As South Sudan prepares for general elections towards the end of the transitional period in 2024, youth at the community level are already exercising their democratic rights to elect their leaders through fair and transparent process.
On Sunday June 18, more than two thousand young people from Jonglei State’s Twic East community voted to elect their youth leader – after weeks of grueling campaigns.
Each of the five payams of Twich East had selected and registered about 500 voters The voters were selected from 500 registered electorates from each payam of the five params of Twic East County.
The payams where electorates come from are Nyuak, Pakeer, Lith, Kongor, and Ajuong.
Arok Dut Arok was elected as the youth leader after earning over 800 votes – defeating three other candidates in the tight polls.
Professor Abednego Akok, the Chairperson of the South Sudan Election Commission witnessed the elections.
In his remarks, Abednego applauded the youth for conducting a free and fair elections, and organizing the association for the members of the community.
He encouraged other communities to organize such associations for their members to exercise their democratic rights, in what he also sees as a way to familiarize themselves with democracy ahead of the country’s elections.
“The community should organize herself in the sense that a body should be formed to look after their affairs,” Prof Abednego said.
“This is the beginning of democracy, this is the beginning of learning.”
Meanwhile, the Chairperson of the Independent Electoral Committee Dhieu Chol Arok said during the campaigns that Twic East community has shown democracy at its highest.
“Democracy is about creating a space and platform where all members can exercise their fundamental rights,” Chol said. “Democracy is about recognizing differences in opinions.”
“Democracy is about respecting the system and regulations put in place to protect the rights of the members,” he said.
“Democracy is about embracing the outcome of the elections as the will of the majority. Throughout this electoral process, Twic East Community has shown democracy at the highest level.”
The election campaign gave the contestants a chance to present their manifestos and their intended agenda to serve the youth.
The four candidates who stood from different parties are Arok Dut Arok, the flag bearer of Twic East Youth Solidarity Alliance (TEYSA), Deng William Kwir, flag bearer of Twic East Forward (TEF), Abraham Dut Atem the flag bearer of Twic East Alliance for Development (TEAD) and Isaac Khot Dut, the flag bearer of Twic East Angaar.
Prior to the elections, the candidates presented manifestos that equally explored the the welfare of Twic East youth in Juba and elsewhere.
Their main agenda included opening a vocational school for the youth, building a primary and secondary school for the members of the Twic East Community, providing scholarship opportunities, holding annual sports tournaments, and renovating schools in Twic East County.
Other objectives are also to provide security to its community, create health awareness programs, youth and women empowerment through entrepreneurial activities, and develop programs for disabled members of the community among others.
The association aims at innovating and investing in education, peaceful cohesion, and unity of purpose as the leading youth in social activities.
Dignities from the national government, county government, and other prominent leaders were present during the two days event of campaign and elections.
In attendance was the chairperson of the National Election Commission, Prof. Abednego Akok, the Deputy Mayor of Juba Thiik Thik Mayardit, and Dr Majak De Agoot among other prominent people.
The association conducts its elections after every two years to elect a new youth leader.
Members of the community including women are engaged in the two months of preparations ahead of any given election.
The association was formed in 2008 to foster and look into the welfare of the youth in the community.
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