National, News

OUTRAGE: Political parties cry over ‘exorbitant’ fees

By William Madouk


Coalition of political parties has submitted a petition rejecting an excessive $50,000 fee for a provisional registration license imposed by the Political Parties Council (PPC).

The parties comprised South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA), Coalition of Opposition Parties (COOP), among others said steep fees were an attack on democracy and intended to silence opposition voices in upcoming elections.

Dr. Chol Gai Paul, the chairman of People`s United Front and a member of the COOP, said the group strongly rejects the registration fees, stressing that the fees have no legal basis.

“We, the leaders of political parties seeking to register with the Political Parties Council (PPC) in South Sudan, are writing to express our strong rejection of the recent fee increase for provisional registration,” told journalists.

“We are deeply concerned about the sudden and significant rise from SSP 20,000 to USD 50,000 for a provisional license imposed by the current leadership of the PPC,” he added.

According to them, this excessive fee has no legal basis and is ‘in direct contradiction to the principles of democracy and fair political participation.’

Mr. Gai said Art. 7 (7) of the Political Parties Act 2012 (amended 2022) stipulates that: “The Council shall conduct open registration of political parties by regulations issued herein.”

Also, Art. 8 (3) of the same Act states that, “A political party registered by this Act shall pay in respect of the registration such fees, which shall not be refundable, as the Council may by regulations determine.”

He said there was a declaration made during a high-level economic summit chaired by President Salva Kiir that all the transactions in country must be in South Sudanese Pound (SSP) as such imposing the registration of the parties in dollars is unlawful.

“…the PPC is not only contravening this high-level ruling but is additionally encouraging engagement in the currency black market and fueling inflation the country is already suffering from. It is mind-boggling how a government institution such as the PPC can get involved in such malpractice,” Gai claimed.

Parties said, the exorbitant fee of 50,000 US dollars has no justification, for example parties used to pay SSP 20,000, meanwhile in Kenya, political parties pay 100,000 Kenyan Shillings for provisional registration that is less than 700 US dollars.

He explained that the registration of political parties should not be a means of controlling the number of parties in the country, adding that it’s a process of legalization and the sharp fee only serves to hinder and discourage citizens from exercising their rights to participate in polls.

“We are calling on the PPC to reconsider this decision and revert the fee to its original amount of SSP 20,000. This was the official registration fee before the appointment of the new leadership,”

He continued “Democracy cannot thrive in an environment where political participation is reserved for the wealthy few.”

For his part, Dr. Lam Akol Ajawin, the chairman of the National Democratic Movement (NDM), claimed that the parties are ready to register but the parties’ council is not serious with the registration process.

“When the Council announced on 23 January that they were ready for parties to register, it was very clear that they were not ready because there are no regulations and there are no forms for people to fill,” said Akol.

“The law says you must collect 500 signatures from each state to get registered and there are specific forms to be used in collecting those signatures. So how will I collect signatures without forms?” he inquired.

Besides, Advocate Gabriel Kuot Akok, the president of the People`s Progressive Party, said the exorbitant registration fees are going to affect the parties who intend to participate in the upcoming elections.

“We are left with nine months now to go for elections and the PPC intends to delay the process. By now we are supposed to have completed the process of provisional license because in law, if you apply according to the Political Parties Act 2012, as amended, you can be given your provisional license within 30 days,” he stated.

“We applied in January and up to now people are struggling with issues to do with fees. If there were no complications while the Council’s chairperson, James Akol, is absent, we would have taken our provisional license and then we go for registration within six months and get ready to go for elections,” he added.

According to Kuot, there is a deliberate plan to choke upcoming political parties so that they do not participate in elections.

He accused PPC leadership of not showing up in the office ‘So, how do you expect me to get my license when there is no responsible person in the institution?”



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