By Kidega Livingstone
Parties to the revitalized peace agreement need to dialogue to stop circle of subnational violence ahead of the general elections.
Interim Chairperson of the Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (RJMEC), rtd. Maj. Gen. Charles Tai Gituai appealed, yesterday.
“I urge dialogue to break the cycle of violence and underscore the need for a culture of peace to prevail,” he stated.
Maj. Gen. Gituai was speaking during the opening of the 34th RJMEC monthly meeting in Juba.
The appeal follows a recent spiral of communal violence in Abyei Administrative Area and the greater Bahr el Ghazal region.
“Much is at stake for the people of South Sudan as they seek to have their democratic aspirations met by holding their first election as an independent nation,” he stressed.
Maj. Gen. Gituai emphasized dialogue, collegiality, and consensus-building among the parties, their principals, and the stakeholders.
He said there should be clarity on the plans and preparation for the conduct of the election as scheduled.
Mr. Gituai highlighted the numerous reports of violence in different parts of the country, in particular the Abyei Administrative Area, Unity, Warrap, Western Bahr El Ghazal, and Jonglei States.
“Over the weekend, it’s deeply regrettable that over fifty (50) lives were lost in inter-communal fighting in Abyei, including two peacekeepers from the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei, he noted.
He added that sadly, this attack follows a pattern of continuing violence between local communities in that area in recent weeks and months.
Maj. Gen. Gituai reminded the interim unity government to restore permanent and sustainable peace, security, and stability.
He also urged the completion of the unification of forces as a key step towards providing a conducive environment in which to hold elections.
“Deployment of the graduated personnel is at a limited stage, but it has begun,” he acknowledged.
The RJMEC interim chair cited the ceasefire monitoring body CTSAMVM and reported that around 4,000 necessary unified forces personnel have been deployed to the states of Upper Nile, Eastern Equatoria, Western Equatoria, and Western Bahr El Ghazal.
However, some 51,000 of the unnecessary unified forces are yet to be deployed. The majority of them are from other organized forces beside the army, which also plays an important role in South Sudan’s security.
For his part, the Representative of the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity to RJMEC, Dr. Martin Elia Lomoro said that there is a limited budget for the completion of some of the outstanding chapters in the agreement.
“It must be clearly stated herein that the budget allocations declared by the government are insufficient and require generous contributions from our region, continent, and international countries and partners,” he said.
He said that the huge amounts demanded by the electoral and constitutional making processes as well as the current economic crisis in the country, increase the challenges
Lomuro said an emerging country like South Sudan commits to transparency, and they are ready to submit the detailed budget sheets to the peace guarantors and international partners to study and see where to rescue.
“Chairperson, allow us to seize this opportunity to plead, on behalf of our President and government, with the representative region, continent, and international community present in the August RJMEC Plenary to assist us willingly and genuinely in order for us to succeed,” he appealed.