South Sudan forms unity govt in May despite opposition issues

South Sudanese much-awaited Transitional Unity Government (TGoNU) will be formed in May, amid doubts by the opposition who cite delays in unifying the army and determining number of states and boundaries.

Michael Makuei Lueth, Minister of Information, told Xinhua on Wednesday that the TGoNU will be formed despite delays by the warring parties to agree on cantonment, unifying of their forces, and number of states and boundaries.

“Even if the unification of forces have not been completed by May, the TGoNU will just go on,” he said in Juba. 

He said failure to agree with the opposition groups on exact figures of their forces has caused delays in setting up of cantonment sites.

 “They (cantonment sites) have not been established for various reasons, including failure of the opposition to give the government exact figures of their forces. The figures which they gave us are not correct,” said Makuei.

Manawa Peter Gatkuoth, deputy chairperson of information of the main rebel group, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-In-Opposition (SPLM-IO), recently said the TGoNU may not be formed in May when the pre-transitional period ends, citing delays in setting up of cantonment sites, training and deployment of the unified forces.

Gatkuoth also added that it was not viable to form the unity government, without allowing the recently established International Boundaries Commission (IBC) to first determine the number of states and boundaries.

But Makuei disclosed that lack of funds have delayed implementation of the transitional security arrangements which include screening of the forces before they are integrated into the national army.

 “The soldiers should have been by now deployed to their respective units,” he said.

President Salva Kiir and his former deputy Riek Machar signed the revitalised peace agreement mediated by regional leaders in late September in 2018 in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa to end five years of conflict.

South Sudan descended into civil war in late 2013, and the conflict has created one of the fastest growing refugee crises in the world.

The UN estimates that about four million South Sudanese have been displaced internally and externally. –Xinhua 

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