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WARNING: Lack of elections could spark violence-Kiir

By William Madouk


South Sudan President Salva Kiir has voiced his stand on conduct of elections, saying absence of the exercise could generate violence in the country.

“Some people are saying that if the elections are left to go ahead, a lot of people will die, and South Sudanese will fight. I must assure you that nobody will fight, but instead, lack of elections is what will bring fighting,” he added.

Salva Kiir Mayardit, who is also Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) leader, made the remarks on Saturday during his endorsement by party cadres in Greater Equatoria region.

As SPLM sole flagbearer, Kiir emphasized that elections will not be the catalyst for potential violence in the country but a solution to mitigate it.

Not to overlook concerns of other political parties, the SPLM chairperson noted initiation of an inter-party dialogue to decide on the fate of polls.

He urged a high-level Standing Committee of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS) to determine the fate of the upcoming elections.

Kiir said his party’s position ‘is that the people of South Sudan must be given the chance to choose their leaders at the end of this interim period.’

“However, some parties to the revitalized peace agreement and international partners don’t share our view; they are pushing for an extension of the transitional period.” Kiir echoed.

He directed the SPLM secretariat to prepare and get ready for the December 2024 elections.

“While this process [for inter-party] is ongoing, I urge the SPLM secretariat and the entire membership of the SPLM to prepare and get ready for elections in December 2024,” he emphasized.

The parties have in the past months hinted at the readiness for a round-table discussion to agree on the contentious issues of the election, with no signs of such meetings.

Days ago, the Chairperson of the National Elections Commission (NEC), Prof. Abednego Akok, said the fate of the announcement of the election calendar date would be decided by the parties to a peace deal in an inter-party dialogue.

Although Akok avowed earlier that the date of the upcoming elections will be declared in June 2024, he stressed that this can only happen if parties adopt and pass the proposed electoral calendar.

By law, Prof. Akok states that when ‘it is remaining six months, the election date must be declared and must be two months before the end of the transition period ends.’

“The final decision-makers are the political parties that signed the peace agreement; we suggest to them that [registration for] the election must start in June. Now, the delay is from them [parties],” he said on the sidelines of the R-JMEC meeting last week.

“Otherwise, we would have already started the registration, but they [parties] must commit that this is the right electoral calendar; they should pass it,” the boss of the NEC highlighted.


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