2024 election preparations lag behind – RJMEC

The peace monitoring body –Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (RJMEC) – says the preparations for  the 2024 general elections are still lagging behind after one year of the roadmap.

RJMEC Chairperson, Maj Gen. (Rtd) Charles Tai Gituai argues that many tasks critical for the conduct of free, fair and credible elections are not yet fulfilled in accordance with the roadmap implementation matrix.

“For national elections, the roadmap of the R-ARCSS, provides that elections are to be held in December 2024.For this to happen, legal, security and institutional frameworks for holding credible elections should be in place by now,” Gituai said during his quarterly presentation to the national parliament in Juba on Tuesday.

Besides uncompleted security arrangement, Gituai told the MPs the R-ARCSS is hitting five years this month and a year after the roadmap with several benchmarks and reforms unimplemented.

“These benchmarks include, among others, enactment of the National Elections Bill, and reconstitution and full operationalization of the National Elections Commission (NEC) and the Political Parties Council (PPC),” he stated.

Besides, the Political Parties’ Council yet to be reconstituted and the National Election Act, 2012 (amendment) Bill 2023 is still before the parliament and yet to be tabled for third reading.

Once the elections Bill is passed and assented into law, it will provide for the reconstitution of the National Elections Commission to start the process of the general elections, according to the September 2018 peace agreement.

“The Political Parties Council is a crucial institution for the registration of political parties and will, among others, help to protect political and civic space for citizens’ participation in all spheres of governance,” Gituai noted as he calls on parliament to speed up the enactment of all the outstanding bills.

Despite the political parties’ council, elections laws and elections commission not being in place to give political parties framework for elections preparation, the SPLM party have started major campaigns for the elections across the country.

However, RJMEC boss said the review indicates low progress in the implementation of the peace deal that will transition the country into a democratic dispensation.

“During the period under review, very little was accomplished with regard to improving the overall pace of implementation of the Revitalized Peace Agreement. Overall, tasks related to the permanent constitution-making and electoral processes have stalled, and critical benchmarks outlined in the Roadmap are yet to be implemented,” he added.

South Sudan is expected to hold its first ever general elections in December next year to establish a democratically elected government.

According to the 2022 Roadmap, the election will be conducted 60 days before the end of the transitional period. As of today, the country has less than 16 months to go to polls in December 22, 2023