC should have accompanied their document with an in-depth financial report on how the agreement was being funded.

“I am puzzled because we were bombarded with reports by R-JMEC and other bodies weekly and monthly when they came. We know they do commendable jobs, but they also receive money from donors,” Bonju pointed out.

He said it is not difficult to give an estimate for what they received, used, and left in funding the peace agreement.

He suggested the need for the parliament to take the matter seriously for the agreement to move well.

Meanwhile, Festo Lemi, a lawmaker representing Central Equatoria State under the SPLM ticket, said the formation of the National Election Commission should be sped up.

He said it speaks less volumes when the government proclaims elections without the concerned body being formed.

Hon. Lemi said writing things in books without implementation jeopardizes progress.

“If this body is not there, elections will not be there. This body has so many internal functions for running elections, for example, formulating rules and regulations that guide the conduct of elections,” he said.

Rt. Hon. Nathaniel Oyet, the first deputy speaker, welcomed the observations and recommendations from the MPs, saying that they would be noted.

The report was finally ratified by the House and considered for further implementation.

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