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SPLM rules out ‘five tasks’ to block elections

By Mamer Abraham

Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) has outlined tasks that it believes will not impede the conduct of elections, even if not implemented promptly.

With only 15 months remaining until the conduct of elections, there are a number of tasks in the roadmap that have not been fully implemented.

The Political Parties Council, the body responsible for the registration of political parties has not been reconstituted. The revitalized government is yet to establish institutions responsible for the making of the permanent constitution.

No unified forces have been deployed to provide security and none of the transitional justice mechanisms are in place.

The constitution-making process is delayed despite the enactment of its legislation over eight months ago. Even no arrangements have been made for the expatriation of refugees.

But Peter Lam Both, the SPLM Secretary General, stated on Wednesday that the prerequisite of the return of refugees was voluntary and should not be a condition to withhold elections.

“Can you imagine if we waited, during the conduct of the referendum, for South Sudanese to come back to South Sudan from all over the world in order for us to have a referendum? We would have waited until thy kingdom came,” he stated.

The second task, according to Both, was the Political Parties Act, which he said could not lead to the postponement of elections because it was already assented to as a law by the president and that the Political Parties Council was just an event that could be accomplished within a week.

The SPLM S.G. assured the SPLM Cadres that the elections bill was already in its third reading in the parliament and would soon be passed and subsequently assented to by the president.

On the reconstitution of the National Elections Commission, he said it would be ready in the shortest time possible when the elections bill is assented to.

Mr. Both considered the census a prerequisite that would not also stop elections, arguing that the 2010 census with the old constituencies could still be used.

“I don’t believe a census is a condition for an election because we already have 2010 constituencies to conduct a successful election in 2024,” he said.

He reiterated that the permanent constitution was not a condition for an election but could still be completed by the newly installed leadership and the parliament after the end of the transitional period in 2025.

“We don’t need a permanent constitution in order to conduct an election. We have a South Sudanese transitional Constitution. The permanent constitution-making process will be concluded by the elected government with an elected assembly,” Mr. Both asserted.

The SPLM S.G warned political parties against spreading messages of no elections, saying a political party could not stop or suspend an election but had a legal right to only boycott an election.

“And any political party has the legal right to boycott an election, but they have no right to stop and suspend an election,” he noted.

He confided that the party was committed to implementing all the outstanding prerequisites for the elections in the next two to three months.

“We believe in the SPLM that in the next 2 to 3 months, we will fully implement the prerequisites for the conduct of elections.”

Opposing view

Dr. Riek Machar Teny’s SPLM-IO released a statement on September 11, 2023, detailing all pending tasks for the first year of the roadmap, but not necessarily indicating completed tasks.

They called upon the parties to the agreement, guarantors, and partners to fast-track implementation of the agreement in letter and spirit to open the way for elections.

However, Galdino Ochama Ojok, the secretary-general and executive director of the South Sudanese Network for Democracy and Elections (SSuNDE), stated that another extension of the transitional period was not acceptable after the current roadmap elapses.

He concurred with the idea that the old constituencies should be used for an election to take place.

“The least we can settle for is for the elections to be conducted. Let them pass the election act and then reconstitute the national election commission, and then let elections be conducted,” he continued.

“We had old constituencies that were there during the 2010 elections. The same constituencies can be used as geographical areas for representation. The census and new constitution can be done under the new system that is to come.”

But in an interview on X (the former Twitter), last month, Puok Both Baluang, the acting press secretary in the office of the First Vice President, stated that SPLM-IO would not partake in elections should the prerequisites not be met.


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