By Ngor Deng Matem
SPLM chairperson, Salva Kiir Mayardit has marshaled energy for upcoming electoral race to retain the key to State House, commonly known as J1, come December 2024. He has accepted endorsement as the party flag bearer.
Kiir was unanimously endorsed by his party cadres in the Bahr El Ghazal region for the 2024 polls despite uncertainties clouding the conduct of the elections.
“I welcome the endorsement to run for Presidency in 2024,” he said while addressing his supporters at a rally in Wau, Western Bahr El Ghazal State.
“As I assure of the readiness to conduct the elections in 2024, the opposition parties in the agreement too, are ready and prepared for the elections,” Kiir confirmed.
“We are committed to implementing the Chapters in the Revitalized peace agreement as stated and the election will take place in 2024. We shall address the challenges before the elections,” he stressed.
The rally attracted mammoth crowds of SPLM members from the four states of Bahr El Ghazal region including the Abyei Administrative Area.
SPLM party secretary General, Peter Lam Buoth appealed to the state leaders to sensitize the communities about the missions and visions of the SPLM as people prepare for the upcoming election.
Though electoral commission which would openly declared campaigns is silent, the ruling SPLM and other parties have since last year started indirect vote hunting spree.
The SPLM takes the lead in what it dubbed the party renaissance that witnessed mass mobilizations across the country.
On the other hand, Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO) of Dr. Riek Machar, the main opposition challenger to the ruling party is not an exception. It recently launched state secretariats in different parts of the country.
The National Democratic Movement has also followed suit with opening of an office in Juba, but has not s taken to tricks of silent campaigns.
However, activists and analysts argue that the prospects and the atmosphere of conducting free and fair democratic elections are still unlikely.
However, a civil society organization, Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO) said it has increased its Domestic Elections Observation engagement at the preparatory electoral stage.
According to CEPO public political public statements by parties for readiness in participation in the expected forthcoming national general elections in December 2024, are pre-mature engagement.
“Required national constitutional mandated institutions for regulating the electoral process are not yet reconstituted,” the statement reads in part.
The mandated institutions include the political parties’ council, national elections commission, and national constitutional review commission.
Other prerequisites for the conduct of the election are a permanent constitution, conduct of a national population and housing census and repatriation of refugees back to their homes.
Mr. Edmund Yakani, the Executive Director of CEPO warned that campaigns which are not conducted in an official manner may likely trigger political friction among parties and potential candidates.
“It is essential that the political leadership of the country takes an urgent decision to fulfill requirements and establish the institution which regulates the electoral processes for legitimacy engagement” he urged.
In early January 2022, the head of the UN mission in South Sudan, Nicholas Haysom urged the unity government to start preparing a conducive political environment ahead of the forthcoming elections.
The unity wrote to the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), in January 2022 seeking support for conducting a free, fair and credible election at the end of the transitional period.
Much as many tasks that can lead to the conduct of free and fair elections are incomplete, it remains to be seen if the elections will take place. ￼