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Permanent Constitution a must before elections-SPLM-IO

By Bida Elly David


Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO) maintains its position to oppose the conduct of elections without a permanent constitution.

SPLM-IO deputy chairman, Nathaniel Oyet Pierino, who is also the first deputy speaker of the national transitional legislative assembly made the declaration in a press conference on Friday.

Oyet stressed that the permanent constitution is vital for providing a clear framework for the future.

“So, the question of a permanent constitution is a must as the agreement says it must come before, whoever wants the permanent constitution to be enacted after the elections is planning to abrogate the agreement itself,” he echoed.

He said the current constitution must be amended to legally allow the conduct of elections.

According to the 2018 peace agreement, the permanent constitution is among the critical provisions expected to usher in a new democratic dispensation.

Oyet argued that the current transitional constitution is inadequate for conducting elections.

He called for amendments to address issues like the number of states, land disputes, and the system of government.

“The question of the number of states is not yet resolved, we only reverted the Country to ten states, there were 28 states and then 32 states, there were 21 States and others were talking of 3 States, all these are still hanging waiting the permanent constitution,” he highlighted.

Oyet underlined the unresolved question of state boundaries and ongoing land disputes, emphasizing the need for a permanent constitution to provide clarity.

“We remember the conflict in Upper Nile, we have people in PoCs in Malakal complaining of their land, even if we reverted the Country to ten States they are still complaining fearing that their land has been grabbed the constitution will direct,” he lamented.

He exclaimed that there is no way for the Country to head for elections without deciding on what system of government to have.

Mr. Oyet accuses other parties and individuals of fearing the permanent constitution due to potential changes to the current system, particularly regarding the federal system of government.

“Others are saying the federal system of government is coming to review the Centralized system then they will lose the privileges of having all the powers in the Center and controlling resources,” he claimed.

In another note, Mr Oyet also emphasized the need for safe repatriation of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees for them to participate in the elections within South Sudan.

He criticized the lack of progress on repatriation and the continued presence of IDPs in camps facing precarious conditions.

“That is being insensitive, desperation in the needs of fellow South Sudanese that is why we are saying there is a need for repatriation,” he reiterated.

However, the SPLM-IO deputy chairman expressed concerns about ongoing insecurity that discourages IDPs from returning and highlighted the need for a serious commitment from the government to improve security arrangements.

He described those parties pushing for elections as parties having limited space in what is going on.

“In the security arrangement, some of these parties don’t have forces in the cantonment, SPLM-IO still has forces yet the large rank of the forces are still behind awaiting phase two,” he noted.

Mr. Oyet emphasized the need to address outstanding issues before the end of the transitional period and urged all parties to prioritize peace, security, and a sustainable path forward for South Sudan.

“For how long does South Sudan want to remain under this political transition, we are saying we must have the constitution to refill the transitional constitution to terminate the transition with a system of government with definition of states and boundaries, resolving the number of states,” he hinted.

Early this week, the SPLM-IO suggested extension of the transition government for 24-months, before elections.

The party noted that the extension will allow the country to enact a permanent constitution and complete other pending peace roadmap tasks.

In September last year, during a swearing-in ceremony of SPLM national office bearers, President Salva Kiir made it clear that the country would go for elections this year for him to shade off the bulky presidency.

On Thursday, he tasked the police to be ready to maintain order and protect the ballot boxes during the elections.

Last month, leaders of South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA), a signatory to the 2018 revitalized peace agreement expressed support for the country to go to polls in December, this year.

SSOA Chairperson, who is also the national minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Josephine Lagu Yanga, said in a meeting with President Salva Kiir Mayardit that they support the timely conduct of the December 2024 elections.

She requested that the government speed up the implementation of the remaining prerequisites of the peace agreement.


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