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R-JMEC tells parties to prioritize electoral institutions

By William Madouk

Parties to revitalized peace deal are urged to speed up reconstitute and operationalize political parties Council (PPC) and national elections commission (NEC) ahead of the 2024 general polls.

Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (RJMEC), Interim Chairperson, Charles Tai Gituai said that the benchmarks must be met in order to conduct free, fair and creditable elections.

“The institutions tasked with the preparation and conduct of elections, namely the political parties’ council and the National Election Commission should be reconstituted and operationalized,” Gituai said.

He was addressing the 30th RJMEC’s plenary meeting in Juba.

Gituai also called for judicial reforms to enhance the capacity and impartiality of judicial institutions to deal with election-related disputes, as well as the deployment of unified forces to provide security.

Gituai called for enactment of a permanent constitution to states under which elections shall be conducted, adding that there is also a need to improve political and civic space.

“In view of this aforementioned, it is important to underscore the need to deliberately hasten the pace of implementation of the agreement,” he added.

Mr. Gituai recommended the government of national unity to provide adequate and predictable funding for implementation of all critical pending tasks of the revitalized peace deal.

“Continue to consult and dialogue in the spirit of the collegial collaboration and consensus to address emerging issues during the implementation of the agreement,” he continued.

The transitional period was scheduled to elapse in February 2023 but was pushed forward to December 2024.

Mr. Nicholas Haysom, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General and Head of UNMISS, doubted conduct of free and credible elections in the country.

He urged the parliament to come up with proper legislation.

Haysom said South Sudan could make significant strides towards December 2024 target with political will, adequate resourcing, and a commitment to create an appropriate political environment.

“In this regard, I echo the call made by IGAD last month urging the national legislature to expedite the reconstitution of the National Elections Commission and the Political Parties Council,” he added.

Meanwhile, Cabinet Affairs ministers, Martin Elia Lomuro, said that parties allotted themselves 17 commissions but are yet to finalize the list before establishing the institutions ahead of 2024 elections.

“We have received the nominees from OPP, SSOA for National Constitutional Review Commission while ITGoNU and SPLM-IO are yet to present theirs,” Lomuro said.

He also cited that the formation of non-partisan body – the NEC and PPC is in pipeline, adding that next week they would conduct a joint meeting with stakeholders to decide on it.

“I can assure you that early next week we will hold a meeting with parties including the stakeholders in order to nominate their representatives to political parties’ council,” he added.

Mr. Lomuro revealed that they have received draft budget for the operationalization of NEC and PPC.

In terms of criticality in elections process, the three important commissions are National Constitutional Review Commission, National Electoral Commission and Political Parties Council.



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