JUBA — South Sudan’s First Vice President and leader of the main armed Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO) Dr. Riek Machar has urged the reconstituted national legislative assembly to quickly enact the new security laws to pave ways for graduation and deployment of the necessary unified forces.
Speaking during the opening session of the 5th governor’s forum held in Juba on Monday, Machar said security laws are the cornerstone for the graduation of unified troops.
“We would want the Revitalized Transitional National Assembly to accelerate its works when the minister of justice and constitutional affairs table before the assembly the security laws,” Machar said.
“Security laws are important for the graduation of forces, at least with those laws we will have the basis on when we will unify them. They are not difficult, they can easily be passed out and the process can go quickly,” Machar added.
According to the 2018 peace deal, the unified forces – composed of oppositions and government forces were supposed to be graduated before the end of the pre-transitional period which ended in February 2020 with the appointment of Dr. Machar as First Vice President.
The forces were to take charge of security during the ongoing transitional period in the country.
The graduation and unification of the army have been delayed with government officials citing lack of funding and existing arms embargo imposed by the United Nations Security Council as an obstacle which resulted in lack of arms for graduating the unified army.
Machar revealed that the unity government is faced with security issues due to the non-completion of security arrangements.
“Security arrangement is the backbone of the agreement. We are now facing some difficulties because of the noncompletion of security arrangements. We have not yet produced unified forces, and we are trying to redouble our efforts to see that phase one of unified forces is graduated. We still have obstacles in agreeing on unified command, IGAD came in but Sudan went into crisis and now we are trying to do it on our own,” he said.
He said the government will ensure that unified forces are graduated to prepare the country for elections slated in 2023.
“For us to have fair, free and transparent elections, you must have security forces that will protect the state, its people and to ensure no interference in the elections process and therefore, it is critical if we are going to go for elections, we must complete in shortest possible time security arrangement,” he said.