The Kenyan Special Envoy for South Sudan says parties to the agreement should ensure that there are no further delays in the formation of the Transitional Government of National Unity this November.
Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka says all pre-transitional arrangements should be completed within the extended timeframe that the parties agreed upon this year.
The coalition government was supposed to have been formed in May, but the parties agreed to extend the pre-transitional period for six more months, to enable them to implement all the security arrangements.
The key provisions include; cantonment, training, unification and deployment of forces across the country and the determination of the number of States.
This was also a pre-condition for the SPLM-IO leader –who is also the First Vice President-designate – Dr. Riek Machar to return to Juba.
Machar’s group say they want to avoid a repeat of the 2015 scenario where there was more than one commander-in-chief in Juba, adding that the unification and deployment of necessary forces before the formation of the RTGoNU will sustain the agreement through the transitional period.
But recently, the Minister of Defense expressed doubts over the likelihood of the parties implementing all the provisions of the security arrangements within the remaining 3 months.
Kuol Manyang told Eye Radio that the impassable roads as a result of heavy rains and floods, and the challenges in cantoning forces on time, are some of the factors that are interfering with the agreed timeline.
This week, the Kenyan Envoy met with leaders from the various parties in Juba to urge them to respect the November deadline.
Speaking to the press in Juba after meeting President Salva Kiir on Thursday, Kalonzo Musyoka said his mission is to encourage the parties to achieve the November milestone –without further delays.
“We hope that everybody will agree that there is no need for further extension. We want to move from pre-transition to the transition period,” said Kalonzo.
The UN Mission, African Union and international partners are also in agreement that the next coalition government should be promptly established in November 2019.
They said there are no pre-transitional tasks that cannot be achieved within a unified transitional administration.
The partners added that in fact -decisions made within a transitional government are made collectively, transparently, and better able to be held to account by the citizens.
Mr. Musyoka said he will be speaking to Dr. Machar to also convey to him the same message -so that all the parties are on the same page.
“I am looking forward to seeing Dr. Riek Machar so that I can also hold direct discussions on what he thinks should happen –just like I met with President Salva,” he said.
Mr Musyoka played a significant role during the negotiations of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005.
He was then the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and later Vice President of Kenya. He is praised for leading a successful shuttle diplomacy between the SPLM and the Sudanese government. Kenya was mediating the talks through Rt. Gen. Lazarus Sumbeywo.
Though currently a prominent opposition leader in Kenya, President Uhuru Kenyatta appointed him this year to lead Kenya’s efforts in supporting and enhancing peace in South Sudan.
In May, former Kenyan Prime Minister, Raila Odinga, who is the current African Union’s High Representative for Infrastructure Development in Africa also urged leaders in South Sudan to quickly restore stability so that the country can demand its share in the infrastructural development taking place in Africa.
Mr. Odinga said “we know there are challenges, but they can all be resolved if everybody agrees to work together,” adding that the people of South Sudan are yearning for peace and stability.
Apart from the challenges presented by the rainy season, other opposition leaders have voiced concerns about the government’s “unwillingness” to quickly provide the necessary funds it pledged for the pre-transitional period.
Recently, the Co-Chair of the National Pre-Transitional Committee, a body charged with the implementation of the pre-transitional arrangements, said the government has so far availed only $10 million to facilitate its work.
This is short of the $100 million the government pledged to expedite the implementation of key peace provisions within the pre-transitional period.
A senior opposition leader, Angelina Tenya, said the money availed is already depleted because it is also being used to facilitate the work of the various security mechanisms such as those under the Joint Defense Board.
“For you to take big numbers such as one cantonment -which is supposed to be nearly 4000 [that] is 3,750, $10 million is very little,” she said.
The Troika [United States, United Kingdom and Norway] who are the main donors for South Sudan have been reluctant to fund the process, citing lack of proper accountability measures.
But in a statement issued on July 29, Troika said it was ready to work with the reconstituted transitional government of national unity in November.
“Troika stands by the people of South Sudan and looks forward to….support a successful transitional period,” the statement partially reads.
It, however, called for regular talks between President Salva Kiir and First Vice President-Designate, Dr. Riek Machar so that they can timely resolve issues in contention.
“It’s not enough to wait to set up a power-sharing government months from now and let the weeks and months slip away without key leaders meeting and talking with each other,” said U.S. Ambassador to South Sudan, Thomas Hushek.
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