National, News

Parliament summons Tut over sluggish security arrangements

By Bida Elly David


National parliament has summoned chairperson of the National Transitional Committee (NTC) to explain delays in implementing security arrangements.

Tut Gatluak Manime’s summon follows a report of reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission, on implementation of peace agreement.

The National Transitional Committee is the peace mechanism, tasked with overseeing the implementation of the 2018 peace agreement.

In the R-JMEC report, chapter two, on security arrangements, noted that inter-communal clashes and attacks by holdout groups and militias remain unresolved.

The peace monitor stated that civil disarmament meant to mitigate insecurity in the country has not been done due to delayed deployment of graduated unified forces.

Clashes of civilians in Malakal, attacks on South Sudan’s Defence Force positions allegedly by the National Salvation Front (NAS) in Central Equatoria, and  arrest of SPLM-IO soldiers, were some of the registered incidents.

“There was no progress made on the graduated unified forces; they remain un-deployed, neglected, and uncommissioned without allowances,” the report highlighted.

It was noted that the Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration Commission (DDR) remains neglected and unfunded.

R-JMEC recommended that it is crucial that the government fund this essential DDR commission to absorb the non-commissioned combatants.

It further underscored that security mechanisms created by the R-ARCSS have been severely undermined in their roles due to a lack of funding from the government and partners.

The parliamentarians, after studying the report, questioned the area of funding as a key factor in derailing the security arrangements.

Justine Joseph Marona, MP representing Western Equatoria State Maridi County, questioned the role of the National Transitional Committee in expediting the security arrangements.

Justine said the heads of the NTC ought to be questioned on the financial status of the committee, alleging that there is a secret agenda behind the delays.

“NTC is responsible for financing the implementation of the agreement on security arrangements. Tut Kew and the rest are responsible for it. They need to be summoned.” Justine submitted a motion to the house.

“They should tell us (MPs) why this mechanism is not functioning. They are saying there is no money; they need to explain why there is no money,” he added.

He doubted the claims that the NTC had gone broke to facilitate the deployment and graduation of the forces.

“We have the oil money and expenditures we are seeing coming from the government’s coffers. Tut must explain to us about their financial position,” he demanded.

The legislator lauded the R-JMEC report on the remaining mechanisms, especially the security mechanisms, and urged the House to beef up the NTC for security reforms.

On his part, Paul Yoani Bonju, an MP representing Yei River County, Central Equatoria State, said summoning the chair of the NTC will gear the deployment of unified forces and the graduation of the remaining combatants.

He noted that the heads of the NTC ought to be punished if the preliminary findings establish a positive flow of funding to the peace implementation body.

He further stated that random spending of public funds is a violation of the public finance management mechanism enshrined in the agreement.

“The R-JMEC report emphasizes the urgent need to operationalize public financial management reforms to ensure transparency and accountability for peace and development,” he said.

Bonju suggested that as parliament summons the NTC leadership, the R-JMEC should also prepare to appear before the House to present their financial reports on spending and funding.

“We are using public money; this is not my money; we collect the money from the public, and they want to know how it is used,” he echoed.

Meanwhile, Rt. Hon. Nathaniel Oyet, the first deputy speaker of the national parliament who chaired the sitting yesterday, ruled on the recommendations from the MPs for the summons of the NTC chair and the R-JMEC interim chair to present their financial report.

Oyet said letters of summons will be sent to the officials to inform them to appear on the floor of parliament for grilling.

On August 12, this year, Head of NTC Secretariat Stephen Par Kuol said lack of funding has remained a critical challenge in the implementation of the transitional security arrangement provisions.

Par raised the alarm over the matter during the 31st plenary meeting of the Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (R-JMEC).

He noted that release of 2.5 billion South Sudanese pound (SSP) approved by the cabinet for the security arrangements activities, has been delayed.

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