By Taban Henry
The Minister of Information, and the government’s official spokesperson, Michael Makuei Lueth said the holdout groups will not be obstacles to the anticipated 2023 elections except parties’ signatory to the peace agreement.
Addressing journalists after the Regular Council of Minister’s Meeting No.9/2022 on Friday, Minister Michael Makuei Lueth stressed that the holdout groups cannot threaten the election process saying the only problem rests on the parties that are signatory to the peace agreement.
“The holdout groups are not a problem but the problem is us the signatory to the agreement, if we agree that we will hold elections we will do it. What will the other holdout groups do?” Makuei lamented.
The government’s spokesperson however revealed that the SPLM party position is straight forward for elections while citing that the other parties’ positions are not clear and that is what they are waiting for the other parties to declare their positions.
“This is not in our competence but the competence of the parties’ signatory to the agreement and it was even raised in the R-JMEC and it was agreed that the parties to the agreement. It is the principles to the peace agreement are the one to come up with the final report for the decision on the issue of elections,” Makuei noted.
Meanwhile, the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres’ has urged South Sudan Parties to the Revitalized Peace Agreement to research consensus on the timetable to hold the elections in order to avoid unilateral actions that might undermine the conduct of credible elections at the end of the transitional period.
“The parties should decide on electoral timetable and avoid unilateral actions that may undermine the environment for elections. Noting the difficult terrain of South Sudan, the dearth of infrastructure…” Guterres stressed in an excerpt of his report submitted to the UN Security Council members States.
The UN Chief called upon the parties to immediately engage in a broad-based discussion and agree as soon as possible on a clear roadmap for the end of the transitional period.
The clock is ticking down toward the end of transitional period with only about 8 months left for the transitional period to elapse, while the atmosphere looks uncertain for the conduct of timely free and fair democratic elections as many tasks necessary for the elections conduct are yet to be completed.
Meanwhile the ruling SPLM-IG have often reiterated its position in support of holding the general presidential polls on time but the SPLM-IO has been to the contrary opinion citing many outstanding tasks in the implementation of the Revitalized peace Agreement.