National, News

All unified forces deserve payment- Gituai

By William Madouk


Interim chairperson of the Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (RJMEC), Maj. Gen. Charles Tai Gituai, has appealed to the transitional unity government to address the welfare of all the graduated unified forces.

“It is understood that among the graduates of the National Unified Forces (NUF) in the training centers, salaries are being paid only to the ITGoNU (SSPDF) component of the unified forces,” Gituai stated in his opening remark at the R-JMEC monthly meeting yesterday.

He regretted the payment of the South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF), while other opposition groups in the unified forces were not being paid even a piaster.

He underlined the importance of paying all the graduated unified forces without exceptions to boost their morale, provide better security, and maintain unity of purpose ahead of the polls.

“I appeal to RTGoNU to fully fund the unification of forces and to support the efforts of the security mechanisms that are working to bring the process to its conclusion,” he said.

Mr. Gituai also called for the speedy deployment of forces in Phase One and the commencement of Phase 2, which involves the training of the second batch of the unified forces.

“It is important to stress that without the completion of the unification of forces and bringing these forces under one commander-in-chief, achieving a secure environment for the holding of elections will be a huge challenge.”

Major General Lul Ruai Koang, the SSPDF spokesperson, said the army leadership could not pay the opposition forces because they are yet to be budgeted for.

“When the necessary unified forces were brought together, the key actors concentrated on other processes of bringing them together, screening, and then, from prison, they did not include them in the budget,” said Koang.

He underscored that the forces from the opposition parties need their names to be first taken to the president for confirmation so that they are included in the system.

“When the agreement is reached on the harmonization of the ranking, for instance, for you to be a Col, you must have forces of about 750 under your command and deputized by Lt. Col, whereas in opposition, even if you have 200 men, you find Lt. Gen., Maj. Gen., and bla bla,” he explained.

According to Maj. Gen. Lul, when the opposition party forces defect to SSPDF, their ranks are not considered.

“We tell them no, you have too much rank inflation; we are going to organize you according to the SSPDF army formation system and in accordance with world standards. So, that criteria is left to be implemented by the opposition,” he added.

No. 1 Citizen Daily Newspaper’s effort to get a comment from Col. Lam Paul Gabriel, the SPLA-IO military spokesperson, was futile by press time as his known contact went unanswered.

On May 20, 2023, the opposition army in the unified forces expressed their displeasure over the nonpayment of salaries.

Col. Lam Paul Gabriel, the SPLA-IO spokesman earlier, called on the government to start paying all unified forces, describing the repeated nonpayment of their dues as discriminatory.

“As SPLA-IO, our forces were trained and merged with those of SPLM-IG, forming a unified force, which is the national army of the country. So, they should have been receiving salaries immediately after graduation,” he explained.

“However, to our surprise, those from the government side with whom they were unified are getting paid while excluding others. This is a bad policy; it is not good for the future of this country because all forces, be it SPLA-IO, IG, or SSOA, as we speak, are under the command of Salva Kiir as the Commander-in-Chief,” he added.

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