Peace deal valid beyond transitional period -SPLM-IO

The SPLM-IO says it will continue to propagate the full implementation of the 2018 revitalized peace agreement beyond the transitional period.

There are 8 months left before the current peace deal expires. General elections are supposed to be held 60 days before the transitional period comes to an end, as prescribed in the peace deal.

“The agreement remains valid and important yesterday, today even after 6 months,” asserted Oyet Nathaniel, SPLM-IO Deputy Chairperson and First Deputy Speaker of the Transitional National Legislature.

During the transitional period, the parties to the peace agreement are supposed to enact several reforms, including the permanent constitution, Electoral laws, Security sector reforms and the graduation of the unified forces, among others – all of which have not been completed.

But the National Constitution Amendment Committee – an important instrument of the revitalized peace deal – is yet to complete its task. The body is mandated by the peace deal to draft and complete the Constitutional Amendment Bill and incorporate it into the transitional constitution.

It is also assigned to review and complete amendments to relevant national security legislations to bring their provisions into conformity with the agreement. The NCAC is further expected to amend other legislations and incorporate any reforms relevant to the peace agreement – all of which have not been completed.

“I want to assure you that the peace agreement which was negotiated and internationally brokered, we shall not throw it away – as long as it is not being implemented in letter and spirit, we shall never throw away the agreement which was meant to transform this country,” Oyet insisted.

Last year, President Salva Kiir said the general elections will take place as planned in 2023. But the First Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar said elections can’t take place under current conditions.

In a statement last week, the Head of UNMISS Nicholas Haysom also quantified that for free, fair, credible, and peaceful elections to take place, the reforms envisioned in the 2018 peace deal must be met.

He encouraged the government to declare a road map with clear benchmarks, timelines and priority tasks towards the elections.

In his remarks during the registration of new party members on Saturday, Oyet Nathaniel suggested that the transitional period is open to extension to allow time for full implementation of all provisions of the agreement. He expresses fear over rushed elections.

“We don’t want an election which is not free, not fair…we want an election which is credible, which guarantees the rights of the people of South Sudan, an election where South Sudanese will have an opportunity to vote for their leaders of their choice not anybody choosing for them leaders.” Oyet emphasized.

Currently, South Sudan has more than 60 registered and unregistered political parties which Oyet believes have not been given space and freedom to exercise their rights.

Last month, the SPLM-IO parliamentarians at the National Transitional Legislative Assembly boycotted a sitting where the Political Parties Act was passed. The Presidency is set to meet over the matter.