National, News

Elections scheduled for December-NEC

By Bida Elly David


The head of the South Sudan National Election Commission, Abednego Akok, has said the elections will take place in December as per the peace agreement.

“The peace agreement clearly states that elections will be conducted two months before the transitional period ends…. Therefore, elections will be held by December this year,” he said after being sworn in yesterday.

Akok however pointed out that conducting an election requires various processes that can’t occur without adequate funding, urging the government to avail resources.

He explained that the election process has three stages: civic education, voter registration, and voting.

“We have three stages in our election process, stage one is civic education, stage two is registration of voters and then stage three is to go for voting, if we are serious, the resources are to be brought by the government, Akok said.

He emphasized that the government has the responsibility to provide the necessary resources for the election process, stating that if the government is serious about conducting the elections, it must provide the funding.

While challenging the government to avoid over-dependence on external funding, Akok noted that the United Nation Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and other partners would support them later when they see that they are on the way.

Mr. Akok said their plan is to embark on educating the public about elections.

He noted that civic education would help the public understand what an election means, as well as help them understand the criteria and who is fit to vote.

The NEC Chairperson said that ten offices in all the states of South Sudan are responsible for conducting civic education, along with the stakeholders in the capital.

In addition to funding, Akok also highlighted logistics and insecurity as elements that the government should address to ease their work.

He cited security as one of the challenges that the government must tackle carefully to ensure that all routes are passable.

“One of the challenges is security issues which the government must tackle very carefully to see to it that all routes are passable,” he said.

Meanwhile, Gabriel Gatluak, the deputy chairperson of the commission, warned political actors against intervention in their affairs, stating that they are an independent body.

He highlighted that the commission has to be independent to meet the aspirations of the people of South Sudan.

Gatluak also urged the newly appointed members of the commission to desist from any political affiliation, despite emerging from different parties.

“We have been nominated through the parties and by the parties but we don’t represent them, we are here to work for the people of South Sudan through the constitution, election act and the regulation,” Gatluak said

For her part, Tabu Abucha Ajang, a member of the commission, urged new members of the commission to maintain discipline as a key pillar for national service.

She stated that political differences within the commission are paramount to pushing the country towards democratic elections.

Edmund Yakani, the Executive Director of the Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO), called on the government to take civic and political space seriously.

He highlighted the need to have respect for civic and political space to enable citizens to participate effectively in the elections.

Yakani cautioned the chairperson against annexing the commission to political activities, stating that it would interrupt their freedom of independent operation.

“We need to have respect for civic and political space for access to exercise their civic responsibility in mobilizing the citizens to participate effectively in the elections,” he said.

He emphasized that the commission should not associate with the ruling party to avoid adopting their political behavior.

“As they have taken Orth, from today let them distance themselves from any political affiliation, they shall have the identity of being impartial and independent,” he said.

Yakani added that the commission should push for the conduct of a census before the elections are held in December this year.

Last year, the same chairperson of the NEC had also stressed the need for the country to conduct a census before the elections.

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