National DDR Programme Updates

By

William Deng Deng
Chairperson
National DDR Commission

Dear Friends, Supporters and Well Wishers: Warm greetings from the NDDRC and thank you for your readership!

I am pleased to inform you that the Government of the Republic of South Sudan has continued to further expound its comprehensive plan for the transformation of its national armed forces. A couple of initiatives are currently developing in parallel yet mutually reinforcing each other to achieve the desired security sector reform: The National Military Pension Fund (2005) and  The National Freedom Gratuity Fund.

The National Military Pension Fund (2005): The National Military Pension Fund Bill is almost finalized. Once the bill is enacted by Parliament, all the ranks and files of the armed forces will receive pension based on their contributions since January 9, 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). In other words, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), a guerrilla army, was recognized as a national armed forced and became salaried upon signing of the CPA. The pension fund will not be retroactive to the period before CPA when the SPLA was a voluntary (non-salaried) liberation military group.

The National Freedom Gratuity Fund: In recognizance of voluntary service and the sacrifices of its forces during the four decades of the armed liberation struggle, the Government of the Republic of South Sudan is proposing a National Freedom Gratuity. This fund is proposed to enable a golden hand-shake specifically for the army generals as they will not be ordinarily processed through the National DDR Programme.

In addition to the above-mentioned two initiatives, the National Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration Programme (NDDRP) is key in the transformation of National Organized Forces and Services. The National DDR Council (NDDRC), comprised of 22 cabinet ministers and chaired by the Vice President, has continued to redefine the National DDRP design. Its deliberations and subsequent direction to the national organized forces and National DDR Commission have aimed to ensure that (a) all the national organized forces are on board with the NDDRP plan (b) all the national line ministries mainstream DDR in their plans (c) the release of 150,000 members of armed forces makes the security sector leaner and is met with guaranteed and well organized employment opportunities for ex-combatants.

Towards this end, the National DDR Council has underscored the concept of ex-combatants’ business cooperatives on the supply side in response to the labour, skills and services demands of various macro-projects created and funded by national line ministries, donors and private sector. After demobilisation, ex-combatants will undergo reinsertion training in Transition Facilities for a period of three months. Besides psychosocial support, reinsertion training will ‘demilitarize’ the XC minds and impart knowledge and skills related to formation of cooperatives, entrepreneurship /basic business management and vocational skills based. The options of economic livelihood training offered will be based on regular studies of the labour/skills market and economic opportunities at state levels.  For example, the reinsertion training could include agriculture, building construction, metal welding and fabrication, catering, etc; based on market assessments.

Upon completion of the reinsertion training, ex-combatants will be organized into business cooperatives according to their chosen individual reintegration sector areas e.g. agricultural cooperatives, building construction cooperatives, marketing cooperatives, catering cooperatives etc. Meanwhile, national line ministries will formulate macro-projects targeting ex-combatant cooperatives, in line with their sector strategic objectives, and keep the National DDR Commission appraised of the employment opportunities. The NDDR Commission will also inform ex-combatants in transition facilities of employment opportunities, support their cooperatives to register and subsequently refer and link them to relevant line ministries to implement projects prepared for them. For example, the National DDR Commission will assist a newly formed ex-combatants farming cooperative to register and submit an application/tender to Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry to implement some of the Government’s agricultural projects; another ex-combatants’ cooperative will be assisted and linked to Ministry of Wildlife Conservation & Tourism to tender to protect the national park reserves as well as develop service enterprises for tourists.

In view of the NDDRP launch date set for 15th April 2013, the Vice President has directed national line ministries to propose reintegration projects for ex-combatants cooperatives, which projects will be funded by government and development partners. This information will be consolidated into a national reintegration matrix for ex-combatants.

I wish to clarify that the Republic of South Sudan’s concept of ex-combatants’ cooperatives is unique from other global concepts in that it is delinked from the military chain of command hence cannot be referred to as “brigades”. Besides, the cooperatives are self-constituted civilian enterprise units employed by national line ministries rather than the national organized forces. The cooperatives will be governed and regulated by the relevant national laws.

You are welcome to contact my office directly should you have any comments and questions on the above updates.