PEACE TALKS Third phase postponed yet again
The delegates in the conference hall on 16th February, 2018 during the second phase of the HLRF in Addis Ababa (photo by Jale Richard):
By Jale Richard
The regional trade and security bloc, Intergovernmental Authority on Development mediating the South Sudan peace talks has rescheduled the third phase of the talks for next month.
The third phase of the High Level Revitalization Forum (HLRF) for rejuvenation of the Agreement for Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCSS) was planned to start on 26th till 30th April, 2018.
A source in the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC), a body tasked with monitoring the implementation of the 2015 peace Agreement being rekindled said the peace talks had been rescheduled to start a week later on May 2nd. It will end on 6th.
The postponement comes when African Union Peace and Security Council team are in Juba consulting with the government on the outstanding issues that aroused during the second phase of the HLRF, which was suspended in the middle of February close to two weeks of negotiations.
It was not clear why IGAD postponed the talks for one more week, but recently members of the IGAD Council of Ministers were in the country to consult with the parties on the outstanding issues of the peace process.
Also, it could be to allow IGAD to consult with all the parties to the agreement since the former army chief, Paul Malong Awan declared his intention to join the talks on the flag of the Opposition Alliance after he announced his new rebel movement last week.
Ahead of the peace talks, the Opposition Alliance, of ten opposition groups excluding Machar’s SPLM-IO, in response to the ongoing consultations by IGAD, demanded that Dr. Riek Machar and President Kiir be excluded from the next Transitional Government.
During the third phase of the HLRF, the parties to the conflict will continue to negotiate issues of governance and power sharing as enshrined in Chapter One of the August 2015 Agreement.
The first phase of the HLRF led to the signing of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (CoH) by the parties to the conflict on 21st December, 2017 although the Agreement was allegedly immediately violated. The parties to the Agreement traded counter accusations for the alleged violation.
The mediators, IGAD warned that the violators if proven would face penalties for their actions.
South Sudan enmeshed into conflict just two years after its independence from the Sudan as the ruling party got split during the extra-ordinary National Liberation Council of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), which sparked off the four-year conflict on Sunday 15th December, 2013.
IGAD mediated the talks between the warring parties for nearly twenty months, which climaxed in to the signing of the ARCSS in August 2015.
The Agreement brought Dr. Riek Machar to Juba as the First Vice President. However Machar’s return was short lived and the peace deal stalled after conflict broke out between the forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and those loyal to Dr. Riek Machar in July 2016 which forced Machar to flee out of Juba declaring the ARCSS dead.
He was then replaced as the First Vice President by Taban Deng Gai who was the SPLM-IO’s chief negotiator.
Education Minister refute existence of 13,000 students for examination
Minister of General Education and Instructions, Deng Deng Hoc Yai speaking to Juba Monitor on the fate of 13,000 students on 17th April, 2018 (credit photo by Moses Gum Degur):
By Moses Gum Degur
The Minister of General Education and Instructions Deng Deng Hoc Yai yesterday officially refuted allegations of the existence of 13,000 students who intended to sit for Sudan School Certificate of Education as had been claimed earlier.
He said such number did not exist and could only be so in the imagination of some people. This came in the wake of the minster being summoned by parliament recently to clarify the matter which had been brought to the attention of the house and the country by some people complaining against the Ministry for denying the students chance to sit for the extermination. The issues arose mostly from the Upper Nile and Bahr-el-Ghazal.
He said there was no such number existing but admitted that only 260 students were registered for Sudan Certificate examination under Islamic Council Centre in Juba.
“Only 260 students were registered for Sudan Certificate exams in Juba. These students are the ones who did not do examinations because the Sudan Government did not bring their examinations due to security reasons”, Deng said.
He said that their examinations was the responsibility of the Sudan government through its Ministry of Foreign Affairs for students in South Sudan and there was no reason to deny or withheld examinations.
Deng said that failure of Sudan to bring examinations to registered 260 students in the country was not the issue of the Ministry of General Education.
He said the ministry’s work was to coordinate and help arrange the process and not to get involved in Sudanese Affairs.
Minister Deng said the issue of the 13,000 students who were said not to have sat the examinations was false; since there were no reports received by his office.
“The alleged number of 13, 000 students is guess work and false information. I repeat. It is totally false. We have no number of such kind”, he said.
“We were not provided with the list or even names of those students willing to do Sudan Examination. Not a single Minister in the state gave me a list or even names”, Deng continued.
Minister Deng said the assumed figure did not exist anywhere and that he had several meetings with state Ministers to present their general report but nothing was reported of such kind of 13,000 students.
Deng disclosed that what he knew about was 3,000 learners who failed examination in 2017 including those sitting Sudan exams were now in senior four implementing National curriculum, and had no connection to this year’s examinations.
In February this year, the Transitional Legislative Assembly summoned the minister over the same issue of the 13,000 students who missed out examination.
South Sudan phased out all foreign curricula and since then is implementing the National curriculum across the country.