Opinion: Cannot afford the implementation of R-ARCSS, but a Presidential Jet is cool!

The Finance and Economic Planning Committee of the National Legislative Assembly has proposed that South Sudan should buy a presidential jet to be used by the President, the vice-presidents and senior members of the executive” (…) “South Sudan spends millions of dollars in travel costs for government officials a year. Members of committee said purchasing a jet would curb travel expenditure from the office of the President. The committee added that purchasing a plane would also ensure the “security of the president” is not compromised” (The National Courier, 14.08.2019).

Somewhere along the lines of misuse of power, somewhere the misuse of funds and the lack of transparency bears fruit. Where the Presidential Decrees and total control looses value. In this instance, it is the total disregard of the public and their needs. As the basics are covered by donors, and donor funded organizations, while the state is living lavish on either aid or oil-money.

They are so heavy eating, that they have no trouble, even funnelling money through shady agreements, while crying havoc for the Peace Agreement. Because, no one want to be the bad man and stop that because of some lack of funds. No, everyone will step up for the sake of peace, even if the TGoNU have misused funds. Like buying a Presidential Jet, when the state cannot manage to build roads, schools or even implement the state functions according to the newest peace deal.

“With millions of dollars from oil revenues being funneled to Ashraf Al Cardinal, the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS) is in danger of collapse due to lack of funds. As provided for in the R-ARCSS implementation matrix, cantonment of opposition forces which was supposed to have started within 30 days has not begun due to lack of funds; the Joint Transitional Security Committee (JTSC), which is a critical component of security arrangements is struggling to even hold meetings and travels to proposed cantonment sites due to lack of funds; demilitarization of civilian centers and collection of weapons that was slated to have been completed within 45 days has not begun due to lack of funds; training for unified forces to serve in the national army, police , security service or protection of VIPs – again a critical prerequisite for the arrival of opposition leaders to Juba- has not begun due to lack of funds. The list is long and, by no means, inexhaustive and if this situation continues until May this year, the hopes of the people of South Sudan for peace will have been terribly dashed. The people have really been patient with their leaders, especially H.E President Salva Kiir Mayardit, who recently made a solemn public pledge to bring peace to his people at any cost. And to his credit, the President ordered his Cabinet over a month ago to allocate funds for the implementation of R-ARCSS. This was indeed a commendable move which gave the public a strong reason to hope that their Government was bent on mobilizing local rather than foreign resources to implement R-ARCSS. However, the public have now been surprised, shocked, disappointed and outraged to learn that the financial resources that are said to be unavailable for peace implementation – thereby saving lives of thousands of South Sudanese people- are now being readily and happily availed to one man called Ashraf Al Cardinal” (Peace Observatory Group – ‘R-ARCSS poised to collapse due to lack of funds and Ashraf Al Cardinal’ 10.03.2019).

President Salva Kiir Mayardit and the whole SPLM/A-IG have to be called out for this. The ones claiming to not have funds for peace, but funds for a plane. That is mismanagement at its core. Wastage of public funds and certainly, when its talk of peace and following up on old agreements. Agreements that isn’t that old and soon the deadline is over too.

The state could fix that and at a later junction, when it has spare funds start purchasing planes to the President. To ease his travels, but this is just foolish. The TGoNU and the SPLM/A-IG is mocking its citizens, which have no ability to get their basics delivered by the state. However, their President should live lavish and like a Executive with all the perks. Shouldn’t they just buy him a Gucci bag, Armani suits and Cubano cigars while they’re at it? Peace.

Aiming for zero cholera in South Sudan (04.08.2019)

South Sudan: NAS Official Statement on report that Government and NAS to begin peace talks soon (01.08.2019)

South Sudan: Troika Statement on the Revitalised Agreement on Resolving the Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS) – (27.07.2019)

The Troika (the United States, United Kingdom, and Norway) reaffirm their commitment to the IGAD-led South Sudan peace process and to the lasting peace the people of South Sudan deserve. The significant drop in political violence and the presence of many opposition politicians in Juba are welcome developments. However, with less than four months until the new deadline for the end of the pre-transitional period, time is running out. While there is progress, lack of momentum to fully implement the peace agreement may threaten the successful formation of the transitional government and prospects for the peace process.

We call on the parties to redouble their efforts to resolve the most pressing remaining issues, which includes ensuring agreed security reforms are delivered, through the mobilization of necessary support. We repeat calls by the region and South Sudan’s civil society in calling for regular engagement between President Salva Kiir and Dr Riek Machar. Focused discussions on outstanding tasks are critical for progress towards the formation of the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity, which will set the foundation for effective joint governance. Credible elections in South Sudan in 2022 are another important milestone.

We are encouraged by the appointment of His Excellency Stephen Kalonzo as the Kenyan Special Envoy on South Sudan; this is an important demonstration of commitment from an IGAD member state. The Troika also welcomes the commitment made by the African Union (AU) High-Level Ad hoc Committee (the C5) at the AU summit on 6 July to re-engage in South Sudan’s peace process. The role of IGAD countries and the wider international community remains critical, and the Troika stands ready to support the region’s engagement.

For the peace process to remain credible, it is important that the parties demonstrate their commitment to peace, and meet the assurances they made in May. The Troika stands by the people of South Sudan and looks forward to working with the peace agreement’s mandated reconstituted transitional government to support a successful transitional period.

South Sudan: Republican Order No. 17/2019 (24.07.2019)

The South Sudan Civil Society Forum: Press Statement (23.07.2019)

South Sudan Civil Society Forum statement on the October 31 celebration, regional protection force & more (29.10.2018)

African Development Bank, World Food Programme join hands to help South Sudan fight hunger and malnutrition (24.10.2018)

The project is designed to enable the Government meet the country’s growing food and nutrition needs, while building community resilience.

JUBA, South Sudan, October 24, 2018 –  The Government of the Republic of South Sudan today welcomed a contribution of US$ 43.57 million from the African Development Bank (AfDB.org) for the implementation of the country’s Short-Term Regional Emergency Response Project (STRERP).

The project is designed to enable the Government meet the country’s growing food and nutrition needs, while building community resilience, as hunger reaches unprecedented levels in the country. It will also support ongoing longer-term efforts to improve the people’s resilience and food security, including tens of thousands displaced by the ongoing conflict in eight regions – Northern Bhar El Ghazal, Western Bahar el Ghazal, Lakes, Jonglei, Unity, Western Equatoria, Warrap and Upper Nile regions.

The grant will be implemented by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) (WFP.org). WFP and partners are scaling up food and cash assistance to reach up to 5 million people in the worst-affected areas of South Sudan by the end of 2018. Despite the harvest in September, as many as 5.2 million people will remain in Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) Phase 3 (Crisis), not knowing where their next meal would come from between January and March 2019, with some 36,000 people forecast to be in Phase 5 (Catastrophe), experiencing famine-like conditions in parts of the country, according to the latest IPC report (bit.ly/2EGdxdD).

“We are very grateful for the contribution from the Bank,” said Adnan Khan, WFP Country Director in South Sudan. “It will go a long way in helping us provide life-saving support at a critical period and ensure people have the means to feed themselves not only today but also in the future.” WFP activities are designed both to address immediate food needs while promoting the ability of vulnerable communities to withstand future shocks to their food security. WFP provides various kinds of assistance – food for people building and restoring community assets, life-saving emergency food, emergency school feeding and the treatment of malnutrition among children, and pregnant and nursing women.

“STRERP reflects the Bank’s commitment to support its Regional Member Countries (RMCs) in addressing the drivers of food insecurity and unstable food production systems.” said Benedict Kanu, the Bank’s Country Manager in South Sudan. “The Bank’s approach goes beyond addressing the immediate humanitarian needs through food assistance, but also seeks to build resilience of the affected communities and strengthen the capacity of government institutions to effectively plan, coordinate and implement disaster risk management and humanitarian responses. We call on all development partners to work together to address the underlying drivers of vulnerability in drought-prone areas.”

South Sudan: SPLM/A-IO Dr. Riek Machar letter to President Salva Kiir Mayardit – “Subject: 30th October 2018 Peace Celebration in Juba” (21.10.2018)

South Sudan: NAS & SSOA Press Statement (21.10.2018)