Govt delegation returns home empty-handed after failed mission

South Sudan’s high-level delegation upon arrival at Juba International Airport on February 15th, 2021 |Photo: © Thessherald

South Sudan’s high-level delegation led by the Presidential Advisor on Security Affairs, Tut Gatluak Manime, has returned to Juba empty-handed after failing to dissuade General Johnson Olony Thambo in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum.

Since his recent replacement, General Johnson Olony has been in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, on medical grounds.

Speaking to Thessherald on Monday, a senior opposition member explained that the South Sudanese officials had tried to persuade Johnson Olony to re-join the government but he rebuffed their request.

“Their mission failed miserably as General Johnson refused to be bribed with money. They offered him to be in charge of the 7th Infantry Division. But all of that was rejected,” the source revealed.

Among the members of the delegation are, the Director of National Security, Lt. General Akol Koor Kuc, Governor of Jonglei State, Denay Chagor, and the Governor of the now-defunct Fashoda State, Jukino Fedail.

Last year, the Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (R-JMEC) warned the government and the opposition against encouraging or luring individuals into defections by bribing them with money.

R-JMEC observes gaps in the pace of implementation

Interim Chairperson of the R-JMEC, Maj Gen Charles Tai Gituai briefs participants at a one-day Seminary conducted in Juba /Photo: JMEC

Speaking at a one-day Seminary in Juba, the Interim Chairperson of the R-JMEC, Maj Gen Charles Tai Gituai, has noted that there has been a significant decline in the pace of implementation of the agreement.

“RJMEC decided to conduct this one-day seminar, following our assessment and evaluation, from the beginning of the Transitional Period and up to now, we have observed that there has been a significant decline in the pace of implementation of the Permanent Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements (PCTSA) as envisaged in Chapter Two of the Agreement.

“This being a critical Chapter in the overall success of the implementation of the Peace process, raises concerns, as its failure would no doubt threat the security situation in the country and undermine the nation’s hope for enduring peace in South Sudan.”

The peace monitoring body confirmed that the training of the United Forces had stopped and reports of soldiers abandoning their cantonment bases in search of food and other necessities.

“RJMEC, as monitors and evaluators of the peace process, we have clearly seen that the training of the National Unified Forces has stalled.

“As we witnessed for ourselves on Saturday 23 January 2021 at both Maridi and Rajaf training centres when RJMEC conducted a joint field visit with the IGAD Special Envoy for South Sudan and the head of the African Union Mission in South Sudan, the IGAD Ambassadors and C5 African Ambassadors, and also including other areas that RJMEC have visited in different occasions like Mapel and others.”

“Next month marks one year of the formation of RTGoNU, other chapters have progressed, however slowly, but chapter two seems to be the slowest yet as military we should have led the way with others to follow as our mantra! This year, in July, marks ten years of independence, it is our hope that a strong push from all of us here and South Sudan’s political leaders will go a long way to ensuring that 11 July 2021, will see a celebration of progress in the implementation of the peace agreement.”

Machar receives high-level delegations from the AU, IGAD & R-JMEC

First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar discusses peace implementation with Special Envoy from the AU, IGAD and JMEC |Photo: © IGAD Secretariat

South Sudan’s First Vice-President Dr. Riek Machar has held a meeting with Special Envoys from the African Union, IGAD and the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC).

According to the office of the Vice President, the meeting centered on the status of implementation of the peace agreement, notably the security arrangements and the long-awaited graduation of the unified forces.

The First Vice President, H.E. Dr. Riek Machar Teny, today met with a number of Envoys. This includes, Amb. Prof. Joram M. Biswaro, Special Representative of the Chairperson of the AU Commission and Head of AU Mission to South Sudan, Dr. Ismail Wais, IGAD Special Envoy, Maj. Gen. Charles Tai Gituai, Deputy Chairperson the R-JMEC and Amb. Thomson Fontaine, Deputy Chief of Staff for Strategy.”

“They meeting discussed the implementation of the R-ARCISS, with emphasis on the status of the implementation of the security arrangements and graduation of the necessary unified forces in South Sudan. The process to graduate the unified forces soon is in progress.”

Breaking: SSPDF and SPLA-IO forces clash in Upper Nile State

South Sudan's armed forces holding up their guns a sign of victory | Photo: File
South Sudan's armed forces holding up their guns a sign of victory | Photo: File
South Sudan’s armed forces holding up their guns a sign of victory | Photo: File

Dec 13, 2020 (Thessherald)–In what appears to be a flagrant violation of the Permanent Ceasefire, the South Sudan People’s Defense Forces, and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-IO (SPLA-IO) clashed this afternoon in Maban County, Upper Nile state, according to several sources on the ground.

“The SSPDF forces have carried an attack on the SPLA I-O defensive positions in Maban county, Upper Nile State,” said a highly placed source.

Another source disclosed, this evening, that the opposition forces were aware of the planned attack and repulsed the government forces.

“Our forces were fully aware of the attack and repulsed them [attacking forces] back to their barracks,” said a top military officer interviewed this evening by Thessherald.

This is a developing story, check back in a few minutes for more updates!

Why does President Kiir delay the graduation of Unified Forces?

Opinion | By Kong D. Chany

South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir Mayardit wipes his face with a pink handkerchief | Photo : File/Thessherald)

November 8, 2020 (Thessherald)–After I have read many statements released by President Kiir on the graduation of the [Necessary Unified Forces], I came to learn that President Kiir gives excuses for the graduation of the reunified national army because he needs to frustrate those recruits so that they can desert the training centers.

He makes sure that they starve so that they can point their fingers at the leadership of the SPLM/A-IO. President Kiir said that there are no guns to graduate those forces because the UN had imposed an arms embargo on South Sudan, that is not true since President Kiir and his cohorts purchased weapons in the last two years without a hindrance.

If one tries to analyze the reasons why President Kiir is not interested in passing out those forces, one would find that he does not want his militias to be transformed into a professional national army that he will not be able to control.

He needs to make sure that he creates a rift between Dr. Riek Machar and his commanders, in which he needs to portray Dr. Machar as someone who has abandoned his forces for his gain. In all whatever he does, he tries his best to create a misunderstanding between Dr. Riek Machar and those in charge of his forces.

Based on my perspective, he needs to see that all forces of the SPLM/A-IO that are in the training centers to desert so that he can abrogate that peace easily, and his main target is to see that some SPLA-IO commanders defect to his party, SPLM-IG or they can start the war to arrest Dr. Machar and his colleagues who went to Juba without forces. Now, President Salva Kiir and his cohorts are very happy because they have guaranteed Dr. Machar; he is protected by his forces, so he thinks he has no power.

If war erupts today, he will detain Dr. Machar and his colleagues. Dr. Machar and his colleagues will either pay their allegiance to President Kiir and denounce their commanders as warmongers or maybe he will arrest them if they fail to denounce whatever decision those commanders on the ground will take.

There is another reason behind the delay in the graduation of forces, President Kiir fears that his government may be hit by a massive protest against the deplorable economic conditions that our people are going through in the entire country. The fear that President Kiir will kill people when they go to the streets will disappear when people see a new unified national army, police, and national security patrolling the streets of Juba.

If the forces are unified, there is a likelihood that the reforms may be implemented as stipulated in the peace agreement. Once the unified forces and the Revitalized Transitional National Legislature (R-TNL) are in place, there is a likelihood that the Hybrid Court will be set up to try those who committed heinous crimes against our people, and this does not favor him.

As I am writing, President Kiir prays days and nights to hear a declaration of war on the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (R-TGNU) by Lt. Gen. Gatwec Dual aka Gen. Chuäny.

He is eager to hear any news that will come from the SPLA-IO General Headquarters that may state that those commanders won’t be part of peace in Juba. He needs Gen. Gatwec Dual and his colleagues to run out of patience to declare war on the R-TGNU. All the delays everyone sees are meant to frustrate the SPLM/A-IO cadres to declare war on the unity government or they may switch their allegiance to him.

The writer is a concerned South Sudanese citizen and political commentator.

Note: The views expressed in the ‘Opinion’ section are sole responsibility of individual authors and will take full responsibility, liability and blame for any libel or litigation that results from something written in or as a direct result of something written in a comment. The South Sudan Herald is not liable for any comment submitted by individuals or authors and reserves the right to delete any opinion piece for any reason whatsoever.

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SPLA-IO forces rape 2 women in Western Equatoria: R-JMEC report

Oct 24, 2020 (Thessherald)–In its recent quarterly report released last week, the Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (R-ARCSS), has accused the main opposition forces of raping at least two women in the Equatoria region.

“There have been continuous sexual and gender- based violence incidents in some areas of the country, and particularly, the Equatorias. CTSAMVM, in its report No. 2020/07 confirmed that four (4) SPLM-IO soldiers were involved with the rape of two young women in Mundri, Western Equatoria State, between 3 – 4 August 2020,” the peace monitoring body documented in its report.

“Following the incident, the survivors were taken to Mundri for medical treatment. In that instance, the SPLM-IO fully cooperated with local authorities to arrest the suspects who are awaiting trial.”

Implementation of outstanding issues

On the implementation of the peace agreement, R-JMEC noted that despite the little progress made, all the critical tasks that were supposed to be accomplished fell behind schedule.

“During the last quarter, very little progress was made on the implementation of the outstanding Pre-Transitional period tasks, which were moved to the Transitional Period.”

“However, there was some progress made in finally resolving the issue of responsibility sharing at the State and local government levels.”

The Report highlights the continued challenges to implementation, including lack of progress in implementing key aspects of the chapters related to the economy and that of transitional justice, while outlining where some progress has been made.

“In addition, the status of implementation is discussed within the broader context of inter communal violence, the COVID-19 Pandemic, and the ongoing humanitarian challenges facing the country,” the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission stressed.

Also highlighted in the Report is the ongoing work of the National Constitutional Amendment Committee (NCAC), the various security mechanisms, progress made by the Reconstituted Transitional Government of National Unity (R-TGONU), specific efforts made by the Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (RJMEC) in encouraging implementation of the R-ARCSS, and recent efforts by the authorities to tackle sexual and gender based violence (SGBV).

JMEC fails to find win-win solution to end stalemate over states’ issue, refers the matter to IGAD

From Right to Left, Vice President Taban Deng Gai, FVP Dr. Riek Machar, President Salva Kiir Mayardit, VP James Wani Igga /Photo: unknown

May 14, 2020 (Thessherald)–The Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (R-JMEC) has failed to break the ongoing deadlock between the Parties over responsibility-sharing at the states levels and referred the matter to the IGAD Heads of State and Government.

R-TGNU Deadlock on Responsibility
-Sharing at the states’ level.

“Your Excellency, I have the honor to refer to the above subject matter and make further reference to my briefing to the 71st Extraordinary Session of the IGAD Council of Ministers held on 23rd April 2020, and the subsequent Councils decision, which inter alia “expressed concern with responsibility sharing at the State and Local Government levels,” said the JMEC in a letter dated May 9, 2020.

“There appears to have been no consensus within the Presidency on this matter. Moreover, and of further concern is the fact that the OPP, another party to the R-ARCSS not represented in this meeting of the Presidency, did not consent to the decision of the Presidency which would deny them a position of governor in the responsibility sharing at the States level.”

The peace monitors said that the Parties had failed to reach a consensus on the states’ issue and called on IGAD leaders to resolve the matter on a timely manner.

“It is therefore evident that the Parties have failed to resolve the deadlock over the allocation of States, including which party takes which state, and have also rejected the RJMEC Interim Chairperson’s recommendation offered to them on 1t April 2020 pursuant to Article 7.11 of the R-ARCSS and Article 2.1.10 of the RJMEC Terms of Reference 2018 (see annexe E).”

“I hereby, pursuant to Article 7.11 of the R-ARCSS, refer this matter to the IGAD Heads of State and Government, as guarantors to the R-ARCSS to be seized of the matter and to take all necessary measures to overcome this deadlock on the allocation of the Ten (10) States amongst the Parties, including resolution of the issue of which party takes which states, based on Article 1.16.4 of the R-ARCSS.”

The outgoing Interim Chairman of the R-JMEC, Amb. Agostino S.K. Njoroge underscored that there’s is an urgent need to address the issue to ensure continued and smooth implementation of the R-ARCSS in letter, spirit and in accordance with the Agreement timelines.

Kenya recalls R-JMEC Interim Chair Njoroge, replaces him with new army commander

Maj. Gen. Charles Tai Gituai, while undertaking a fact-finding tour of the AMISSOM Mission’s Areas of Operation in December 2018/Photo: AMISSOM.

May 12, 2020 (Thessherald)–The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic Kenya, while presenting its compliments to the Secretariat of Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), has recalled Augostino Njoroge and replaced him with a new army commander.

“The Government of the Republic of Kenya nominated Amb. Lt. Gen. (Rtd.) Augostino Njoroge to the position of the Deputy Chairperson of JMEC in January 2016, and from September 2018, he has been the interim Chairperson of the R-JMEC,” the statement said.

“In that period, Amb. Njoroge has ably steered JMEC/R-JMEC, served with dedication and has made an outstanding contribution to the South Sudan Peace Process. Subsequently, after four years of service, the Government of Kenya has decided to recall Amb. Lt. Gen. (Rtd.) Augostino Njoroge, and has nominated Maj. Gen. (Rtd.) Charles Tai Gituai as the new interim Chairperson of the R-JMEC to take over with immediate effect.”

The government Kenya pointed out that the incoming Interim Chair of the JMEC will be a great asset to the JMEC considering his wealth of experience and that he’s going to achievement more as his predecessor did.

“Gen. (Rtd.) Gituai brings to the position a wealth of relevant experience and strategic leadership gleaned from similar and related placements (an abridged copy of his CV is enclosed herewith). The Government of Kenya is therefore confident that the new interim Chairperson will offer effective leadership and direction to R-JMEC to consolidate the progress made thus far and to advance the mandate of R-JMEC to support the next phase of the Peace Process.”

“Consequently, the Government of Kenya will be grateful if the Secretariat would facilitate a smooth transition and handover of office to the new interim Chairperson and accord him the necessary support.”

Who’s Major General Rtd Charles Tai Gatuai?

According to his brief Curriculum Vitae shared by the Kenya’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation – Maj. Gen. Rtd. Charles Tai Gituai is a Kenyan professional military officer with a wide and diverse experience of service in the Kenya Defence Forces both locally and internationally.

During his service, he has worked in Command, Training Staff, Intelligence and Diplomacy. Some of the highlights of his career include serving in the Military Intelligence Corp rising to Staff Officer One Intelligence, Commander of Cadets Training School in Lanet, Nakuru, Colonel in charge of Operations and Training Headquarters Kenya Army, The General also served as the Deputy Chief of Staff, in charge of Operations, Planning and Intelligence (Information), United Nations Mission to sierra Leone (UNAMSIL), where he was also the Kenya Contingent Conmander.

He also served as Colonel General StafT, Eastern Command and later Deputy Commander Fourth Infantry. Brigade.

Maj. Gen. Rtd. Tai Gituai has also served as Kenya’s Detulce Advisor in India accredited to Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Singapore, for close to four years. He also served as the first Force Commander of the Kenya Rapid Deployment Capability (KRDC) responsible for its initial concept development and structuring. He was also a Commander of the Fourth Infantry Brigade Nanyuki, Chief of Operations at the Ministry of Defence Headquarters (DOD) Nairobi, Commandant of Joint Warfare Centre, Lanet Nakuru, an Institution focused on teaching Military Operational Art and Strategy.

He also served as the Joint Chief of StafT, Eastern Africa Standby Force, (EASF) in charge of the military, police and civilians multidimensional components and responsible for development of the regional strategic planning for Peace, Security, Training and Coordination within ‘the framework of the Africa Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) under auspices of the African Union (AU), for three years.

He also served as the General Officer Commanding Western Command, In January 2018, he was competitively selected and appointed Deputy Force Commander, Operations and Plans, African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), where he completed his tour of duty and returned to Kenya in March 2019.

Newsflash: Machar rejects allocation of states, asks JMEC to intervene

President Salva Kiir Mayardit signing a document/Photo: File

May 8, 2020 (Thessherald)–The Chairman of the SPLM-IO, Dr. Riek Machar has rejected the recent unilateral allocation of states by President Kiir and asked the JMEC to intervene.

In a letter addressed to Amb. Lt. Gen. Augustino S.K. Njoroge Interim Chairperson of the Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (R-JMEC), Machar issues the following statement.

Subject: Resolution No.1 on Allocation of States

I am writing to bring to your attention the rejection of SPLM(IO) the statement on the meeting of the Presidency issued today, 7th May 2020.

• Article 1.16.4 of R-ARCSS states that “In sharing State and local government positions the Parties shall take into consideration the relative prominence each Party has in the respective State or county.” This article gives the Parties the competence to allocate the States and Counties and not the Presidency.

• The article also makes it clear that the prominence of Parties in each State must influence the choice of the States

• The allocation of the States as came in the statement is that of the President and not a decision taken by consensus. It does not put into consideration the relative prominence of each Party has in each of the respective State or county. In this case, neither SSOA nor ITGONU has prominence in Upper Nile state more than SPLM (IO).

• The allocation of the States also violates article which gives OPP 1 state governor.

• The President’s allocation of the States gives the ITGONU 6 state governors instead of 5 state governors (article This is a violation of the R-ARCSS.

• As far as we are concerned, the deadlock on the allocation of the States still stands. We wish to remind R-JMEC that we have previously invoked Article 7.11 of R-ARCSS to resolve the deadlock. The decision taken by President Salva Kiir today is a clear rejection of the recommendation made to the Parties by the Interim Chairman of RIMEC in his letter number RJMEC/C/2020L/136 dated 1st of April 2020.

In this case, according to the same Article 7.11 the RJMEC has to refer the matter to the Guarantors. In light of the above, I would like to underline the fact that there was no consensus in the President’s allocation of States but rather deadlock, as such I am asking for your intervention.