- President Salva Kiir speaks at the headquarters of the army in Juba 9 August 2018 (Photo S. Sudan presidency
January 24, 2021 (JUBA) – South Sudan’s president Salva Kiir has issued a command directive instructing the Chief of Defence Forces (CDF) to assign and deploy top military commanders into key and strategic positions across the world’s youngest nation.
Kiir, in a January 6, 2021 order Sudan Tribune obtained, directed the appointment and deployment of up to 397 senior military officers into key positions across the country.
The directive instructed the CDF to immediately appoint and assign heads of strategic departments, their deputies and head divisions, their deputies, and officers below them.
“By virtue of the powers conferred upon me as the president and commander-in-chief by the constitution of the republic of South Sudan and other relevant laws, I hereby issue this order for the appointment and redeployment of the following major generals and brigadier generals with effect from 5th January 2021,” reads the order.
“The officers whose names have not appeared in this appointment and redeployment order should be directly handled by the CDF in consultation with the commander-in-chief,” it added.
The move sparked queries on the rational behind the unilateral act coming ahead of the reunification of forces with opposition fighters as stipulated in the revitalized agreement.
Some opposition sources interpreted the decision of the president as an attempt to derail the full implementation of the peace agreement, pointing to reluctance on the part of the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGNU) to provide budget to expedite preparations to pass out troops in the cantonment and training centers.
The parties to the peace agreement formed a coalition government in February 2020. Despite this, however, there are several key unresolved issues, including the security arrangements as well as agreement on the finalization of governance structures.
Government and opposition forces should, as part of the September 2018 peace deal, form one national army.