National, News

Permanent Constitution a must for elections- R-JMEC insist

By Charles K Mark


Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (R-JMEC) wants government to reconsider implementing pending tasks, before elections.

A key prerequisite, that R-JMEC chairperson, Gen. Charles Tai Gutai placed above all others, is the permanent constitution.

As the Revitalized Transition Government of National unity marks four years, it still has much work to do, to complete the requirements for the conduct of free, fair, and credible elections.

According to Gen. Gutai, peace monitoring body R-JMEC worries about unimplemented key tasks required for elections, due ten months’ time.

“Make the permanent constitution, the provisions of which will guide the conduct of elections; fund and operationalize the election-related institutions responsible for the preparation and conduct of elections,” Gutai insisted.

He affirmed that the revitalized peace agreement is a blueprint to transform South Sudan into a stable and prosperous country.

In his recent engagement with the parties to the agreement, the R-JMEC chair revealed that there is no consensus reached among the parties on the elections.

R-JMEC foresaw a need for judicial reforms as they would enhance the capacity and independence of judicial institutions, including addressing election-related disputes.

Gutai as well urged the completion of Phase I and II unification of forces in order to provide security throughout the country.

However, given the scale of the tasks ahead, R-JMEC encouraged the parties to embrace dialogue and demonstrate political will through which they will agree to compromise and forge a unified way forward.

R-JMEC’s stance on the election prerequisites seemed to have been supported by other peace partners, such as the AU’s Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) and UNMISS.

For his part, Nicolas Haysom, Head of the United Nation Mission in South Sudan, said the parties must agree to dialogue.

The UNMISS chief said they are asking for the implementation of the measures agreed upon by the parties themselves with each other, including those provisions that allow them to amend the current provisions of the peace agreement.

“This will allow for adequate steps to be taken to ensure the country is properly prepared for elections,” the UN’s Special Envoy said.

According to Haysom, failing to implement the pending provisions not only undermines the prospect of credible and peaceful elections but will simultaneously undermine the peace agreement itself, even threatening its survival.

“It is our view that South Sudan can implement the elections that they seek with the required political will if they demonstrate the capacity to act together with the spirit of constructive compromise and in recognition of their shared destiny,” he added.

Meanwhile, CEPO’s Executive Director, Edmond Yakani, said the parties should agree to set a political parties’ dialogue through which they set benchmarks for the conduct of elections.

The civil society activist urged the presidency to take political decisions now before it is too late if they want to see an inclusive election.

“I urge the leadership of this country to create a safe and common space for inclusive political parties’ dialogue so they can freely express themselves,” he appealed.




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