National, News

Islamic Council calls Kiir, Machar to dialogue on polls

By William Madouk


South Sudan Islamic Council has called on President Salva Kiir and First Vice President (FVP) Riek Machar to pursue a common ground on election.

Sheikh Barac, Secretary General of the Council said that they support the conduct of elections as per the peace deal but call on the two principals to iron out differences for a free and fair the December exercise.

“We men of God don’t involve ourselves in politics but we advise and encourage our leaders in South Sudan to maintain peace,” said Sheikh Barac.

According to Barac, the parties to the agreement must uphold to 2018 peace deal which stipulated that there must be a conduct of election at the on period but through consensus.

“Therefore, and in commitment to the peace we see that it’s better the peace deal to implement as it is – and hold election at the end of period,” he added. “Before election, we appeal to our leaders to conduct dialogue – there must be dialogue and parties must reach consensus.”

Mr. Barac said 70 percent of the agreement has been achieved especially with silencing of the guns across the country.

“It is like someone who builds a house and only remains with something small to complete it and this small thing needs wisdom so that election will not be another tool to bring back the war in the country,” he noted.

“My words and with all Muslims behind me are that we will support our government and we will encourage our government led by H.E President Salva Kiir, his FVP and four vice presidents to sit down at the presidency level, draft a roadmap and agree on the election in totality,”

Barac encouraged the president to exercise wisdom and dialogue with all the parties to the agreement so that they would not go for elections while others were unhappy.

“Price of peace is far better than the cost of war and our government is the only government that has five vice presidents but we are not losers because we manage to bring peace and any price you pay to bring peace is most-valued”

With less than 8 months to the conduct of elections, there is seemingly no consensus among the parties on whether the elections should take place or not.

The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Government (SPLM-IG) has firmly maintained that elections will proceed as scheduled this year.

However, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO) seems to differ. Recently it proposed that the transitional government be extended for an additional 24 months before conducting elections.

The SPLM-IO argue that the extension would allow for the enactment of a permanent constitution and the completion of other pending tasks outlined in the peace roadmap.

Machar’s political camp argued that several critical tasks need to be addressed before the election can take place, such as the completion of security arrangements, the establishment of a permanent constitution, the conduct of a population census, the implementation of judicial reforms, and the resolution of refugee repatriation and internal displacement.

The Umbrella of Other Political Parties (OPP) and the South Sudan African National Union Party have also rejected the two-year extension proposal, expressing their readiness for the elections.

Speaking to the media last week, information minister Michael Makuei revealed that there will be a party dialogue to address concerns raised by those who are not ready for the election.

He assured that any decision regarding participation in the election will be determined through this dialogue, which will take place ‘soon.’

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