By William Madouk
Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), and Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition, emerge forerunner political parties in the country, according to a perception survey report.
The 3-year survey dubbed “Elections and Perceptions of Peace in South Sudan”, however puts SPLM in the lead as a party with the best vision for South Sudan.
Conducted by DETRO, Peace and conflict Resolution Evidence Platform, in more than 13 counties across the country, the survey found that over 13 thousand respondents preferred the SPLM as the party with the finest vision.
According to the report, 45% respondents say SPLM has best vision, while 17% say SPLM-IO, 10% other opposition groups, 17% none of the above and 12% did not answer.
The report also found out that 79 percent of the communities favor the conduct of population censuses for fair and credible elections.
Meanwhile, 52 percent suggested that a permanent constitution should be done before a newly elected government.
Based on the report, a vast majority across different locations feel prepared to vote, about 90 percent, asserting that the respondents revealed that they would vote for political leaders who are not from their ethnic group.
“A majority of respondents across locations felt prepared to vote (90%). See voting as an individual choice (84%) (Though 38% of these also say everyone in their community should vote the same way),” the report noted
On preference of candidates for lections, 71 percent noted that they would vote for a political leader from another ethnic group.
The findings also show that fears of risk of violence in relation to the elections is somehow high.
According to the data, 32% said it was somewhat high, 28% very high, 23% slightly low, 13% very low, and 4% did not respond.
Furthermore, 61% of respondents wanted timely conduct of the election in December 2024, 17% in December 2025, 10% in the next 3–5 years, 3% in the next 5–2 years, and lastly, 7% did not answer.
“People appreciate the risk of election violence but still want elections to proceed as planned. Sustaining public confidence is key.
According to the survey, civic space is a major concern, but subnational context matters. Invest in expanding space where it exists and creating it where it doesn’t.
“SPLM appears to be the frontrunner at the national level, but there is more space at the state and local levels. Political diversity can come from the ground up if people are allowed to contest fairly,” the report lamented.
The report comes ahead of the anticipated general elections due in the next 10 months, when South Sudan’s major political parties are busy registering members and conduct rallies in preparation for the polls.
SPLM and SPLM-IO seem to have taken lead positions in the perception survey due to their visibility at both the national and state levels.
Recently, SPLM-IO’s acting press secretary, Puok Both Baluang ruled out existence of any other legal political party in the country. He describes SPLM and SPLM-IO, as constitutional parties that operate based on signed agreement.
“What parties? As we speak there are no legal political parties in South Sudan, hence, they are not registered,’’ he said.
Other interested individuals and groups are yet to registered with the recent constituted Political Parties’ Council, which has already announced opening of the exercise, for them to get ticket for their activities.
Meanwhile, SPLM, has by far embarked on what seems to be an ‘early campaign’ and grand endorsement of President Salva Kiir in Greater Bahr El Ghazal, with Upper Nile and Equatoria to follow suit.
Though, Paulino Lokudu Obede, the leader of the United South Sudan Party (USSP) welcomed the announcement, he calls on the Political Parties’ Council expedite the registration.
“We welcome this move, so that it will allow the parties to conform to the status of the new political parties’ Act,” Lokudu told No. 1 Citizen Daily Newspaper.
Mr. Lokudu appeals to the government to fund the council and establish state branches to level the ground for party activities.
“We are only waiting for the political parties to fully establish their offices at the level of the state so that we don’t only deal with the political parties’ council at the level of Juba alone,” he added.
The USSP leader stated that they did not do any political campaigns in the state due to a lack of much-needed political and civic space for citizens to exercise their freedoms.
He noted that presence of PPC at states will enable political parties to carry out activities in the state and administrative areas after they have registered,” Lokudu emphasized.
“Sometimes people are asking us; in some of the counties, we don’t do our activities because the environments of the counties are very hostile; in some counties, the environments are very hostile to political activities,” he lamented.
Lokudu said that USSP would like to see the unification and deployment of unified forces to offer security, including the repatriation and resettlement of refugees and internally displaced persons.
“We don’t want to go to elections in an atmosphere where there are so many commanding chiefs, so many movements, and so many soldiers and different commands. We need the unification of these forces,’ he stressed.
Lokudu also called on the people of South Sudan to be very conscious and follow political engagement so that they would not be cuckolded. He said citizens must take charge of the country’s affairs and elect a leader of their choice.
Two days ago, the Chairperson of the Political Parties Council, James Akol Zakayo, said registration is now open for aspiring political parties who want to compete in the forthcoming general elections.
According to Zakayo, members of the political parties’ council will visit states and administrative areas during registration to confirm the presence of those who are applying to be registered.
He said the exercise has no deadline but emphasized that parties that would like to compete must be registered 180 days before the actual date of the elections.
PPC also charted key requirements for political parties, adding that its members must be two-thirds for all ten states and three administrative areas and abide by the 35% women quota and the inclusion of people with disabilities.