National, News

R-TGoNU Four years of unfulfilled expectations

By William Madouk


Today South Sudan marks four years since the inception of the Transitional Government of National Unity (R-TGoNU) expected to usher the country to democracy through elections.

On February 22, 2020, a new chapter dawned as Dr. Riek Machar, along with four other vice presidents, took their oaths, ushering in a period of hope and expectation following the September 2018 revitalized peace agreement.

“It was a dawn of a new era!” declared President Salva Kiir during the cabinet’s swearing-in ceremony, signaling optimism for a brighter future.

However, as the R-TGoNU marks exactly four years, the journey has been marred by empty promises and missed deadlines for the implementation of the agreement.

Two milestones stood out for the transitional unity government as the deal enters its fifth year.

In a press release issued yesterday, the Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (RJMEC), which also marked four years today, the interim chairperson Amb. Charles Tai Gituai notes that the graduation of the first batch of the unified forces and the subsequent extension of the transitional period by two years are themselves indications of the anticipated happy ending.

“As we mark the four years since the agreement’s signing, RJMEC urges the RTGoNU to redouble its efforts and implement the roadmap fully in letter and spirit,’’ he noted, underpinning the need to acknowledge the need for “protecting the political and civic space for all South Sudanese to participate in their governance.”

“RJMEC reminds the RTGoNU that the preamble of the Revitalized Peace Agreement talks of “laying the foundation for a united, peaceful, and prosperous society based on justice, equality, respect for human rights, and the rule of law, and this is truly a laudable goal that must apply to each and every citizen of South Sudan equally,” he added.

According to RJMEC, the objectives of the roadmap were to evaluate the progress of implementing the peace agreement, determine whether elections could be held as early as December 22, 2022, or push for an alternative timeline for the parties to consider in the roadmap.

Apart from the unification and graduation of forces and setting up the legislature, there are other crucial tasks still remaining for the country to transition into the next phase of electoral dispensation.

For instance, 20 Articles and 283 Sub-Articles make up Chapter One of the Agreement, and due to the lengthy delays, only a majority of the 18 Articles have been ratified.

According to the evaluation of the roadmap, three articles and two sub-articles are ongoing, while one article and two sub-articles have not yet been implemented.

Only two of the 29 activities listed in chapter three of the agreement—which deals with humanitarian assistance and reconstruction—have been carried out, with the remaining nine still unfinished, he noted.

Resource, economic, and financial management are covered in Chapter 4’s sixteen articles and 145 activities. Only two activities have been finished, nine are in progress, and 57 are still unfinished.

The Transitional Justice, Accountability, Reconciliation, and Healing chapter is number five. President Salva Kiir announced the creation of the Commission for Truth, Reconciliation, and Healing at the beginning of the year, but the parliament has not yet approved its legal framework.

Chapter 5 also discusses the ongoing formation of a hybrid court for South Sudan, which is entirely the African Union’s responsibility.

Six chapters make up the roadmap for carrying out the pending tasks of the revitalized peace accord. To finish chapter one of the agreement, 18 items must be implemented.

The implementation of seven items is required for Chapter 2 on the graduation and redeployment of unified forces in 2022 and 2023.

Beyond elections, implementation of the 19 items in Chapter 3 began in March 2019 and will last until October 2025. There are 66 unfinished and ongoing items in Chapter 4. Implementation of 12 items is scheduled for 2022, followed by 52 in 2023, 1 in 2024, and 1 in 2025.

Meanwhile, chapter five has 18 tasks to be completed, and chapter six has 21 activities to be carried out, with two tasks to be finished in 2021, six in 2022, seven in 2023, and four in 2024.

Some of the pending tasks include the drafting of a permanent constitution, the completion of the second phase of graduation and deployment of the necessary unified forces, the house population census, the repatriation of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees to their homes still hangs.

Economic turmoil and conflicts

Apart from the stagnant implementation of the agreement, severe economic turmoil and persistent intercommunal violence are some of the challenges that have marked the four years. Economic hardships have overwhelmed the nation, with soaring inflation, high unemployment rates.

More pain, distress, and anxiety have been inflicted on the lives of South Sudanese, who are battling soaring commodity prices amid biting inflation.

The depreciation of the local currency, SSP, against the US dollar has catapulted prices, hence leading to financial shreds.

As of yesterday, the official bank exchange rate is SSP 1,289 per dollar, while the black market stands at SSP 1,450 per dollar.

The phrase ‘failing to make ends meet’ is now common as citizens get into a pattern where their income does not cover the money they spend month after month.

Another is the prolonged intercommunal conflicts across the country. One of those conflict is that between Twic of Warrap and Ngok of Abyei Administrative Area claims thousands of lives.

The authorities in Warrap state and Abyei administrative area continue to disagree over who was responsible for the attacks, although the blame falls on armed youth and their allied militias from both sides.

Comments are closed.