24th July 2024
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Confusion surrounds South Sudan election date

Authors: Michael Daniel | Chany Ninrew | Published: Saturday, July 6, 2024

Professor Abednego Akok, the Chairperson of the National Elections Commission - Credit | Lou Nelson/Eye Radio | Feb. 17, 2022

The National Elections Commission announced December 22, 2024 as the date for elections, but the government spokesperson said the poll will be determined by the leadership based on the outcome of the Tumaini Initiative and a report on roadmap evaluation.

South Sudan is expected to hold its first-ever general elections as scheduled by parties to the revitalized peace agreement, after they extended the transitional period in August 2022.

The polls outcome would signal an end to the transitional period after the establishment of a democratically elected government.

A recent survey suggested that majority of the South Sudanese population favor the conduct of elections on time, although many expressed concerns about potential for violence.

NEC Chairperson Abednego Akok said in a press statement on Friday that the election date was announced in accordance with the National Election Commission Act 2012 Amendment Bill 2023.

Mr. Akok said his institution is mandated to determine and announce the date of elections at least 6 months before the polling day.

Meanwhile, Information Minister Michael Makuei said on the same day that the presidency will be the one to decide the fate of elections based on the outcome of the Tumaini Initiative and a report on the roadmap.

“The leadership is the one that will decide on elections on two counts. The leadership will decide on elections with the outcome of the report of the Tumaini Initiative,” Makuei told a reporter.

“The leadership will decide on election based on the outcome of the report of evaluation. And these reports will go to the presidency who are the one to determine the fate of elections.”

There have been growing doubts over the possibility of the conduct of elections due to pending tasks in the 2018 peace agreement.

These include the security arrangement, permanent constitution, registration of voters, political parties, and candidates, as well as the training of electoral officers and civic education.

Parties to the 2018 peace agreement are expected to submit a report on the deal status and the fate of the transitional period soon to President Salva Kiir, after which a presidency meeting will decide the way forward.

The High-level Standing Committee are currently reviewing the progress and challenges facing the peace implementation and preparations for the December elections.

The committee comprising representatives from the SPLM-IG, SPLM-IO, SSOA and other parties will recommend a way forward amid the uncertainty surrounding conclusion of the transitional period.

On June 29, eight Catholic bishops in South Sudan expressed disappointment over what they say is the government’s lack of preparation to hold free, fair, and credible elections in December.

In a five-page joint statement issued on Saturday, the religious leaders said the transitional government is yet to implement key elements for the conduct of the elections as stipulated in the 2018 peace accord.


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