News, Unity State

IDPs demand security reform before elections

By Yien Gattour


Internally displaced persons in the country threaten to boycott election due to lack of security reform as stipulated in the peace deal.

The IDPs criticize parties to peace agreement for failure of security reforms and demand that humanitarian needs, integration of IDPs and refugees, are prioritized.

Some individuals have rejected the primary talk of the election, saying implementation of the security arrangements could give hope for the elections.

James Gatdet Gatjuol, a member of the Youth forum, said the IDPs’ decision for the election boycott is lingering unless the government implements the security arrangements in the peace deal.

“The problems that will prevent people from going to the election and the security that needs to be provided now so that people can go to the election if there is no good security for the election,” he said.

Many citizens are in doubt if the country is ready for election given the pending benchmarks in the agreement.

Tom Ruai Bandeng expressed similar views, stating that it is good to hold elections at the end of the transitional period, but cautioning that the government should first resettle and reintegrate IDPs and refugees.

“I believe this election will not succeed, according to my point of view. The reason is because it has been prolonged. It looks like it will happen, but there is nothing showing that people will go for elections,” Ruai said.

Naui Lino Michael, a returnee from Sudan in Bentiu IDP camp, said “we the IDP camp residents have rejected the conduct of elections next year.”

She believes the government should first focus on security issues and the humanitarian needs of the IDPs.

“There are people dying, and they were told to go for the election. First, bring us food and good security so that we can vote. If not, there is somebody who will go to attend the elections without good security.”

“There is no one who can run for office while dying of hunger; it is not there.”

Meanwhile, Bentiu IDP camp resident, Nyaup Mut Riek disagreed with the election boycott; she believes the exercise will enable citizens to make wise choices to end conflict and move the country forward.

“We fear for the general election in 2024 because the security arrangements haven’t taken place since 2020. If the country is at peace, I agree with some people who want to vote, whether it is one or two people. I’m willing to vote so that I can return to my original place,” she insisted.

The roadmap for extending the transitional period requires the unity government to conduct elections by December 2024.

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