7th June 2023
Make a Donation

Dr Biar pushes for election-based political power

Author: Ayuen Panchol | Published: Thursday, December 9, 2021

A portrait of Dr Peter Biar | Credit | Courtesy

A former political prisoner based in the United States has asked the international community to ensure that South Sudan goes to the polls as planned.

This, Dr Peter Biar Ajak says, will legitimize the leadership of the country.

“While our first elections will be messy, they will provide an important reference point that the only legitimate and lasting means for accessing and exercising power is through the concern of the governed,” Dr Biar argues.

Since South Sudan gained independence from the Sudan in July 2011, the citizens are yet to exercise suffrage – the right to vote for a leader in elections.

Due to the civil war, which was triggered by power wrangles among the political leaders, plans and efforts to hold general elections have been fruitless.

However, the September 2018 revitalized peace agreement obligates the parties to organize elections so that the citizens will vote in their leaders of choice.

As of today, the Kiir administration uses decree to choose leaders, including members of parliament – both at national and state levels.

Recently, President Salva Kiir, who was not elected into power by the people, promised that elections would be conducted in 2023.

But some leaders, including first vice president Dr. Riek Machar and vice president Rebecca Nyandeng, expressed doubt, saying key provisions in the peace deal should be implemented first.

Generally, observers blame the delay in holding the first-ever elections on “lack of political will”, because some could lose power.

Speaking at the Summit for Democracy organized by the US government on Wednesday evening, Dr Biar – who spent two years in prison in Juba for advocating for democracy – explained why elections should be held.

“It [election] will back to the people of South Sudan the hard-fought urgency and right to shape their own destiny,” Biar continued.

“It’s time for…our neighbors, African Union, Troika and other partners to ensure South Sudanese finally exercise democracy through the conduct of internationally-supervised elections by 2023.”

The forum featured remarks from family members and advocates of those imprisoned for the peaceful exercise of their human rights and those imprisoned solely for their ethnicity or identity.

Dr Biar together with philanthropist late Kerbino Wol were pardoned by President Salva Kiir in January 2020 after spending several months in jail.

The court in Juba had charged Biar with incitement and disturbing the peace. He was sentenced to two years for violating section 48/80, 2, b of the panel code of 2008.

But Kiir ordered for their release in a New Year (2020) goodwill gesture. They were among 30 inmates released from prisons across the country.

The following month, he left Juba for Nairobi where he lived with his family until his departure to the US in July 2020.

Dr Biar is the founder and president of Revive South Sudan, a Washington DC-based organization that advocates for democracy in South Sudan.

Support Eye Radio, the first independent radio broadcaster of news, information & entertainment in South Sudan.

Make a monthly or a one off contribution.

error: Alert: Content is protected !!