Why delay RPF deployment

By Omuno Mogga Otto

The recent arrival of the first batch of the Regional Protection Force (RPF) to Juba, the capital city of the country is a positive move as an effort aiming at stabilizing the political atmosphere within the city.

It is a positive move towards the need to improve security within Juba and other towns. It is a positive move because the deployment will minimize and prevent the fear of insecurity within Juba and other unnecessary political threats.  The public in Juba is still living with fear because the last memory of the violence which erupted in Juba has not yet fully gone away. It would only go away if the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the International Community urge the countries who promised to contribute the forces and the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS)  to speed the logistical facilitation of the regional forces.

After the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (ARCSS) was signed in August 2015 between the former First Vice President and the leader of Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition, Dr. Riek Machar and the government was disrupted by the last year’s clashes within Juba, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) agreed and passed a resolution to deploy RPF with a strong mandate to support the security of Juba.

On August 2016, the UN Security Council authorized the deployment of RPF to provide security in Juba. Dr. Riek Machar who is currently not part of the Transitional Government after he fled Juba after the last year’s July clashes had previously accused the government of dishonoring the agreement, but supported the idea of the deployment of RPF.

Few days back, one of the army officers said the RPF should also help in escorting the daily convey of the public transport buses and other light vehicles from Juba to Nimule. A couple of days back, the Minister of Information, Michael Makuei also raised concerns about the settlement of the RPF within the UNMISS compound near the main Juba International Airport. But later that misunderstanding was settled after the diplomates in Juba met with the government.

Are there some government officials behind the delay of a complete deployment of the RPF? Is the UN not setting up a meaningful arrangement to ensure a complete deployment of the RPF?  Are there hardliners from the system who are behind the delaying tactics on the arrival of all the contingent of RPF? What are they going to benefit from such unhelpful, unsupportive and unpopular political activity?  There is a serious necessity for a full corporation between the government and the UNMISS so as to avoid future possibility of misunderstanding. Any misunderstand should not appear again in the future because our people in Juba needs full security.

The public is tired of the previous several cases of insecurity that have happened in Juba. Although there is slight improvement in the security within the city after the joint organized forces have been amazingly doing good work, still much effort to tackle cases of insecurity which would include the participation of the RPF is urgently needed. It is urgent to maintain full security within the city. The government should show Good Corporation to enable full and quick deployment without further postponement. All the strong 4000 recruits of the RPF are supposed to be fully deployed by this time. We don’t expect the misunderstanding over the deployment of the Rwandan contingent to happen again because it would not favour public interest.

The government should instead encourage UNMISS to speed up a whole deployment of the RPF instead of delaying its deployment because the hope of maintaining security of Juba is seriously needed. The RPF will contribute in improving the security of the city. They are not and would not break the prosperity of the country as far as the security of the public in Juba is concerned.

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