Delays in disbursing money meant to kick-start the Sudan peace process to executing agencies is stalling the integration of the country’s fragmented militia into a unified national army.
Creating a professional army, a key provision under the security arrangements of the revitalised peace agreement that is still outstanding, has become increasingly urgent with about 80 days to go to the formation of a unity government.
President Salva Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar agreed to delay the formation of the unity government by 100 days from November 12, setting the National Pre-Transitional Committee on a crash programme.
With a fifth of the additional period now gone, NPTC said the Ministry of Finance was slow in disbursing the $40 million that President Kiir pledged soon after the Entebbe Accord with Dr Machar on November 7.
NPTC deputy co-chair Gabiel Changson said the committee had prepared a timeline of pending security tasks and costed them against the money allocated. We are yet to allocate the money to various sectors because it’s not yet received,” said Mr Changson.
Last week, Rajab Mohadis – a member of the Multi Stakeholder Forum, Raised concerns over the slow disbursement of the $40 million to the committee by the Ministry of Finance.
“The funds are taking time to reach the security mechanisms and that’s not a good sign. We wanted this resources to move swiftly from the Ministry of Finance to NPTC,” Mr Mohadis said.
According to chapter II of the revitalised agreement, all fighting forces of the signatories are supposed to be cantoned in various camps, registered, trained and united under the national army while at the same time demilitarising the cities.
However, the cantonment has been slow, prompting the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development to direct in August that at least 50 per cent of the 83,000 unified forces be cantoned and barracked, trained and deployed before the end of September.
This was not achieved largely because of financial constraints amid reports that fighters were leaving cantonment sites because of hardships there.
According to CTSAMM, the Ceasefire Monitoring body, there are about 30 cantonment sites across the country.
Mr Changson said a committee had been formed to handle the other contentious issue of boundaries and number of states, which was also to be a subject of the Igad Summit that ended on Friday November 29.
“By first week of December, the parties will discuss the issue of states and boundaries, the allocation of ministerial portfolios to various parties; the distribution of states and their portfolios among the parties,” Mr Changson said.
In October, Minister for Cabinet Affairs said President Kiir created the 28 states in October 2015 to counter the SPLM-IO’s suggestion of 21 states and military commands in 2015, which was based on the old colonial districts. This was despite the parties agreeing to 10 states in the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan two months earlier.
President Kiir said more states were meant to decentralise power from Juba but the opposition, civil society and the international community held that it was unconstitutional. Some communities also protested that their enclaves had been distorted in the creation of the 32 states.
The revitalised peace agreement established the Transitional Boundaries Commission and the Independent Boundaries Commission to restore the tribal areas of South Sudan as they stood in 1956.
At the same time, United Nations panel of experts has blamed Kenya and Uganda for the stalemate in South Sudan.
Uganda’s involvement emboldens the hard line positions” of the South Sudan government, the panel says.
Kenya, on its part, has “not demonstrated sufficient political and diplomatic will to consistently support the peace process,” the panel said in a report to the UN Security Council.
Ethiopia is criticised, along with Kenya, for failing to use leadership roles in the Igad to exert regional leverage on South Sudan’s antagonists.
The Kenyan government has also not responded to the panel’s inquiries regarding apparent violations of the UN asset freeze and travel ban on South Sudanese included on a Security Council sanctions list.
The panel says it has identified accounts in an unnamed Kenyan bank related to Malek Reuben Riak Rengu, a former South Sudan senior security official accused of overseeing the killings of civilians.