JUBA – The approach, speed, commitment, and adherence by South Sudan government to the implementation of the 2018 peace agreement will be crucial and imperative in enhancing regional and international trust and confidence of the country and its EAC leadership, RJMEC has said.
Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission chairman Amb. Maj Gen Charles Gituai on Wednesday said South Sudan’s EAC chairship responsibility places it into regional and international focus at a critical time it gears up for elections in 2024.
Gituai was addressing the 7th Governors’ Forum in Juba during a forum under the theme “Fostering National Cohesion: South Sudan’s Path to Peaceful Transition for Democratic Governance“.
Congratulating President Salva Kiir on taking over as the chairman of the East African Community, Amb Gituai emphasized the responsibility of the South Sudan government at national and state levels in ensuring the full and timely implementation of the revitalised peace agreement.
“It is clear that the prospect of elections is accompanied by optimism and uncertainty among the people of South Sudan, therefore the emphasis on national cohesion is welcome,” he said.
President Kiir last Friday officially became EAC chairman, succeeding Burundi President Evariste Ndayishimiye during the 23rd Heads of State Summit in Arusha, Tanzania.
The South Sudan leader, who struggled to read his inaugural speech as community chairman, urged leaders to collaborate in addressing challenges faced by the region, even as he expressed confidence in EAC capacity to tackle shared challenges.
In his address, Kiir said South Sudan had lagged behind in contributing to the EAC contribution, which it cleared before he assumed the chairship, because of its domestic “challenges of peace implementation”, which also impeded their full integration into the community since accession in 2016.
The RJMEC Chairperson further noted that inter-communal violence and activities of some holdout groups continue to be a source of insecurity in several parts of the country.
“Security matters at the subnational level require collective responsibility and collaboration at all levels of government, especially at this time as the country prepares for elections.”
“State governments have a critical role to play in providing a conducive environment for the expansion and protection of civic and political space, the making of the permanent constitution, and the conduct of elections,” he said.
Gituai further noted that national security would be strengthened by completing the unification of forces, and their deployment across the country to provide election-related security.
“In that regard, availing funding and political support to DDR [Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration] programmes is essential, especially for those ineligible for the NUF,” he said.
Highlighting progress made in the implementation of the peace agreement, Amb. Gituai, however, took note the reconstitution of the Political Parties Council (PPC), the National Constitutional Review Commission (NCRC) and the National Elections Commission (NEC) at the start of November.
“The timely operationalisation and adequate resourcing of these key institutions is needed to ensure their effective functioning, and will also pave the way towards the expansion and protection of civic and political space,” he said.
In his conclusion, Amb. Gituai said: “It is important to underscore the need for continuous dialogue, close collaboration and collegiality at all levels of government in order to strengthen the processes and institutions of governance nationwide. In this way, the levels of social cohesion and public confidence needed to hold free, fair and credible elections can continue to be built.”