By Dokada William Dobo
Some citizens have expressed mixed reactions over the proposed conduct of the 2023 elections schedule as spelled out in the September 2018 Revitalized peace agreement at the end of the transitional period.
The implementation of the Revitalized Peace Agreement has been moving in a snail pace with some critical provisions of the 2018 peace pact either partially implemented or completely untouched with barely less than 12 months to the end of the transitional period.
This has made the atmosphere look uncertain for the conduct of credible, free and fair elections as more still remain to be done in preparation of the scheduled elections especially the graduation of the unified forces, conduct of national census, the amendment of the national constitution, the Election Act, the Political Parties Act among other important reforms.
Meanwhile as the clock keeps ticking towards the end of the transitional period the parties to the 2018 Revitalized Peace Agreement have started having divergent views on the conduct of the 2023 elections.
The Incumbent TGoNU said elections will be conducted in 2023 while the SPLM-IO defer on the matter saying credible elections aren’t possible by 2013 given the various pending tasks yet to be put in place before the conduct of free and fair democratic elections.
Meanwhile, weighing their views on the election, some members of the public in Juba who spoke to No.1 Citizen Daily Newspaper expressed their parallel opinions.
Lo Ladu Stephen in his submission told this reporter that as a citizen of this Country he wants the election to be done for a number of reasons.
He said conducting elections will inform the South Sudanese citizens, IDPs, or refugees who are in the diaspora that the country is now getting stable and better as the citizens vote for the leader of their own choice through the power of the ballot.
“The election period it will promote peace and reconciliations because people are not voting through tribal line or ethnic choice but through party which is a sign of unity and also it will allow citizens to build trust and confidence that the nation is back to its track of progress,” Stephen said.
“It will also inform the citizens that the country is democratic that election has more promises which when it is implemented may contribute to nation building” he added.
Stephen lamented that elections promote patriotism which is one’s own feelings of the love to his or her own country saying it also clears all doubts of those who think South Sudan will never be peaceful. He remarked that election has to be done to see errors in the country.
Stephen advised the South Sudanese in diaspora to avoid propagating fake information that the country is still under war but rather promote bilateral relation in those countries to attract more investors that will contribute to the development of the country.
Another citizen Charles Agumo, a teacher from Lo-Wani primary school in Juba said, election is a vital tool that the citizens must consider because through elections the right person is identified.
He argued that though census is yet to be conducted, it is still too early and possible to hold the census since there are more than ten months ahead before the elapse of the transitional period saying it’s an obligation for all of them to ensure census is held.
“The next thing that will lead to the success of the election is census because conducting census will avoid thieves that will break in and have a lot of claims” said Agumo.
He appealed to those brothers and sisters who are still in the bush to come back home and participate fully in the election that will show the quality of a good citizen saying election is the only way of restoring peace in the Country.
Agumo also called on his brothers and sisters who are still in diaspora to return home and participate in the election in order to choose the leaders of their own choice.
Meanwhile, Jokudu Amule, another citizen disagreed that the said upcoming election at the end of the transitional; period in 2023 will not happen as earlier planned in the matrix of the implementation of peace deal.
“Absolutely election will not be done because when you look into the peace arrangement things are not yet in place, secondly the integration of the unified forces of South Sudan are not yet done” Jokudu argued.
She added that “some of our citizens are still in the camps and those ones in America, Canada, Australia and the rest of the World are still not here, so how do you expect the election to be in place?”
She however said elections will only happen when the stakeholders work hard to make sure that things are in place saying the other challenging thing is the issue of insecurity in the country because currently there is no freedom of movement.
“For instances if you want to travel from Juba here to other States is so challenging because on the road there a lot of ambushes and killing of the innocent ones, making the civilians to have fear of losing their lives,”Jokudu lamented.
Eliaba Adungu, another member of the public who spoke to this reporter in his submission on the matter doubted the possibility that the elections will be held in 2023.
“The issue of election is like something which is still in bracket, first of all the total peace in the country is not yet complete in addition to that our people are still in the refugee camps and others who are hosted in other areas of South Sudan have not yet gone back to their locations so how do you expect fair election to happen” Eliaba questioned.
“Election will only happen when the integration of unified army is made because if you see across the Country war is everywhere and gun shot is rampant in the country it may only be good when the government happen to silence all the guns and massive disarmament is made to all the civilians, then election will happen” he said.
Rita Augustino Magu also said election will only happen if the government doubles its efforts with an intervention from the International Community in order to push for the full implementation of this peace provisions then 2023 election will take place.
Rita said her fellow brothers and sisters who are in the other parts of the world should come back to their country South Sudan but that could be possible only when they see that, the implementation of peace process is okay.