REPORT BY H.E AMB. LT. GEN AUGOSTINO S.K. NJOROGE (Rtd), INTERIM CHAIRPERSON OF RJMEC ON THE STATUS OF IMPLEMENTATION OF THE REVITALISED AGREEMENT ON THE RESOLUTION OF THE CONFLICT IN THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH SUDAN FOR THE PERIOD (1 st July to 30th September 2019)
This Report of the Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (RJMEC) on the status of implementation of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS) covers the period from 1 stJuly to 30th September 2019. It highlights the prevailing political, security, humanitarian, and economic situation in the country and outlines the progress or lack thereof being made by the Parties and the Agreement institutions and mechanisms as they seek to implement their mandate during the extended Pre-Transitional Period ending on 12th November. In addition, it details the engagement of the RJMEC leadership with the Parties, stakeholders and adherents, and guarantors of the R-ARCSS, the international community, and other actors. Finally, it makes some key observations and offers recommendations for remedial action to ensure effective implementation of the Agreement.
The highlight of political developments during the quarter was the meeting in Juba between President Salva Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar the Chairman of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army - In Opposition (SPLM/A-IO). At the same time, the security situation in the Republic of South Sudan continues to be stable as the Permanent Ceasefire continue to hold. Isolated incidents of clashes were attributed to troops loyal to a non-signatory to the Agreement General Thomas Cirillo and government and SPLM/A-IO forces. Importantly, during the three-month reporting period, there were no new reports of Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV).
Aid agencies were able to successfully provide humanitarian assistance without hindrances.
The number of displaced persons in camps within South Sudan and those in neighbouring countries of Sudan, Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo reduced to 3.8 million. The decline comes as more than half a million refugees and IDPs are estimated to have returned to their homes since the signing of the RARCSS. The increasing pace of voluntary returns is attributable to the generally improved security situation.
During the reporting period, the Disarmament Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR)
Commission was finally reconstituted. Also, twenty-three out of twenty-five cantonment sites of the Opposition were opened along with three barracks occupied by the SSPDF and had begun registration. However, other key tasks remained uncompleted including determining the number of states of South Sudan, their boundaries, and the restructuring of the Council of States, training and deployment of the Necessary Unified Forces, others being the enactment of the Constitutional Amendment Bill and the other laws previously reviewed by the NCAC. These are all considered very critical to laying the foundation for the formation of the RTGoNU on 12th November 2019. Overall, of the 63 activities expected to be carried out during the Pre-Transitional Period, 31 had been completed while 22 were considered ongoing and 10 yet to commence.
In view of the unfinished Pre-Transitional tasks, the Parties at the invitation of the IGAD Council of Ministers held a meeting in Addis in an attempt at resolving these issues. The Council urged the Parties to continue to dialogue and consult on the number and boundaries of states with a view to finding a common solution, and to report the same to the next Ordinary Summit of the IGAD Heads of State and Government. It also resolved that the IGAD Heads of State and government should convene face-to-face meetings of the top leadership of the Parties to discuss and resolve outstanding issues, prevail on President Salva Kiir to disburse the outstanding balance of the US $100 million committed by the government, and canton and barrack at least 50 percent of the Necessary Unified Forces by end-September 2019. However, the Parties failed to meet to September 30th deadline and are yet to discuss the issue of the states. No further resources were reportedly made available to the security mechanisms from the US $100 million.
Concerning the security mechanisms, during the period under review, the Joint Military Ceasefire Commission (JMCC) verified the 25 cantonment sites for the opposition forces and the 10 barracks for the SSPDF and started registration. At the same time, the Joint Transitional Security Committee (JTSC) assessed 18 centres for the training of the Necessary Unified Forces and finalised the syllabus to be used for the training component.
For its part, the Strategic Defence and Security Review Board (SDSRB) successfully completed engagement with refugees in the neighbouring countries and held a focused group discussion with the senior leadership of the various security sector institutions. The meetings were aimed at soliciting their views on the security sector challenges and a possible way forward. Finally, in July the Ceasefire Transitional Security Arrangement Monitoring and Verification Mechanism (CTSAMVM) witnessed the release of 32 child soldiers aged between 13 and 17 who had served with the SPLM/A-IO from 2016. CTSAMVM also assisted the JMCC in verifying the various cantonment sites.
During the period under review, the RJMEC continued to effectively engage the parties and stakeholders on the slow pace of implementation of the Pre-transitional tasks and urging them to expedite and complete all the pending tasks. The RJMEC leadership held three rounds of monthly consultations with the Parties to the Agreement, the Stakeholders and the Regional guarantors and diplomatic community. RJMEC also continued its contribution to the wide dissemination of the R-ARCSS. A variety of communications products were released during the latest reporting period, namely: printed summaries of the Peace Agreement in Dinka, Nuer, Bari, Zande and Collo (Shilluk). Using the logistics of UNMISS and CTSAMVM, tens of thousands of copies of the summaries of the Peace Agreements have been transported to different parts of South Sudan.
With very little time remaining to the expected formation of the RTGoNU by 12th November, the slow pace of screening and training the Necessary Unified Forces is of uttermost concern. Another setback has been the inability of the Parties to resolve the issue of the number of States and boundaries. Without the resolution of all the outstanding issues, and completion of the critical pending tasks, the formation of the RTGoNU will be difficult, and may negatively affect the implementation of the Agreement. The full implementation of the Pre-Transitional tasks was intended to lay a firm foundation for the effective implementation of the Agreement and for the Parties to demonstrate their commitment to implement the Agreement in letter and spirit. The tasks were also informed by the bitter experiences of forming a government without the legal and security foundation during the 2015 peace Agreement and the desire to avoid a repeat of the violence that erupted in July 2016.
The work of the DDR Commission will be critical to the success of the overall cantonment process since it can offer meaningful alternatives to the former combatants. In order to move forward with the nearly stalled cantonment process, additional resources must be availed to the security mechanisms including the provision of adequate food, water and medical supplies for the cantonment sites. Ultimately the Parties to the Agreement will need to collectively decide on the best course of action in order to consolidate the gains already made and to set the country on an irreversible path to sustainable peace.