National, News

All parties hold key to elections-SPLM-IO

By Mamer Abraham

Main opposition party, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO) has reaffirmed that it will not take part in the elections if the prerequisites for polls are not met

The party’s Deputy Chairman Nathaniel Oyet Pierino on Monday doubts that without the implementation of all the tasks of the agreement, elections could not be free and fair.

“Should elections not go as planned, should elections not be free and fair in this country, then the culprits will be known. If they decide to proceed, we will not hesitate to knock on the doors of guarantors and RJMEC to ensure that the agreement is implemented smoothly and that its spirit and text are intact,” Oyet told the press at the party’s secretariat.

He argued that elections could not be conducted without the completion of the tasks enshrined in the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS).

“The tasks that we have highlighted are in agreement. The national election is in agreement. We expect the permanent constitution to be in place. The census to be in place, the repatriation, and the resettlement of IDPs. The reforms: the security arrangements to be done,” he explained.

“How can you hold elections without security arrangements? Without a census, how will you know the figures? How will you define the boundaries? The election will not proceed under normal terms,” Oyet argued.

He warned against any unilateral decision, saying all the parties to the agreement must have a say in order for the elections to take place.

Mr. Oyet stated plainly that any disagreement among the parties to the agreement would mean that the elections would not take place.

“And moreover, the government is a government of national unity; it is a government of the peace agreement. Should the parties disagree on the conduct of elections, we will not have elections,” he said.

“The parties must agree on how to conduct elections for you to have an election in this country. There is no unilateral decision by any party that will hold elections in this country.”

Mr. Oyet was responding to SPLM Secretary General Peter Lam Both’s remarks from last week, stating that certain tasks were merely events and could be quickly completed.

Mr. Lam said the pending tasks would be implemented within two to three months, mentioning that some tasks like the census, permanent constitution, and repatriation had alternatives.

The SPLM Secretary General said the constitution would be completed by the newly elected government and parliament, constituencies of 2010 would be used, and refugees should vote in the diaspora.

He noted that the return of refugees was voluntary, and they should not be forced to return, and it should not be waited for because that would mean waiting forever.

“The return of refugees is a voluntary decision of a refugee to come to the country of origin. It cannot be made a condition for an election,” he stated.

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

Last week, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) Nicolas Haysom said the current political atmosphere in the country favors one party.

Mr. Haysom noted that there is a need for the establishment of the Political Parties Council to ensure equal opportunities, access and rights for all political parties to mobilize support in some states.

He cautioned that unilateralism and brinkmanship are toxic to the practice of post-conflict unity coalition governance, which requires compromise, mutual trust, and confidence building.

Comments are closed.