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Security reforms necessary for elections- Dr. Machar

By Bida Elly David

Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO) leader has reiterated that implementation of security arrangements is a prerequisite for the conduct of elections.

The country is to conduct its first election at the end of the transition period in 2024, but much of the necessary tasks that would usher a credible exercise, remain unfinished.

Though, Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) has maintained that the elections will take as planned, the opposition parties have expressed reservation, citing a lack of implementation of major tasks of the agreement.

Speaking at an event to mark the International Day of Peace, First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar said political and inter-communal violence which would have been resolved through the deployment of the forces, is on the rise.

He said this has created an unfriendly environment for elections.

“Violence is still around with us. Most of the violence now is communal because of the widespread of guns in the hands of the civilians,” Machar said.

The SPLM-IO leader said the lack of security arrangements among ethnic communities has led to the availability of arms in the arms of civilians.

“We need the arms to be taken away from them for us to form the unified force because we cannot go for elections with somebody holding a gun on your head,” Machar said.

Dr. Machar emphasized the need for unifying military forces to become national forces without individual loyalty, urging for resources to be provided for this process.

“The death rate in the Countryside due to this proliferation of arms is very big. With the deployment of the new troops, they will hand over the weapons they have.”

He further stated that most South Sudanese are hiding in IDPs camps and in the neighboring countries due to fear, citing refugees are currently stranded in Gambella.

“We must make the environment conducive to our population because we do not want post-election violence again,” VP said.

In addition, Dr. Machar said there is need for faster implementation of the agreement and increased spending on security arrangements and reforms to ensure elections take place.

“It will need us to step up so that we have a reference to base our elections since we have committed ourselves in the basic document which is the agreement that elections will be held based on a permanent constitution,” he said.

However, Martin Elia Lomuro, the minister of Cabinet Affairs said South Sudan is not the only country faced with challenges.

“If you look at the political conflicts in the region all have factors that caused war, violence, citizen deprivation from key services. The same applies to West Africans with Coups,” he said.

He criticized the argument that South Sudan has not attained peace, noting that the young nation is peaceful.

Elia said finances are stumbling blocks to quickly implement the road map, particularly the security arrangement.

“People say institutions are not formed, the road map has two strategies, one is that dates for matrixes in the table are met if finances are available. Another is key provisions or redlines provisions that take the Country for elections,” he said.

Martin noted that going for elections is not guaranteed by implementing all the provisions saying that other key provisions can make it proceed if looked after.

“We have vital peace which we obtained through a difficult agreement. we all have to give consensus in for us to have it and now we are working through it as partners,” Elia said.

Meanwhile, Federal Affairs Minister, Losuba Ludoru Wongo, who represented the Minister of Peace Building, said the Global Peace Day in South Sudan marks a day of forgiveness and unity.

“If we define peace as freedom from disturbance then we must work for it. It should start from our hearts and if it starts from there, it flows to our families, society then the world,” he said.

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