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Gov’t urged to expedite formation of electoral bodies

Gov’t urged to expedite formation of electoral bodies

The peace monitoring body is urging the unity government to expedite the reconstitution of the key institutions for the conduct of free, fair and credible elections next year.

The chairperson of the Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission, Maj. Gen. (rtd) Charles Tai Gituai said: “With 14 months left before elections, it is imperative for the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (RTGoNU) to provide to the people of South Sudan clarity on election preparedness.”

“The lack of sufficient progress and clarity on elections-preparedness, constitution-making, or unification of forces, each of which is a critical pre-condition for smooth and successful elections, is creating uncertainty,” Gituai said in his opening remarks on Thursday during the 32nd RJMEC monthly meeting.

The key institutions that the peace monitoring body ask the revitalized transitional government of national unity to expedite their formation include the Political Parties Council, the National Elections Commission and the National Constitutional Review Commission. It says these bodies are necessary for the conduct of credible elections comes December 22, 2024.

“The Parties and Stakeholders have all submitted the lists of their representatives to the National Constitutional Review Commission (NCRC) and the Preparatory Sub-Committee of the National Constitutional Conference. This move is expected to pave the way for the reconstitution of the NCRC, which continues to be way behind schedule. I appeal to the President to expeditiously appoint the nominated NCRC members and reconstitute the Commission to commence its critical mandate,” said Gituai.

The National Constitutional Review Commission is a body mandated to review and examine the constitution.

However, the government spokesperson Michael Makuei had earlier said that ‘Election will be held without Constitution.’

In September, the reconstituted Transitional National Legislative Assembly (TNLA) passed the National Elections Act 2012 (Amendment) Bill 2023 and assented to by the President.

“The enactment of this law [National Elections Act 2012 (Amendment] Bill 20230 is an important step in realizing the democratic aspirations of the people of South Sudan,” Gituai said.

“RJMEC urges the Parties to expedite the reconstitution of the National Elections Commission (NEC), [and the RTGoNU to resource it adequately, to enable it to undertake its tasks accordingly.”

Despite that, the peace monitor said a lot of work remains to be done to complete the critical pending tasks necessary to effect South Sudan’s democratic transition expected as soon as next year.

Gituai emphasized that in the process of reconstituting the institutions, parties should: “Ensure that women’s representation in the political process attains the minimum 35% threshold, including in the Constitution-making bodies and the other institutions and commissions being reconstituted.”

The body said parties to the Agreement should dialogue among themselves and agree on the practical steps to fast-track the implementation of the Roadmap to ensure the timely conduct of elections; and as elections approach, conduct civic education, fast-track the permanent constitution-making process and promote political and civic space to allow citizens to exercise their democratic rights.

South Sudan is expected to go for elections on December 22, 2024 but the principals to the revitalized peace agreement have the opposing views on the conduct of elections next year given that a number of the reforms provided for in the document are yet to be realized.