South Sudan: New Government Deadline Looms

East Africa'd mediators are pressuring key protagonists in South Sudan to provide a breakdown of tasks to be addressed in the 100 days they were granted to form a unity government.

This past week, the African Union and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (Igad) said South Sudan must address those issues in fewer than 100 days, to allow for the formation of the government.

The African Union Peace and Security Council said it was getting involved in the South Sudan situation, and will encourage tougher sanctions against rebel groups that have so far refused to sign the agreements.

The Council called on the parties to agree on a systematic approach to address outstanding matters, "with a view to effectively and efficiently utilise the coming 100 days to complete the remaining crucial tasks, notably security arrangements and the number of states and internal boundaries of South Sudan", the Council said on Wednesday, a week after its members met.

Specifically, the Council directed Djibouti diplomat Ismail Wais, the Igad special envoy to South Sudan, to engage the leaders of the holdout groups such as former military chiefs Thomas Cirillo and Paul Malong to join the peace agreement.

Mr Cirillo and Mr Malong, both former senior military officers in the South Sudan army, formed rebel groups and refused to signed the revitalised agreement.

On Monday, Dr Wais said that South Sudan must work within 60 days. At a two-day workshop for the security mechanisms of the agreement in Juba, he said the 100 days time frame "offers another opportunity for the planning and execution of the pending tasks."

He urged participants to plan early to avoid the risk of missing deadlines due to upcoming holidays and weekends, said a dispatch from Igad on Monday.

The identified tasks require at least $100 million to determine boundaries, set up security arrangements and build barracks for soldiers.

South Sudan President Salva Kiir says he has released $40 million to the National Pre-Transitional Committee for the implementation of the outstanding issues.

So far, President Kiir has released $80 million as various stakeholders work on the implementation matrices. The implementation matrices that were provided in the September 2018 agreement have expired because of the frequent extensions of the deadlines.

Most of this money will go to the security arrangements, as soldiers have been deserting some cantonment camps because of lack of food, shelter and medicine.

Gen Augostino Njoroge, the interim chair of the Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission, said a road map with clear timelines should keep all signatories focused on achieving the tasks that have held up the formation of the new government.

"The clock is ticking, and your work and commitment to the people of South Sudan is clear and much needed," he said.

Other pending tasks include the enactment of the constitutional amendment bill and the other bills, the agreement on allocation of ministerial portfolios, the submission by the parties of their nominees for the transitional legislative assembly to the constitutional amendment committee, and the complete demilitarisation of civilian centres.

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