The office of the president says South Sudan is not in a position to conduct general elections in 2022 as earlier envisioned by the revitalized peace deal.
This is in response to calls by Dr. Peter Biar Ajak, political activist and former detainee, who sought refuge in the US in 2020.
During his testimony before the US senate committee on foreign relations two weeks ago, Peter Biar said the government is intentionally derailing the appointment of new elections commissioners, the conduct of the population census, and the updating of the voter registry for elections to be held on time.
He also accused the Kiir administration of being undemocratic through stifling free speech and political parties’ freedoms.
Biar called for individual sanctions on some leaders because he believes the reluctance to implement the peace deal is hindering important tasks in the agreement that would have been accomplished on time.
He identified the transitional justice process, economic reforms, reconstitution of the transitional legislature, the promulgation of a new constitution, the reunification of forces as crucial issues at stake.
Biar also termed President Kiir’s administration as lacking legitimacy from the electorates since the country last conducted elections in April 2010.
“Biar’s testimony is full of unsubstantiated allegations and baseless claims,” Kiir’s office says in a four-page response undersigned by the Minister of Presidential Affairs, Nhial Deng.
The government of South Sudan response to the testimony of Dr.Peter Biar Ajak at the recent US senate foreign relations committee hearing on the state of democracy in the world. #SouthSudan @SSOT_tweets pic.twitter.com/fmvtgIRkOh
— Eye Radio (@EyeRadioJuba) March 23, 2021
It states that Kiir would have sought reelection in 2015 if it were not for the conflict that engulfed the country in December 2013.
It further dismisses claims that democracy in the country is being stifled by the use of the national security apparatus.
The office of the president insisted that the current responsibility-sharing matrix in the revitalized transitional government is a testimony that democracy is in action.
It said Biar’s call for early elections in 2021 is without justification, citing that the inauguration of the current unity government took some time.
The state house argues that elections cannot be conducted without a permanent constitution and a population census.
It suggests that more time and adjusting the time-table is required to complete the major tasked identified by the revitalized peace agreement.
Three years have elapsed since the signing of the revitalized peace agreement.
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.
But the parliament is yet to be reconstituted.
The agreement also expects the permanent constitution to be enacted during the transitional period before a new National Elections Commission organizes the polls.
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