JUBA – South Sudan information minister and government spokesman Michael Makuei Lueth has said that opposition forces across all training sites in the country have more ranks then the soldiers they command, something he said is one of the issues preventing the graduation of forces.
Based on the revitalized peace agreement, government and opposition forces shall be trained and then graduated to form the country’s first professional army. However, that arrangement has not been completed given different narratives from the parties.
Speaking in an interview with Eye Radio over the weekend, information minister Michael Makuei Lueth said the opposition forces were sent to training centres unorganized saying officers are much more bigger in number than the forces they command.
“The opposition forces were taken to training centres not organized. And as such, the number of officers is more than the number of NCOs [Non-commissioned officers] they need to be organized first because we know what the military formations are and in a military formation you have a squad you have a platoon up to the division up to all higher organs and we know who commands what,” Makuei stated.
“But when you come up with a force comprised of so many officers without NCOs then where are the forces these officers are going to command?” Makuei asked, adding that “the issue of the organization of the opposition is a sole responsibility of the opposition and they have not done it up to now.”
Makuei further blasted the opposition for suggesting that the organization of the forces should start from the top command, something he said doesn’t exist in any military establishment, but further said the parties are working to resolve the matter.
“The other thing which is another problem is that they are saying we should start the top, at the higher channels. There is no anything as such in any military formation; you instead start organizing from the bottom and then you go up in accordant with the number of forces that you have so that wherever you stop then you will know at that level what will be the rank of the commander of that unit,” Makuei said.
“All these things have not been done and people expect us to graduate them. The JDP [Joint Defense Board] is working hard to make sure that this thing is resolved but to me it would appear that the solution is not with the [JDP], but with the leaders of the parties to the agreement, especially the leaders who have the forces, the government, the [SPLM-] IO and the SSOA,” the senior government official added.