President Salva Kiir has assured the public in Northern Bahr el Ghazal that he is prepared for 2024 general elections and will not extend the transitional period again after the 24 months of the roadmap.
Kiir arrived in Aweil on Tuesday to hold a public rally at the state freedom square in anticipation of the general election.
“My government will go for general elections after transitional period and no more extension of transitional government” Kiir told the gathering.
President Kiir also made the similar assurance last week in Wau, Western Bahr el Ghazal State, where he promised fair and free elections.
South Sudan should have gone to polls in February 2023, in accordance with the 2018 peace deal. an exercise a slow implementation of key provisions made impossible.
In August 2022, the parties to the revitalized peace agreement extended the deal for 24 more months to allow the parties to implement the remaining provisions.
“I accepted the extension of the transitional period by for months to give the political parties ample time to prepare for general elections. We want to bring an end to transitional governments,” Kiir continued..
After the extension, the government developed a roadmap to provide time-bound guidance on the implementation of outstanding provisions that are critical to the conduct of peaceful and democratic elections at the end of the transitional period.
The remaining tasks crucial for the conduct of election include the permanent constitution, reconstitution of electoral bodies and political parties council and the completion of security arrangements such as the deployment of forces and training of the phase two of the unified forces.
South Sudan has never held an election since the country gained independence in July 2011 and lacks the institutions and capacity for such an undertaking.
Despite optimism from government operatives, it faces challenges in holding credible and peaceful elections and may need external support in areas such as election administration, security, voter education and outreach, and dispute resolution.