President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has said that the real medicine for the situation in South Sudan is ultimately elections, but added, that the ideological problem of seeing sectarian groups as more important than national issues is a limitation.
“You cant win elections with tribal forces. With elections, political actors will seek alliances. This makes you to behave. If you have been mistreating an area, how do you get voters there? But elections without an army, census and a constitution…these are crucial to having an election which is not contested,” he said.
The President was yesterday meeting the IGAD Special Envoy for South Sudan, Amb. Dr. Ismail Wais at State Lodge in Nakasero
On the mechanics of unification President Museveni said it is important to unite and train soldiers who will then provide the security for the country to deal with other issues later.
“Here, we never paid the army. We had no money. All we wanted was food, clothing and unity. Dont demand so many things because you dont have them. You need food clothing, medicine and get moving. Donors can help with food and uniform. Even without pay, they can provide security then deal with other issues. If you have peace and roads start collecting revenue you deal with other issues later,” he said.
The President said he would follow up with the respective leaders to find solutions. He decried the communal violence in South Sudan which he described as very dangerous because there is a vaccum of control with violence now personalised.
“We are here in line with our African tradition to visit leaders and wise men to benefit from their wisdom and seek their guidance. The implementation of the 2018 Agreement is going well though slowly. The main challenge is with regard to Chapter II on Transitional Security Arrangements (TSA),” Amb. Wais said.
According to Amb. Wais, the TSA implementation has unfortunately stalled including the Unification of forces. He said there is no food, clean water, shelter and medication in the cantonment and training sites for almost two years now.
“These deplorable conditions are causing defections, internal conflict and violence,” he said.
According to Amb. Wais, communal fighting is widespread in South Sudan, which can be significantly reduced if the forces are united and deployed. Fragmentation and defections undermine trust and confidence among the Parties.
Other issues include the proliferation of small arms within communities in South Sudan which is undermining security. Disarmament and collection of arms to ensure sustainable peace and security in South Sudan but which has stalled and local violence. The unification of the command structure is a major challenge for unification of forces as South Sudan.
“Your Excellency local violence is a symptom of a weak state, due to poor or non-existing security apparatus. I seek your leadership, guidance and wisdom on helping the leaders of South Sudan to resolve the deadlock on the sharing of command structure; Help the leaders to expedite the unification and deployment of forces; and help organize support from regional leaders to assist the youngest nation on earth to implement TSA through logistics, trainings, capacity building etc,” he said.
Amb. Wais urged the President to spearhead support of the region to help South Sudan.
“This region needs you. With your leadership, South Sudan will be a stronger member of the EAC. Our region has to stand up, we need you to spearhead support of the region to help South Sudan,” he said.
The Ambassador condoled with the President and the people of Uganda over the death of Gen. Paul Lokech.
The meeting was attended by the Minister of Foreign Affairs J.J.Odongo, the World Bank Senior Director for Fragility, Conflict and Violence Betty Bigombe and the Interim Chair of the Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (RJMEC), Maj. Gen. Charles Tai Gitua.