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Former CTSAM-VM chair accused of pay inequity, unilateral closure of branch offices

Author: Obaj Okuj | Published: Friday, June 21, 2024

Former chairperson of CTSAMVM, Maj Gen Hailu Gonfa Eddosa. (Photo/Eye Radio).

Members of the ceasefire monitoring body CTSAM-VM have accused their former chairman, Major General Hailu Gonfa, of unilaterally deciding to close three sectors in South Sudan and initiating discrepancies in staff remuneration.

The closures reportedly dictated by funding constraints affected Bor in Jonglei, Torit in Eastern Equatoria, and Bentiu in Unity State.

The Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring and Verification Mechanism (CTSAMVM) is a multinational body monitoring compliance with the 2018 South Sudan peace agreement.

During a technical meeting on Thursday, members from the peace parties criticized the former chair for making decisions without consulting them.

They argued that the decision to close the sectors should have involved the government and the parties to the Revitalized Peace Agreement.

Major Gen Bior Leek Kwareng, a Senior Representative of Former Detainees, said the closure of the three monitoring sectors is unilateral and impacted the monitoring of ceasefire violations.

General Leek also raised concerns about discrepancies in staff remuneration, claiming that national and regional monitors receive different levels of payment.

“The former chairman closes down three sectors that is Bor, Torit and Bentiu unilaterally. He alone closed down 3 monitoring team in these states and that is not the responsibility of the chairman of the CTSAM-VM. It is the responsibility of the parties to agree on that one.”

“Now, the national monitors have been sent in a different locations and the regional and international observers accommodated somewhere. That one is a segregations and that segregation started since 2019 and we don’t want to talk about it.”

“The national and regional are receiving six thousand in the MBTS, the national monitors are receiving 600 dollars. it is a segregation, serious segregation. So, how are we going to monitor the agreements meanwhile, we are not one.”

The former chairperson of CTSAM-VM, General Hailu Gonfa, is yet to respond to the allegations.

On his part, Maj. Gen. Gatkuoth Duop, SPLM-IG Representative and Director of Training for the South Sudan National Police Service (SSNPS), called for a common understanding among the parties.

“As our colleague mentioned, the closing down of the stations of the national monitors is part of the challenges. This means we will not be able to hear information from those parts of the country,” Gatkuoth said.

“Monitoring within this peace is also another challenge because, as colleagues, we don’t trust ourselves. The parties on the agreement don’t agree on one items and then when we go parallel, sometimes it is difficult to achieved what we are doing.”

The CTSAMVM works under the leadership of Major General Gen Yitayal Gelaw Bitew of Ethiopia and is being supported by IGAD member states and the IGAD Partners Forum.

Additionally, it receives financial and in-kind contributions from the European Union, the United Kingdom, the People’s Republic of China, Norway, the Netherlands, and Japan.

The body operates Monitoring and Verification Teams in nine of the most conflict-affected areas in South Sudan.

Its mandate is gathering information on potential ceasefire violations and reporting back to headquarters in Juba.

CTSAM-VM employs over 150 personnel from more than 15 countries, based at its headquarters and within its regional MVTs.

Major General Jany Kaway, a Senior Representative for the SSOA, emphasized the need for a closer working relationship among national and regional monitors.

“On the issue of national monitoring teams and international observers, I got information that they have been taken somewhere and we need to look very carefully because we are working as a team in CTSAM-VM,” he said.

“If there will be something to divide us, then communication will be followed. We need to work together and we need to leave together.”

“There is no difference between South Sudanese national and international, we are one and our objectives is one. Our purpose is one our mission is one. No need for us to divide ourselves.”

Meanwhile, Major Gen Dr. Chuol Ruey Kompuok, Senior Party Representative for SPLM/A-IO, urged CTSAM-VM to revisit its policies on sector closures and ensure monitoring activities can continue.

“One of the impacts that is the reality is that the closure of some of places created a burden because those who are moved and supposed to monitor incidents and peace processes in various locations are there no more.”

“In these three locations, there are incidents happening and monitoring from afar makes it very cumbersome and very difficult. CTSAM-VM should actually revisits its policies towards closure of those locations to make their activities move forwards.”

 

 

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