AUTHOR: Daniel Garang Deng | PUBLISHED: November 9, 2023
Edmund Yakani, executive director of Community empowerment for Progress | Credit | Daniel Garang Deng/TRC
A civil society representative has expressed disappointment in the recent reconstitution of the National Elections Commission, saying the president dishonored the 35% women representation provision.
Last week, President Salva Kiir reconstituted the National Elections Commission and appointed nine officials, all of whom are males. But the September 2018 peace agreement provides for a 35% quota for women’s participation at every level of the transitional government.
The appointees include SPLM’s Prof. Abednego Akok Kacuol, who retained his position as chairperson; Michael Yabagayo of South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA) was appointed NEC deputy chairperson; and Mac Maika Deng, a civil servant, was retained as the chief electoral officer.
“I would like to express concern and disappointment after witnessing the reconstitution of the national election commission by nine members,” says Edmund Yakani, executive director at the Community Empowerment for Progress Organization.
“There was no enforcement of 35% representation for women as agreed upon by the parties during the signing of the revitalized agreement.
“This is a total violation that we will never remain silent, and I would like to take this opportunity with due respect to appeal his excellency the president that there’s a need to reconsider representation of 35% among the 9 members.”
The activist underscores that prioritizing women representation is crucial given that the country is now a state party to Maputo Protocol and other international human rights treaties like the Convention on Political and Civil Rights, which advocate for women participation in public and political life.
“It is essential that his excellency president should revisit the reconstitution of the national election commission. At least we need to see 35% is being enforced and taken serious without any excuse and without any violation,” he continues.
Yakani argues that inclusion of females in the NEC leadership will secure the protection of women interest and political participation during the electoral process and appeals to the political parties to consider this observation.
“I would like to appeal to the parties that have contributed their members for the reconstitution of the national election commission to demonstrate their political commitment for participation of women in public and political life,” he adds.