SPLM/A-IO -Cry foul on command structure

Puok Both Baluang, Press Secretary in the Office of the First Vice President

By Yiep Joseph

The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army-In Opposition (SPLM/A-IO) has cried foul at the president’s appointment of the Unified Command Structure, saying it violated the deal reached by parties early this month.

On April 3, opposition parties SPLM/A-IO and South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA) struck a deal to share power within the Unified Command Structure, ending months of deadlock that has delayed the unification of their rival forces as required by the peace agreement.

According to the settlement, the parties agreed to a 60:40 sharing ratio for the government and opposition groups respectively.

However, opposition group SPLM/A-IO said the government has created additional positions out of what was agreed by parties in the settlement deal. The group said the same government appointed its members to all the new positions in violation of the agreement on the Unified Command Structure. 

“Here the president had created more positions and added them to his party even his ratio has been added to 85% out of the 65%(ITGoNU) to 45%(Opposition) that was agreed, the ratio is now 85% (IGONU) to15%(Opposition),” PuokBoth Baluang, the Press Secretary in the Office of the First Vice President and Chairman of the SPLM/A-IO Dr Riek Machar Teny.  

However, the allegations have been dismissed as mere claims by Michael Makuei Lueth, the Minister of Information, Communication, Technology and Postal Services who is also the Official Government Spokesperson.

“These are mere claims which are baseless and not subjective,” Makuei said, adding that the agreement had been implemented as it was agreed.

“The positions which were allocated to the SPLM/A-IO or to the Opposition were clearly stated in the schedule and the (SPLM/A-) IO made recommendations therefore the president did nothing rather than appointing those people in accordance with the recommendation made by the Opposition party,”Makuei said.

Makuei said that the allocation is 60%(ITGoNU) to 40% (Opposition), citing that there was no violation in the agreement on the unified command structure of forces.

The biggest opposition group SPLM/A-IO had claimed that the order of the president on command structures violate the agreement in a way that it changed the agreed ratio of 60% for (Incumbent Transitional Government of National Unity (ITGoNU) to 40% for (Opposition)to 85% and 15% for ITGoNU and Opposition respectively.

“There is a number of serious violations in the command structures of the SSPDF, National Police and National Security Service (NSS) on Tuesday 12 April 2022 Republican Order No. 09/2022 by the president for appointment of senior officers to the various positions in the organized positions structures as follows; In the SSPDF, the three areas of violation are in the appointment of the directors for procurement, production and the appointment of the commander of sector two in Malakal, contrary to the agreed-upon structure. It is worth mentioning here that the two directorates’ procurement and production are under the Ministry of Defense and Veterans Affairs,” Puok Both Baluang insisted.

MrBaluangsaid that the agreement signed by the parties on April 3, directed for the appointment of a joint committee to look into issues of directors and other positions after two weeks of the unification of the command structure. 

“Most notably, the aforementioned positions and the rest of the directorates in all the organized forces were agreed upon according to article 9 of the Metrix signed on April 3that would be discussed and agreed upon by a joint committee of the parties, and the presence of the mediators if need be, to allocate all these positions within a maximum period of two weeks from the formation of the unified command,” he said.

He accused President of omitting some positions as per the agreement but rather added some positions that were not agreed upon by the parties.

“In the national police service structure, president Salva Kiir had omitted three directorates namely Auxiliary forces, custom, and public relations, and created five new directorates contrary to the agreed-upon structures namely Assistant IGP for investment, Assistant IGP, and Commissioner for Central Equatoria, Assistant IGP for human resource Development, Assistant IGP for oil field, and Assistant IGP for Inspectorate,” he said.

“The president created new positions of deputy director-general for Administration and Finance in the internal and external security bureau which was not agreed upon by the parties, and appointed his allies to these positions, whereas according to April 3 agreement, the structures of the two breaches of the NSS will be a director-general for both external and internal security(ITGONU) and a deputy(opposition) plus the directors,” he added.

Baluangclaimed the attempt by the president was meant to isolate the opposition parties, particularly the SPLM/A-IO from finance and administration within these directorates.

He said the move will make it harder for the implementation of reforms needed, especially in the finance sector within all the organized forces.

“Also, it will cripple the work of these deputy directors-general and the directorates allocated to the SPLM/A-IO” he added.

He called on President Salva Kiir to conform to the agreed structure of the SSPDF, National Police, and the National Security Service.

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