Government listed charges for violators of COVID-19 restriction

South Sudan National Taskforce announced to punished violators of Coronavirus guidelines. The charges include paying money, or sentencing to jail for not maintain social distancing, wear a face mask, smuggling people at the borders and disseminate false information on social media.

It warned public drivers who carry more passengers in the vehicles without observing the rules to face penalties.

The Taskforce extended nationwide partial lockdown for an additional month to curb the spread of coronavirus.  The new lockdown effective on 3rd of March valid until April 3rd, 2021

Chairperson of the National Taskforce on COVID-19 pandemic Vice President Hussein Abdelbagi Akol make an announcement on Wednesday.

He directed South Sudan National Police Services to impose fines against any person who failed to comply with the guidelines. Fine payment shall be made through South Sudan National Revenue Authority and valid receipts.

Taskforce urged citizens to stay safe and implement health safety protocol to protect from the pandemic.

Government drawback banned the public from gathering, receiving dead bodies in large numbers at the airport, stopping the hospital from admitting any COVID-19 suspects, and directed town municipality councils to maintain good hygiene and sanitation.

COVID-19 prevention measures are linked to the South Sudan panel code 2008. The statement says law violators who will fail to comply with the national guidelines shall be punished.

National Taskforce imposed partial lockdown in early February a wave of pandemic cases increases in South Sudan.

States government formation finalized, powers delegated to governors

Parties to the Revitalized Peace Agreement have completed the Unity government’s formation in all ten states. 

Government formation ended on Tuesday with Eastern Equatoria and the Upper Nile States. 

South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit has been issued republican decrees appointed the Ministers, County Commissioners, Advisers, and independent Commissions members.

Citizens view government formation as good signs that shown commitment among parties to implement the agreement.

After completing government formation, the President issued a Republican decree to delegate powers to the governors. 

According to the Revitalize Agreement, ten states’ governors were given constitutional authorities to swear-in all government appointees to their respective offices.

“The decree read 28 (1) interpretation of the law, and general provisions act 2006, and article 106A (2) has given governors powers to swear in the appointed government officials in accordance with states constitutions and local government act 2009.”

Before the signatory of Revitalize Agreement, governors have constitutional duty to appoint and remove their executives. But those powers were vested to the President according to the Revitalized Agreement. 

President Kiir cautioned that governors should exercise their respective legal mandates in conformity with the agreement to avoid any disagreement.

The Unity government delay formation for one year without graduation of unified protection forces and soldiers integration.

A University professor, Dr. Abraham Kuol, criticized the appointment of state officials by the President said it violated the powers of Governors.

The political analyses move commended the breakthrough on the implementation of the peace agreement.

Dr. Kuol, a Lecturer at the University of Juba, called the parties to prepare for a general convention to bring state governors and their deputies as part of the peace campaign. The scholar believes this will change people appointed to the state government who wish to work for their party interests.

The parties to the deal have not yet reconstituted the legislative assembly, the council of states, and graduated Unify forces as required in the peace agreement.

Fifteen shops burned in fire blast at Jebel market

Fifteen shops have burned in a fire blast on Tuesday in Jebel market along Yei road. Traders say they have lost thousands of pounds, hardware, and timbers. It is unclear what causes the fire.

The shops burned were owned by South Sudanese and foreign traders. Eyewitness gives mixed reactions to how fire breaks-out occurred.

The market residents were shocked to see terrifying smokes in the sky that burned everything, including an electrical pole.

Some people told Radio Community journalist Chuol Jany the fire broke out at 6 am. Other eyewitnesses claimed that an incident happened from 4:50 am until 5: 40am.

Many water tankers and firefighters were seen on the scene trying to put off the fire to prevent further damage. Their intervention was unhelpful when everything burned to ash.

The Radio community reporter who has been in the scene took a small video clip for broader views of the situation

Urgency needed to implement R-ARCSS fully, Troika say.

South Sudan commemorates the First Anniversary of the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity on Monday. Last year, a power-sharing government was formed on February 22.

The Five Vice Presidents appointed under the term of peace agreement parties signed in September 2018. The President also relieves all ministers and advisors of his Government and set up new cabinets comprised of all parties to the deal

The Opposition leader Dr. Riek Machar has sworn into office as First Vice President, a position he lost in 2016 following the violence that erupted in Juba.

Other vice presidents include Dr. James Wani Igga, Taban Deng Gai, Rebecca Nyandeng, and Hussein Abdelbagi Akol, were also take oaths on that day.

Today [Monday, February 22] marks the first anniversary of the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity’s formation, described as a significant step toward restoring peace in South Sudan. Since the Government was partially formed, the parties have been known of a slow process to implement the agreement. There still no parliament reconstituted, forces not yet graduates as plans and States government formation have just started over the weekend with Central Equatoria.

The Troika countries include United States, UK, and Norway, welcomes all efforts by the RTGoNU in implementing the Revitalized Agreement.  

In the statement three western countries issued, much work is needed to complete a Unity government formation.

“Much work remains, and there is an urgent need to implement R-ARCSS in full. Progress made over the past year has been too slow and too limited. Critically important is the immediate formation of State Governments and the Transitional National Legislative Assembly and Council of States’ re-constitution.”

“Implementation of Transitional Security Arrangements and real security sector reform should commence immediately. The Troika endorses and reiterates the call made by the African Union and Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Ambassadors to improve conditions in training centers and accelerate the graduation and deployment of the Necessary Unified Forces.

“We will continue to work closely with IGAD and the regional guarantors to reach common objectives on the peace process and an agreed roadmap for implementation” Troika Stated.

The Troika members state further called for the establishment of a Hybrid Court. The Court is to trial those accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity during the conflict. 

The Troika further welcomes the endorsement by the Council of Ministers on January 28 of a roadmap for implementing Chapter 5, including the establishment of the Hybrid Court for South Sudan; the Commission for Truth, Reconciliation and Healing; and the Compensation and Reparations Authority”.

The Troika called  for the commencement of the permanent constitution-making process and preparations for peaceful, credible, and inclusive post-transitional elections. They are also concerned about the reports of defection from one party to the other.

The diplomats stated that violence is not acceptable and parties must restore peacefully include engaging a holdout group through the Rome peace process.

“While the national ceasefire has generally held, the level of violence across the country, including conflict caused by defections, is unacceptable. We urge all parties to the Rome process to ensure adherence to the Cessation of Hostilities and pursue political dialogue”.

Government spokesperson and Information Minister Michael Makuei accused International Community of being a double agent on the peace process in South Sudan. He said the diplomats should work hard so that the armed embargo imposed on South Sudan is reverse which he described as a factor delay graduation of Unify forces.

Those who are concerning are the very people who are obstructing the implementation of the peace agreement. Those diplomats wrote reports to the security council on the passed armed embargo. If they are a concern, they are supposed to work hard so that the resolution of the armed embargo is reverse, but these are people who are out to complicate issues for South Sudan.”

The UN arms embargo on South Sudan was instituted on July 13, 2018, to prevent the direct or indirect supply, sale, or transfer of arms and related material – including ammunition, military vehicles, and spare parts entering South Sudan.

Information Minister called for unify disarmament.

South Sudan Minister of Information has called for holistic disarmament to avoid smuggling guns from one area to another during the exercise.

The call comes as the country has witnessed several criminal activities being committed by those with unauthorizing guns within the nation’s territory.

And these include cattle raiding, revenge killing, road ambushes reported daily.

In an inclusive interview with TRC’s journalist, Hon: Michael Makuei Lueth, the disarmament should not be partially done.

Makuei suggests that government should put in place an approach of conducting general disarmament exercise in the country.

 “The issue of disarmament cannot be done partly because it does not address the situation. It is supposed to be holistic. If it is holistic, it has to be an overall plan for disarmament because if I am disarmed today”. Makuei said

“If disarmament started from my village, we would rush our arms to your town. They say they have finished here in my village. So, it is supposed to be a holistic approach so that disarmament is done all over. South Sudan at ago so that you don’t give room to others to run away with their arms to the other side”, He stressed 

South Sudan People Defense Forces-SSPDF launched the disarmament exercise in many parts of the country, including Warrap and the Lakes States, targeting armed civilians. Those exercises were unsuccessful.

In August last year, more than 130 people died in the disarmament process in Tonj East – Romic of Warrap state.

SPLM-IO trade blames with MPs over children missed exam 

Members of National legislative assembly and Sudan People Liberation Movement in Opposition under the leadership of First Vice President Riek Machar have traded an accusation over more than eight hundred primary eight candidates who missed national exanimation in the Jonglei Upper States.

The Minister of General Education Hon. Awut Deng Acuil withholds taking class eight exam to SPLM-IO control areas last week, citing insecurity threats that lead to confiscation of their staff member’s property. 

South Sudan national exam for primary Leaving certificate was kickoff on Monday and end on Friday 12th. 

Restriction of examination for pupils in the IO control area received wider condemnation from the education partners who see it as clear abuse of the child’s fundamental right to access education.

On Tuesday, February 9th, national members of the parliament issued a statement, blaming Machar’s unwilling cooperation for guaranteeing security forces compromised of national security and police service to protect exam.

The five MPs who issued the statement include Susan Machar, Michael Ruo Koryom, Martha Martin Dar, Lydia Jatin Jock, Paul Pur Liah, and Bor Gatwech Kuany.

MPs publicly criticized the First Vice president after meeting with the General Education minister, who briefed them on unfold child rights abuse.

Lawmakers who signed the document claimed that they had contacted the First Vice president’s office on February 7th to meet them but declined their request, citing a busy schedule. They further accused Machar of lack of political will and intentional obstruction of the government of R-TGoNU access to citizens in their areas.

MPs say the move “created division, hatred and disunity among South Sudan people and fit the people against their government.” 

The office of First Vice President denied any wrongdoing. They dismissed the accusation terming it as a “misleading statement.” 

They say the five allegations labeled against them by the lawmakers were “untrue and baseless.”

“Honorable Minister Awut Deng Acuil spoke with the First Vice President on the phone about the matter. Neither a meeting was conducted in person, nor did they meet many times as the letter falsely alleged. 

“In that phone conversation, the Minister was reassured by the SPLM/SPLA (IO) leadership that the Examiners and Examinees’ safety, including the conducive atmosphere for the Examinations, will be fully taken care of. There was that understanding in their conversation,”  The 1st Vice President’s office stated.

The press secretary Puok Kueth Baluong highlighted the conversation contents agreed. He said the First Vice President met international partners and Envoys; he assured them the children in the selected areas should do the Exams. And provide reassurance the safety for all those staff who will be involved in the exercise.

Elders Call on Kiir-Machar to Exit Power After Transitional Government

A group of Dinka elders says President Kiir and Vice President Machar should resign in two years. The Jieng Council of elders asks the leaders to exit power after the Transitional Government of National Unity.

The group says both leaders have failed the country. And at the next elections, they should step aside to allow new leadership to solve South Sudan’s problems.

Jieng Council of Elders member Daniel Dhieu Matuet, an MP in the National Assembly, said this is the only way there will be peace and prosperity.

President Kiir says the national Dialogue’s outcome represents citizen views and must be considering. And promised to incorporate the resolutions will into the permanent constitution process.

The Jieng Council of Elders is headed by a 5-member team. They all confirmed to us that they had made this extraordinary statement that has been published online.

The group of Dinka elders said their ideas come as a result of The National Dialogue. This was a process of talking and planning initiated by President Salve Kiir in 2017. It was designed to produce peace and reconciliation after the period of the transitional government ends. At the time, SPLM-IO chairperson Dr. Riek Machar and National Revolution Movement Dr. Lam Akol, were not fully supportive of The National Dialogue.

The Jieng Council of Elders believes that recommendations made during National Dialogue have not been implemented. This means there is a risk that war will return to South Sudan.

In particular, they criticize President Kiir and Vice President Machar. Saying the current government is not interested in fixing South Sudan’s problems because it continues to be dominated by the rivalry that caused the fighting in 2013.

Now the Dinka elders say it is time to “break silence on national affairs.”

Daniel Dhieu Matuet is one of the elders. He mentioned there needs to be a new leadership with the skills and ideas to build the economy and unite South Sudan people. Matuet says the Dinka elders call on the old administration to declare they will not be President and Vice President in 2023 when the transitional government ends.

Dhieu worried that the economy collapsed, innocent people dying due to insecurity threats risked in the peace implementation.

”Things should be corrected when they are not made right, and it’s our duty; we’re not after the presidency. We’re not after ministries, but we want our generation to be reserves, have their lives, and have adequate security. The community is the family of these two people [Kiir-Machar]. What will make them happy, what will make them prosper they have to do it”.

Citizens also spokes out about the calls Jieng Council of Elders made. They say President Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar should not participate in the upcoming election.

The community members argued that Kiir and Machar have been waging a war that doesn’t promote peace and development.

“Starting from 2005, there is no development between the two leaders. Since 2005 up to date there is no change. Now we want a new face to come and develop others.” 

The presidential spokesperson says national dialogue resolution politically motivate and cannot be implemented.

Ateny Wek Ateny said the peace agreement is the supreme document that gives Kiir and Machar a mandate to rule the country during the transitional period.

 “What have been said in the National Dialogue, particularly the resolution that is calling for the President and Dr Riek Machar to step aside, has overtaken. The revitalized peace agreement on the conflict resolution makes it clear that President Salva Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar will be part of this transition that will last for three years, depending on elections. And they will also go elections according to the agreement which now is the supreme of the country,” Wek said.

The SPLM-IO disagreed with the calls for both leaders to leave power.

Puok Both Kulang, a Director for Information and Public relation in the leading Opposition group He said Jieng Council of Elders has the right to expressed their views but should know that SPLM-IO not eligible to implement any legal resolution of the national dialogue

“Whatever has been decided by the so-called ‘the National Dialogue’ will not concern us as the SPLMM –IO because we are not part and parcel,” said Puok

The elders emphasized that new leadership to set policy economy and development, not a power struggle, is needed in South Sudan.

Labor Minister: Change of the time zone “gives leverage” to workers

South Sudan Minister of Labor, James Hoth Mai has defended the government’s decision to change its time zone from Eastern Africa plus three to two hours. Official marked the country plunged into Central Africa time zone with Burundi and Rwanda.

The government publicly announced its decision to set back its time zone of one hour behind Eastern Africa time on January 15th this year. A new time zone shall be sufficient on February 1st, 2021.

In 1997 former Sudanese president Omar El Bashir joined the Eastern Time before South Sudan achieved its independence on July 9th, 2011. And Sudan reverted to its original time zone in 2017.

According to the Labor office, South Sudan lies between 24 to 36 degrees East of the Greenwich line. The prime meridian divided the world into the Eastern and Western Hemispheres.

The government said the unanimous decision was made based on the geographical longitude. South Sudan does not fall on the Eastern Greenwich meridian.

Mr. Mai said that the government’s decision to change the Eastern Africa community’s time zone would not affect the regular working hours in labor law. People will still work an aggregate time of eight hours per day, starting from 8 am to 5pm.

“We are not observing the day time saving because our border is different from Ethiopia in the far East. We have different of twenty-four minutes. Sun gets rise there in twenty-four minutes before it comes to us here. But, when you go far west in Raja area, we have additional thirty-six minutes, our sunset goes down here while still day time in Raja area. When you rounded them up, added twenty-four and thirty-six minutes, it will be sixty. And divide two it will give you two hour”.

James Hoth further explained the country was using Eastern Africa for “reason not known.” He said changing the time zone was related to the security situation to protect citizens from unknown shooters because the country was not electrified. 

He urged the public to pull back their time by one hour in February when the time zone comes into effect. The time zone shall change automatically to an electronic smartphone.

US ended travel bans on Muslims and African countries

Joe Biden sworn in as the US 46th president and Kamala Harris made history as the country’s first Black, female and South Asian vice president.

Biden signed several executive orders include rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement and ending travel ban on Muslims and African countries which Trump imposed. Biden’s National Security Adviser, Jake Sullivan said the president’s actions will immediately reveres the elements of the Trump policies that were deeply inhumane and didn’t reflect America’s values.

The US 46th President also signed an executive order reversing his predecessor’s decision to leave the World Health Organization in the midst of a global coronavirus pandemic.

His predecessor had opted out of the United Nation’s specialized health agency at the peak of the coronavirus crisis last year.

During his inauguration address, Biden plead for national unity as political, economic and health care crises grip their nation.

“We must end this uncivil war that pits red against blue, rural versus urban, conservative versus liberal,” he said. “We can do this if we open our souls instead of hardening our hearts.”

President Biden take over the power from Donal Trump following election in November.

The inauguration, social distancing was observed due to COVID-19 pandemic that has killed more than 400,000 people in the United States.

New York post reported that President Joe Biden will sign over a dozen executive actions in his first hours as commander-in-chief, immediately halting the travel ban on countries with heightened terror concerns, as well as construction of the border wall.

Former President Donald Trump departed Washington, DC earlier today a head of Biden inauguration ceremony.

According to US media, Trump then boarded Marine One with former first lady Melania Trump. A departure ceremony is being held at the base before they leave for Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s private club in Florida.

World leaders have welcomed the new administration of US President Joe Biden, marking an end to the presidency of Donald Trump, who had largely rejected multilateral cooperation on global issues.

DW (Deutsche Welle) website, the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen congratulated Biden, saying that Europe has a friend in Washington.

“This time-honored ceremony on the steps of the US Capitol will be a demonstration of the resilience of American democracy,” she said.

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said in a video statement that he was looking forward to tackling global issues with the US, describing Biden’s inauguration as a “good day for democracy.”

US Congress approved Biden’s win of November election

The US Congress has certified Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential election, hours after Trump supporters stormed the Capitol building on Wednesday night. Four people die in the capitol hill riot.

According to International media, Lawmakers resumed the session after police managed to remove the mob, which had been encouraged by President Trump in a bid to overturn his defeat.

The certification clears the way for Mr. Biden to be sworn in on 20 January.

In response, Mr. Trump finally pledged an “orderly transition” of power.

Democrat Joe Biden’s victory was confirmed in the early hours of Thursday by a joint session presided over by Vice-President Mike Pence, who said the violence had been a “dark day in the history of the United States Capitol”.

Wednesday’s chaotic scenes followed months of escalating rhetoric from Mr. Trump and some Republican allies that sought to undermine the result of the 3 November election.

The invasion of the Capitol by the president’s supporters – some armed – was an event without precedent in modern American history

Mr. Biden blasted the “insurrection” as Mr. Trump, while telling the mob to “go home”, and continued to make false claims of electoral fraud. The outgoing president’s Twitter and Facebook accounts were later frozen.

After objections by some Republican lawmakers to overturn the result in Arizona and Pennsylvania were rejected, Congress formally certified the final electoral college vote at about 03:30 local time, with Mr. Biden receiving 306 votes to Mr. Trump’s 232.

Shortly afterwards Mr. Trump said in a statement: “Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on January 20th.”

World leaders condemning pro-Trump supporters’ storming of the U.S. Capitol in a futile bid to stop members of Congress attempted from certifying the Electoral College ballots for President-elect Joe Biden.

According to the American Media, NPR, the UK ” Prime Minister Boris Johnson describe the situation as “Disgraceful scenes in U.S. Congress,”. “The United States stands for democracy around the world and it is now vital that there should be a peaceful and orderly transfer of power.”

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said, “Violence is incompatible with the exercise of democratic rights and freedoms.” He added, like many leaders, that he believes U.S. governing institutions are robust enough to withstand the assault.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas warned President Trump to accept the results of the U.S. election, saying, “Insurgent words turn into violent acts.” The spectacle transfixed people around the globe.