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JUBA, JANUARY 25th 2023 (SUDANS POST) – South Sudan government has started preparations for the elections slated for end of transitional period in December 2024, and has asked the United Nations to accord an electoral assistance, according to a letter sent by the government to the UN via its mission in South Sudan.

The letter obtained by Sudans Post stressed that the unity government has an obligation to conduct elections at the end of the transitional period and as such the government is appealing for help from the world body to prepare for the polls.

“…. there is a need to begin planning and preparations for the elections, including establishing the legal framework, reconstitution of the National Elections Commission, working with political parties, civil society and the media raising public awareness and creating conditions for inclusive participation of citizens,” the letter signed by minister of cabinet affairs Martin Elia Lomoro reads in part.

“Acknowledging this, the Government of South Sudan hereby requests the United Nations to provide electoral assistance to the government and relevant national institutions in support to the preparations and conduct of peaceful, inclusive and credible elections in the Republic of South Sudan,” the letter dated January 24, 2023 added.

The Reconstituted Transitional Government of National Unity (R-TGONU) was formed in February 2020 under the terms of the revitalized peace agreement which was signed in September 2018 to end a five-year-old deadly conflict.

It is provided for in the deal that the government conducts free and fair elections at the end of a thirty-six-months transitional period ending next month. But the parties extended the transitional period for twenty-four more months with elections being scheduled for December 2024.

“The Government of South Sudan would be grateful if necessary steps could be immediately taken to work toward this goal through the provision of comprehensive electoral assistance to the upcoming electoral processes of South Sudan as envisioned within the R-ARCSS,” the government said in the letter.

According to the 2018 peace agreement, elections should be conducted when all provisions of the revitalized peace agreement are implemented by the transitional government.

These activities include but not limited to the deployment of the necessary unified forces, which is necessary in the protection of civilians and to also avoid another split within the army in case the result of the elections is contested by any of the parties, creation of necessary conditions for return of the displaced, and reparation and healing.

Also short-named NUF, the Necessary Unified Forces have been graduated in its first phase, but have not yet been armed and deployed. The government is claiming that it has no guns to arm them as it continues to blame a 2018 UN arms embargo for the country’s ability to import weapons for the army. - Sudans Post

 

KIGALI, Jan. 24 (Xinhua) -- Rwanda said a fighter jet from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) violated its airspace "for the third time" Tuesday afternoon and that "defensive measures were taken."

"Today at 5:03 pm, a Sukhoi-25 from the DR Congo violated Rwanda airspace for the third time," read a short statement issued by the Office of the Government Spokesperson. "Rwanda asks the DRC to stop this aggression."

The DRC has not yet responded to Kigali's latest allegation.

Rwanda's government statement Tuesday came shortly after videos and photos on social media showing a Sukhoi-25 being shot at as it flew low over Lake Kivu before landing at Goma airport near the border while still on fire. The fire was extinguished but the jet was badly damaged. The videos and photos have yet to be verified.

This is not the first time that Rwanda has accused DRC jets of violating its airspace.

On Nov. 8 last year, the Office of the Rwandan Government Spokesperson said in a statement that a DRC Sukhoi-25 fighter violated Rwandan airspace and briefly touched down at Rubavu Airport in its Western Province.

"No military action was taken by Rwanda in response, and the jet returned to DRC," the statement said at the time. "Rwandan authorities have protested this provocation to the DRC government, who acknowledged the incident."

Relations between the two neighboring countries have soured since fighting resumed between M23 rebels and DRC government troops in the DRC's eastern North Kivu Province.

The DRC accuses Rwanda of backing M23 rebels, but Rwanda denies the charge.

Rwanda has also accused the Congolese army of using heavy weaponry, targeting Rwanda's border zone in renewed fighting in eastern DRC. - Xinhua

 

WAKISO, Uganda, Jan. 20 (Xinhua) -- Uganda on Friday launched the third phase of an agriculture cooperation project with China and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.

Uganda, China and FAO have an agreement under the South-to-South Cooperation Program through which China sends agriculture experts and technicians to Uganda to share knowledge and skills with smallholder farmers to boost production and household incomes.

Ugandan Vice President Jessica Alupo, while launching the three-year project in Wakiso District in the Central Region, said the third phase seeks to ensure food and nutrition security, reduce multi-dimensional poverty and develop agriculture in the country.

Alupo said China has, over the years, been demonstrating genuine friendship through significant contributions to the country's transformation in various fields, urging farmers to make use of the Chinese experts for knowledge and skills transfer as well as increase investment in agro-production and processing as a catalyst for household transformation.

"Through agriculture, we shall be able to catalytically trigger the desired economic recovery and contribute to the sustained social economic transformation of our country," the vice president said.

Priya Gujadhur, deputy representative of FAO in Uganda, said phase three will reach over 10,000 small-scale farmers across the country. The first two phases, which were implemented from 2012 to 2014 and from 2016 to 2018, respectively, benefited over 10,000 small-scale farmers, Gujadhur said.

Chinese Ambassador to Uganda Zhang Lizhong said in the initial two phases, 47 Chinese experts and technicians have been deployed in Uganda over a two-year period and helped to improve technologies used to produce cereals and livestock reproduction.

Uganda government figures showed that in the first two phases, there was a four-fold increase in rice production per hectare; in other areas, daily milk production increased from two liters to seven liters per indigenous cow. There has also been the production of high-quality and low-cost fish feed techniques, improved technologies of foxtail millet, maize, grapes, apples and cherry tomatoes, and animal reproduction, including goats, pigs and sheep.

Peter Muyimbo, the coordinator of the third phase on the Ugandan side, said the third phase, which will focus on increasing agriculture production and household income, will build on the successes of the first two phases.

Figures from the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries showed that over 70 percent of the country's population derives its livelihood from agriculture. - Xinhua

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