Civil rights group warns against premature election talk

Civil rights group warns against premature election talk

A civil rights group has warned the peace partners against extending the transitional period or engaging in an election talk without involving the citizens.

In a press release issued yesterday, the Voluntary Civil Society Workforce on the Implementation of the Peace Agreement stated that while peace partners had done a lot in implementing the chapters of the agreement, there are some crucial areas that should not be overlooked.

For instance, the body argued that there was a lack of transparency on how the Revitalised Transitional Government of National Unity (RTGoNU) was planning to wrap up the transition in the remaining months.

‘‘We take cognizance of the efforts made by the parties to R-ARCSS, the guarantors, the international community and stakeholders to implement the agreement. Such efforts have resulted in the formation of RTGoNU,’’ it noted.

‘‘However, we are concerned that seven months to the end of the transitional period, key components of the R-ARCISS have not been implemented and there is no clarity on how the remaining aspects will be implemented.’’

The group said the country remains fragile security-wise due to the potential peace partners who are yet to be absorbed into the ceasefire arrangement. And, therefore, the government ought to be vigilant and avoid rushing into an election without proper planning.

‘‘We strongly caution against announcing important processes such as election without consensus.’’

The body also warned against any further extension of the transitional period, adding that such a decision should only be made before the input of all the stakeholders.

‘‘We caution against any further extension of R-ARCISS beyond February 2023. Any conversation about the next dispensation must be an inclusive, people-driven process.’’

While the government is yet to formally talk about the prospects of extending the transitional period due to the pending tasks, rumours have been rampant that such could be a consideration. Nonetheless, the ruling party, SPLM-IG, has reiterated its willingness to have an election at the end of the transitional period.

This has met resistance from the main opposition body, SPLM-IO, which argues that a premature poll would undo the gains made in building peace, part of which the 2018 peace agreement seeks to address.