National, News

Expedite NSS Act amendment bill- Peace monitors

By Bida Elly David


National assembly has been urged to expedite passing the National Security Service (NSS) Act amendment bill before the roadmap elapses.

Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (R-JMEC) interim chairman, Rtd Maj. Gen. Charles Tai Gituai made the call while presenting a report on Monday.

He was presenting a report to the national Assembly, on the status of the implementation of the Revitalized Agreement on Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS).

In the report, Gituai said enacting the security bill will guarantee the safety of people during the forthcoming elections.

R-JMEC, in its report, underlined that inter-communal and military violence across the country hinders the implementation of the security arrangement.

“Inter-communal violence continues to negatively impact communities, and during January 27–28, 2024, over 50 lives were lost, including two peacekeepers from the United Nations Interim Security Forces for Abyei (UNISFA),” Gituai stated.

Clashes between the South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF) and the National Salvation Front (NAS) of Lt. Gen. Thomas Cirillo, mostly in the southern part of Central Equatoria State, were also highlighted.

The R-JMEC chair stated that this insecurity may need the National Security Act to quickly be worked on to mitigate the catastrophe and open clear doors to elections.

“The TNLA should expedite the enactment of all pending bills, particularly the national security bill,” he urged.

Gituai, in his report, further noted slow progress in the security arrangements implementation, saying no serious steps are being taken to ensure progress.

“There has not been any progress in the transitional security arrangements since the reported deployment of the 4,000 phase one Necessary Unified Forces (NUF) last quarter,” he said.

He added that no effort has been made on the preparation for phase two of NUF as training has been reported and the situation at cantonment sites remains dire.

Gituai further stressed that for successful elections to occur without security threats, there is also a need for hold-out groups to be included in the process.

“There is also the aspect of hold-out groups that needs to be considered; as long as hold-out groups are not part of the peace process or elections, South Sudan will prove challenging,” he warned.

Moreover, the R-JMEC boss emphasized that there will be serious risks if parties to the agreement fail to fix things as agreed upon, particularly election security.

“The dilemma, however, is that while holding elections without meeting the requirements could be a recipe for disaster, as past experiences show, there is also no guarantee that pending tasks will be completed if the election is postponed,” R-JMEC chair worries.

He urged the interim unity government (R-TGoNU) to provide a matter of urgency for all resources necessary to deploy the remaining NUF and complete harmonization of the command structure for the country to have unified forces to provide solid security during elections.

Gituai called on the R-TGoNU to quickly address the on-going inter-communal violence consistent with its obligations to maintain security throughout the country.

“They should provide resources for the election process while engaging with the international community to support its functions,” he stated.

The peace monitors also reiterated the need for the House to support the process of funding the constitutional and election-making processes through the passage of bills to secure funding for their operationalization.

After the presentation of the report to the August house, the 2nd deputy speaker, Rt. Hon. Permena Awerial, who presided over the Monday sitting, committed the R-JMEC report to the specialized committee for peace and justice for scrutiny and report back to the house within 14 working days.


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