28th October 2021
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Dr. Lam to J1: No single party can alter timeline of elections

Authors: Obaj Okuj | Okot Emmanuel | Published: Saturday, March 27, 2021

Dr. Lam Akol, leader of the National Democratic Movement, and a senior member of SSOA. PHOTO: Courtesy

A senior political leader has criticized the statement by the Office of the President in which it said elections in South Sudan will not be held next year.

Dr. Lam Akol, leader of the National Democratic Movement and a signatory to the 2018 revitalized peace agreement, said pronouncements that affect the spirit of the agreement are not taken unilaterally. 

“It is not the right of any party to decide what to do regarding provisions of the peace agreement,” he stated.

South Sudanese are supposed to go for polls in 2022.

But this week, the Minister of Presidential Affairs –in a statement – said the government is not prepared to organize any elections.

The State House, J1, said this is because the implementation of the peace deal has been slow and that a permanent constitution and a population census has not been conducted first.  

It suggested that more time and adjusting of the time-table will be required to reorganize institutions in-charge of democratic reforms.

“The actual inauguration of the RTGoNU following conclusion of the agreement in September 2018 took sometime. Hence the time lost must be recouped so that there is adequate time to complete all the tasks of the transition before elections are held,” the statement partly read.

Dr. Lam, however, dismissed the suggestion.

He reminded the President’s office that the Agreement was reached through the consensus of various political parties “so no single party can decide on what to do.”

The Revitalized Agreement may [only] be amended by the Parties, with at least two-thirds of the members of the Council of Ministers of the RTGoNU, and, at least two-thirds of the voting members of the Revitalised Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission consenting to the amendment, followed by ratification by the Transitional National Legislature, according to the constitutional amendment procedures set out in the TCRSS, 2011 (as amended).

But the parliament and the council of states are yet to be reconstituted.

The agreement says for elections to take place, the Political Parties Act, 2012 must be reviewed and approved by the parliament to enable free and democratic registration of Political Parties in South Sudan.

It also expects the permanent constitution to be enacted before a new National Elections Commission organizes the polls.

“The peace agreement has put the timelines for all the activities and all the issues that have been agreed by the parties, and all the timelines must be respected,” Dr. Lam told Eye Radio Friday from the Sudanese capital, Khartoum.

The peace deal mandates the Executive of the RTGoNU, in consultation with stakeholders, to reconstitute the Political Parties Council after the amendment of the Political Parties Act.

The senior member of the South Sudan Opposition Alliance believes J1’s decision was an indication of its lack of interest to genuinely implement the agreement to the latter.

“You know all along the government does not want to hold elections. This is clear from the delays they have been doing from the reunification of the army and creating a national army.”

Dr. Lam urged President Kiir’s administration to implement all the provisions of the revitalized peace agreement.

Three years have elapsed since the signing of the peace deal.

The National Elections Commission shall, 60 days prior to the end of the current Transitional Period, organize elections in accordance with the provisions of the Permanent Constitution, and shall ensure that the outcome is broadly reflective of the will of the people of South Sudan.

The reconstituted NEC, may, upon its formation, request the assistance of the United Nations and the African Union in the subsidiary electoral management bodies at the states level, including the procurement of electoral material, among others.

The NEC may also request additional technical assistance from any other regional or international partners, as it deems necessary.

But these steps have stalled. The parties are yet to complete most parts of Chapter one on governance, Chapter two on permanent security arrangements, Chapter three on special reconstruction programmes, Chapter four on economic reforms and even on the establishment of a proper justice system.

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