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Yakani urges parliament to pass electoral law this week

Yakani urges parliament to pass electoral law this week
Edmund Yakakani, executive director of the Community Empowerment for Progress (CEPO), addressing the forum on civic education on August 21, 2023 | Credit | Daniel Garang Deng/TRC

The executive director of the Community Empowerment for Progress, Edmund Yakani, has urged the national legislature to pass the electoral law this week to expedite and give guidance on civic education on electoral process.

On Monday, CEPO in partnership with Civil Society Facility in Juba, organized a one-day discussion on developing a zero strategy – a civic education framework that will guide civic and citizen engagement on electoral process.

“We held a one-day deliberation on civic education associated with the political transition milestone in the country. As we are aware that elections is coming, transitional justice is in front of us, but our main focus is to sensitize people around electoral law and electoral process and how do we engage in elections,” said Yakani.

“But also people have raised concerns; how are we discussing about civic education and electoral process while electoral law is not yet passed by the parliament”

The views and discussions around civic education prompted the civil society activists to call on the national parliament to expedite the review of the national elections bill 2012, and pass it to guide the activities associated with civic space and electoral activities such as campaigns and voters registration.

“That’s why we calling on the parliament that this week, let them pass electoral law because the electoral law inform the content of the civic education to deliver. Otherwise, if we discuss civic education without electoral law, we can’t really have a clear picture,” Yakani continued.

In April, the council of ministers passed the national elections Act 2012 (Amendment) bill  2023 and tabled it before the national legislature in June together with South Sudan Anti-Corruption Commission Act, 2009 (Amendment) Bill 2023, the National Revenue Authority Act, 2016 (Amendment) Bill 2023, and the Tourism Bill 2023 by the minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Reuben Madol. And since then, the parliament is yet to pass the bill.

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

The activist added: “Reconstitution of political parties council and national election commission is also very important in shaping the content of the civic education.”

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.