South Sudan peace deal benefactors; UK, USA and Norway are asking president Salva Kiir and his partner in the newly created Transitional Government of National Unity (TGNOU) to speed up the appointment of governors.
Called the “Troika”, the peace partners in a joint statement said the appointment of governors will accelerate the transition process, the fight against COVID-19 and end the ongoing communal violence.
The Troika appealed to the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the guarantors of the peace agreement to support the South Sudanese government in navigating this process.
“We are deeply concerned at the increased levels of violence across South Sudan. This causes immense suffering for the people of South Sudan, puts in jeopardy any gains that have been made, and has implications across the region,” the statement read in part.
The Troika cited Jonglei and Central Equatoria states as examples where the absence of governing authorities has led to a spiraling in fighting and perpetration of other acts of violence.
“In Jonglei, the vacuum created by the lack of governance has exacerbated cycles of intercommunal violence. In Central Equatoria, the ceasefire signed in January between the government and non-signatory groups has broken down and we have seen heavy fighting between forces in recent weeks, with villages destroyed and their communities displaced,” the statement said.
“Shocking reports of sexual violence against women and girls continue. We are concerned with the impact of the fighting on humanitarian access.”
In February, President Salva Kiir announced a reduction in the number of states from 32 to 10, paving the way for the creation of a transitional government of national unity.
The government has since come under pressure from the public and civil society organisations to appoint governors to help in the coordination of government policies to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
South Sudan, which has one of the poorest health systems on the continent, has seen a surge in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks. President Kiir lifted a number of restrictions put in place to control the spread of the virus despite the rise in the number of cases.
In April, presidential Press Secretary Ateny Wek Ateny said that the delay had been occasioned due to a disagreement among parties over the allocation of states.
The head of United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) David Shearer had also previously warned that the absence of political leadership at the state level, especially in Jonglei, in South Sudan contributed to the recent outbreak of inter-communal violence in the country.