By Bida Elly David
First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar Teny has said his party is ready to compete in the upcoming general elections but demands the implementation of the pending provisions of the agreement.
The vice president, also the leader of SPLM-IO, showed position of his party during a meeting with United States Ambassador to South Sudan, Michael J. Adler, on Tuesday.
The meeting between the two, was aimed at discussing the progress of the revitalized peace agreement in regards to the coming elections.
In a statement on the First Vice President’s office, Machar requested all necessary pre-requisites to guarantee the election marathon.
Among the pre-requisites are the completion of Chapter 2 of the agreement, which involves the completion of the security arrangements and the repatriation of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) to their origins.
Furthermore, he underscored that conducting a census is another key task that ought to be considered to determine the boundaries of electoral constituencies.
“There is also a need for conducting a national census to delineate and determine the boundaries of electoral constituencies; establishing a permanent constitution; and, more importantly, the availability of funds for electoral activities,” the statement partly reads.
Machar stressed the need for the parties to agree on the middle echelon of the necessary unified forces to expedite the process of completing the deployment of the second batch (Phase II).
He assured the ambassador of his and the SPLM-IO commitment to fully implementing the agreement in both letter and spirit.
Meanwhile, Michael J. Adler, the US Ambassador to Juba, expressed his concerns about the slow pace of progress in completing the formation and deployment of the necessary unified forces to ensure a politically neutral security force.
“The US diplomat noted that the steps most necessary to the conduct of elections include opening civic space, neutral security forces, funding electoral processes, shunning violence as a tool of political competition, and committing to dialogue,” he stated.
Machar’s declaration of his party position on Tuesday, coincided with announcement by the chairperson of the Reconstituted Political Party Council, James Akol Zakayo for political parties to commence registration to compete in the general elections.
Last month, renewed political blame games arose between the ruling SPLM party and its main opponent, SPLM-IO. The ruling slammed the opposition accounts, accusing them of being a stumbling block to the elections.
In a flashback, the SPLM-IO acting director general for information and public relations, Puok Both Baluang, said they were not afraid of the elections, claiming that the ruling party failed to adhere to the agreement.