By William Madouk
Just 15 months until the December 2024 general elections, President Salva Kiir is garnering more political support, not only from his SPLM party but also from other allies, as the national agenda political parties have vowed to rally behind his candidature.
Speaking to the No. 1 Citizen Daily Newspaper in an exclusive interview on Friday, Joseph Malek Arop, the chairperson of the United Sudan African Party (USAP), said they support the conduct of elections but endorse Kiir for the top seat.
“The USAP national agenda is supporting elections to be conducted at the end of this transition period, and we are supporting the president, Salva Kiir, to be president,” said Arop, who is also deputy minister of justice and constitutional affairs.
“Our decision as the United Sudan African Party (USAP) is that we will support President Kiir if he contests as president,” he added.
Mr. Joseph Malek Arop, deputy minister of Justice and constitutional affairs, interim Chair of USAP (Photo by William Madouk)
The South Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) has been active in grassroots political mobilization since last year. Mr. Arop added that they would only contest for other positions but not the top seat.
“My party will support General Salva Kiir to be elected president, without doubt, and also on behalf of our group, the National Agenda Group, headed by Dr. Martin Elia, our position is very clear on that,” he noted.
“We will contest in different areas; USAP will contest for governorship, commissionership, and in every corner of South Sudan. We will be ready to have members who are contesting,” he continued.
Mr. Arop, who deputized Martin Elia Lomuro, the chair of the National Agenda Group, a cluster of 12 parties, said there is a need for the deployment of unified forces and fast-truck legislation to pave the road for polls.
In February 2023, during the royal honoring of President Kiir organized by the Chollo Kingdom, the three traditional kings of the Chollo, Anyuak, and Azande kingdoms pledged to stand with President Kiir in the upcoming election.
His Majesty Kwongo Dak, the king of Chollo Kingdom, said he will rally support for Kiir in the anticipated 2024 general elections. President Kiir also received endorsements from the Anyuak and the Azande kings.
In August 2023, President Kiir said his government had reached “a critical phase in the consolidation of peace in our country” as he called on the peace partners to join hands and make the election a reality.
Kiir told the doubting Thomases of the highly anticipated December 2024 elections that the plan to have the exercise was not empty talk.
Lately, former minister of humanitarian affairs Peter Mayen announced his intention to vie for the countries to top post in the forthcoming 2024 polls. Other political parties are yet to declare their flag bearers.
But the main opposition party, SPLM-IO, under Dr. Riek Machar, voiced reservations about the conduct of elections, saying that the security situation, repatriation of refugees and returnees, including the census, must be addressed first to ensure credible democratic polls are held.