By Deng Machol
Juba – the Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission is concerned about the slow pace of the peace progress in South Sudan.
R-JMEC, Interim Chairperson Lt Gen. Augostino S.K Njoroge made the remark on Thursday in Juba during the 4th RJMEC monthly meeting, saying the time is running out for implementation of South Sudan peace agreement.
President Salva Kiir and key opposition groups, including Dr. Riek Machar signed the revitalized peace agreement on September 2018, promising to end the five – years of political violence, which killed nearly hundreds of thousands of people and displaced over 4 million of people from their homes, facing severely food insecure.
“We are at a critical juncture in the implementation of the revitalized peace agreement. I am concerned about the slow pace of our progress, especially the functionality and capacity of some critical agreement institutions and mechanisms,” said Njoroge.
Njoroge said the sixth months old peace is recurring challenges that needs all the parties to the peace to surrender their commitments.
“There are recurring challenges that must be concerns to all of us. Time is fast running out. We are in the sixth month of the pre-transitional period, with barely two months to go and several targets have been missed,” said Njoroge. “The IBC is yet to be established, the DDR commission has not been reconstituted and the cantonment of forces has not yet begun,” he added.
However, there are some signs of normality returning as the oil fields in Unity State that had been closed during the fighting are being now reopened, which has boosted total production by 33,000 barrals per day in January 2019, an increase of 25% over the average daily production in 2018.
He urges the government to use an oil cash to funds the peace deal.
“The increase in oil revenue should enhance the government’s capacity to finance the implementation of the development strategy as well as to support the implementation of the R-ARCISS. These objectives can be achieved by putting in place a transparent and accountable system to manage the oil and non-oil revenues,” said Njoroge.
He said funding’s still remains a big concern. “ As RJMEC, we welcome the recent decision by the incumbent TGoNU to allocate an additional 10 million US dollars as initial funding to the NPTC. I hope that it will be made available to the NPTC without further delay. This allocation, only covers a small faction – 3.5% of the estimated financing needs,” he said.
“While we must all tighten our belts, and embrace financial prudence, it is clear that, some of these drastic measures will negatively impact on our ability to effectively implement or monitor the peace agreement,” Njoroge continues said.
He acknowledged Japan which have already contributed and other pledges like Egypt and South Africa to support peace implementation.
“We continue to appeal for more support to the peace agreement from all our partners and friends,” said Njoroge.
He said an access for Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangement, Monitoring, Verification and Mechanism (CTSAMVM) continues to be a challenge. The CTSAMVM reported denial of access in Gorom/Tishora area, Torit and Morobo recently.
“I am perturbed that despite our repeated plea that CTSAMVM be given full access to perform their duties, the denial of access to CTSAMVM continues with impunity. I urge the JDB to take this matter seriously and ensure that there is no further denial of access to CTSAMVM.
The humanitarian situation remains dire. According to UN OCHA report, more than 4 million of the population are still displaced. Nearly 6.5 million of the population are food insecure.
However, it is also estimated that more than 9,500 people fled the recent fighting in and around Yei town, southern part of the country.
“However, I am encouraged that the reported number of humanitarian access impediments remain low,” he said. “Only 35 access incidents were reported in January and I look forward to the number of humanitarian access impediments reducing even further.”
Njoroge “This agreement belongs to the people of South Sudan. I expect them to demonstrate their ownership by assuming the lead in its implementation.”
The next transitional government is expected to be form in May 2019.