June 10,2013 (JUBA) – The head of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan, Hilde F. Johnson said Monday that she cannot change global body’s policy of hiring contractors to protect UN buildings.
Hilde Johnson, speaking to reporters in Yambio, Western Equatoria state, July 17, 2012 (ST).
Johnson was reacting to a strike by local staff members, which the mission employed as security guards against outsourcing security services. She said that according to a resolution of the General Assembly of the UN, the current policy is to outsource the protection of UN premises.
She said in the case of South Sudan, at the request of UN headquarters in New York and following the budget decisions of member states, the decision to outsource security to a private company was taken a long time ago.
However, following the oil shutdown and subsequent economic difficulties, implementation of this decision was delayed by a year and a half in the interest of the South Sudanese employees and the individual contractors themselves.
The new contract, which will enter into force shortly, will absorb all guards and individual contractors currently employed by the mission.
“Subject to satisfactory performance, everyone will be employed. There will be no loss of jobs. The guards on strike are individual contractors who were hired on short term contracts and on an interim basis,” an UNMISS statement reads in part.
As their contracts expire, they will be absorbed by the company that has been given the overall contract. The company is fully registered in South Sudan and is partly owned by South Sudanese nationals.
With these new arrangements, the individual concerned will have better job security, while their salaries will remain above the average in South Sudan, it added.
Article source: http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article46892
May 30, 2013 (JUBA) – The United Nations Mission in South Sudan said this week that it was not able to replace the role of the government in providing security to civilians in the young nation.
Hilde Johnson, speaking to reporters in Yambio, Western Equatoria state, July 17, 2012 (ST).
There has been a spike in violence in Jonglei state in recent months where the army is fighting a rebellion.
Marking UN peacekeeping day on 29 Ma, the head of the mission said that peacekeepers were trying to provide balanced protection to civilians in the troubled eastern state were 19,000 people have been displaced in recent months.
David Yauyau’s rebels are fighting to establish an independent state for ethnic minorities, he claims are being discriminated against in the young nation, which seceded from Sudan in 2011.
Hilde Johnson, the Special Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations, said the mission has conducted well over 1,000 military patrols of long and short duration across Jonglei state since August last year.
“We have recently increased our military presence throughout the state to six companies, equally present in the areas of Jonglei’s three main communities (the Bor Dinka, Lou Nuer and Murle). We are not the peacekeepers of one community; we are the peacekeepers for all of them”, Johnson said.
The top UN official in the country, however, stressed that the mission cannot contain the whole conflict even if it were to deploy its “last pair of boots” to Jonglei, or other states facing security challenges, because peacekeepers were not in South Sudan to “replace the Government, the police or the military”.
“The primary responsibility to protect the population rests with the Government of the Republic of South Sudan. Like all UN Peacekeeping missions, UNMISS can only support the country’s institutions to help them fulfill their responsibilities as a sovereign state.
“We put at their service the resources that UN member states so generously give us to achieve the goal that they and the Government of South Sudan have set for us: to help consolidate peace and security, to help extend and consolidate the authority of the Republic throughout the entire territory of South Sudan, and to help establish the conditions for development”, Johnson explained.
Indian peacekeepers marked UN peacekeeping day in Bor, the capital of Jonglei state, on Wednesday by paying tribute to the five blue helmets and seven civilian members of UN staff who died in an ambush in April.
No group has accepted responsibility for the attack, which the South Sudanese military have blamed on Yauyau’s rebels.
“As we observe the International Day of the United Nations Peacekeepers on 29 May, we pay tribute to sixteen of our bravest colleagues who died in two senseless tragedies: the downing of an UNMISS helicopter on 21 December 2012 and an ambush on a UN convoy on 9 April. Among the dead were four Russian crew members, five Indian soldiers—who died while fighting to protect their colleagues—, and two South Sudanese civilians”, Johnson said.
The UN helicopter was shot down by the South Sudanese army (SPLA), who believed it be a Sudanese plane re-arming Yauyau’s rebels.
“Both tragedies happened in Jonglei, a state most afflicted by insecurity and instability and which is the focus of the UNMISS mandate to protect civilians” she said.
In the face of adversity the UN mission was following “the inspiring example of the people that it serves” by remaining resilient, her statement said.
“Last year, UNMISS received threats by anti-government armed elements against one of our bases in Pibor County. Our response was to increase our military presence in the county.”
Yauyau’s rebels briefly occupied Boma, a strategic town in Pibor county near the border with Ethiopia, earlier this month, before it was retaken by the SPLA.
Article source: http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article46765
May 9, 2013 (JUBA) – Intellectuals and senior political leaders from the greater Equatoria region have called on contestants for the top seat in the ruling party, SPLM, to refrain from violent politics and allow for fair and peaceful competition in the country.
Eastern Equatoria state Governor Louis Lobong Lojore speaking at the consultative conference in Juba, May 9, 2013 (Larco Lomoyat)
Hundreds of representatives from the three states of Central, Eastern and Western Equatoria converged in Juba on Thursday to discuss the political, economic and security situation unfolding in the new country.
The governors of the three states; namely Clement Wani, Louis Lobong and Joseph Bakosoro, respectively, attended the rare event and delivered speeches during the opening of the conference.
The two-day consultative gathering was also attended by the speaker of parliament and deputy chairman of the SPLM, James Wani Igga, as well as by the deputy secretary general of the party, Ann Itto, ministers and parliamentarians from the greater region.
The regional-based consultation on the country’s politics is a new turn of event that may unnecessarily drag the nation into regional blocs or alliances, say officials from other regions.
The greater Bahr el Ghazal has also announced that their regional leaders will meet in Wau, capital of western Bahr el Ghazal state, in the next few days to discuss “challenges facing the region.”
The three greater regions, Upper Nile included, were created in the difficult times of Kokora era in early 1980s, when politics turned tribal and regional as the former presidents of the then High Executive Council, which was formed after the 1972 Addis Ababa Agreement, became bitter rivals.
The current transitional constitution of South Sudan does not however recognize the former greater regions as it only provides for the three levels of government, which include the national, state and local levels, without referring to the former greater regions as legal blocs in the system.
While accepting party transformation and leadership contest as normal practice, the greater Equatoria leaders called on those involved to refrain from violence.
Speakers during the event, they called on the ruling party leaders to undergo the procedural internal transformation process, and warned contestants against sideling their region in the process.
Central Equatoria’s Clement Wani Konga (Photo Larco Lomoyat)
Central Equatoria state governor, Clement Wani Kongo, said when the two bulls fight it is the grass that suffers, adding the conferees that the region will not continue to watch and suffer like the grass.
Louis Lobong Lojore criticized leaders who “cook” ideas without involving the regional leaders from the beginning and then later on come to ask for support. “We must be involved from the beginning,” he said.
Western Equatoria governor, Joseph Bakasoro, called on the ruling party to imitate the recent internal discipline that was witnessed from the South Africans’ ANC party. Bakasoro also criticized what he said was negligent to the country’s national army, saying the government should make sure they are paid on time.
The speaker of parliament and deputy chairperson of the SPLM, James Wani Igga, who is an Equatorian, encouraged the regional leaders to promote economic activities so as to achieve food security in the country.
In a meeting of the SPLM Political Bureau last March, the speaker reportedly voiced to support the current president of government and party chairman, Salva Kiir, if Kiir wanted to maintain the seat till the year 2020, a position which was criticized by the many leaders in the region.
As a second thought, Wani, also said he would compete for Kiir’s top seat if Kiir decided to step down and allows for others to compete.
Speakers in the conference, however, advised not to make their colours known until the party basic documents are passed and campaign started.
The political bureau is expected to meet again next week for finalize the remaining basic documents such as the code of conduct and rules and regulations.
The highest party organ has completed the review of its manifesto but failed to agree on certain provisions in the draft constitution which is referred to the national liberation council for further deliberations.
Among the pressing issues to be confirmed by the national liberation council is whether a primary election will take place prior to the national convention where leaders will be elected.
The current chairman also wants handpick 5% of the candidates to the convention which was resisted as that would give him high ground against other competitors.
Western Equatoria’s Joseph Bangansi Bakosoro (photo: Larco Lomoyat)
Another contention is about what voting system to apply between “secret ballots” and “show of hand.”
The presidential advisor and widow of the late founder of the party, Rebecca Nyandeng de Mabior, on Tuesday warned of “red lines” as she was referring to some of the contentions. It is also speculated that she supports Machar to lead the transformation process for the next phase.
Vice President Riek Machar and SPLM secretary general Pagan Amum were among the leaders who challenged Kiir to step down.
Machar asked his running mate in the last elections of 2010 to support him to take over the top seat. Amum however wants that he be allowed as the successor to Kiir and asked the two leaders to step down.
Article source: http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article46517