Three years since the establishment of the government of national unity, South Sudan is yet to make any democratic strides, something that has worried regional peace monitors who expected the country to head to polls with a unified army under revised supreme law.
On Monday, the Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (RJMEC) Interim Chairperson Maj Gen Charles Tai Gituai asked the peace parties to utilise the remaining days before end of transitional period to address the delays on proposed laws.
“With just 12 months left before the end of the Transitional Period, critical tasks of the revitalised agreement remain unimplemented. There is now just 12 months left of the Transitional Period, and elections are due to take place 60 days before the period ends, and yet key unimplemented tasks are outstanding” said Gituai during the 21st Plenary Session in Juba.
“Several important pieces of legislation are not ratified, and state governments are not fully functioning; the forces are not unified, the Special Reconstruction Fund is not established, and millions of South Sudanese remain in refugee camps outside the country or in IDP camps and public financial management reforms remain largely undone,” he added.
South Sudan’s transition programme, initially planned to last 30 months before it was extended, was supposed to see a redrafting of the constitution to provide for a proper structure of government. It was also supposed to see amendments to various laws meant to ensure proper management of security, political parties as well as the running of elections.
All these have been delayed.
“At this crucial stage of implementation, and with such a comparatively short time left in the Transitional Period, your insights on the challenges facing South Sudan are vital.
“I urge the Reconstituted Transitional National Legislative Assembly to expedite the enactment of the pending security, political parties and constitution making bills. I further urge the unity to make financial resources available for the completion of the Transitional Security Arrangements,” he said.
South Sudan’s problems go beyond the legal realm. A humanitarian crisis has persisted with about four million displaced due to sporadic inter-militia violence.
The RJMEC chairman called for the unity government to work closely with international partners to establish the Board of the Special Reconstruction Fund, in line with the recent African Union Peace and Security Council meeting resolutions.
“This is especially important,” he said, “considering the humanitarian and reconstruction challenges facing the country, including the continued need for aid for flood-affected communities.”
“The living conditions of flood-affected people in displacement sites remain dire and are likely to further deteriorate with the onset of seasonal rains. There are many hundreds of thousands of flood-affected people requiring humanitarian assistance,” he said.