Parties rubbish reports alleging plot to extend Roadmap period

Parties rubbish reports alleging plot to extend Roadmap period
Santo Malek, SPLM secretary for Political Affairs and mobilization (left), greets President Salva Kiir in a past meeting. Malek has lashed out at report alleging a plot to extend the current timeline of the Roadmap. [Photo: courtesy]

The main parties to the revitalized peace agreement rubbished claims that they are pondering a four-month extension to the Roadmap to allow for the completion of pending tasks.

Yesterday, Sudan Post published a report alleging that the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) is mulling an extension of the transitional period for four months after the expiration of the 24 months agreed upon by August 2022. However, this was refuted by the SPLM secretary for political affairs as mere propaganda.

In an exclusive interview with The City Review yesterday, Santo Malek, SPLM secretary for Political Affairs and mobilization, refuted the reports, maintaining that the SPLM is committed to implementing the remaining parts of the roadmap and that the planned 2024 elections stand.

“We are not going to extend anything (election); we will respect time and work according to what is in the peace agreement and the roadmap in particular,” Malek said.

SPLM-IO members (Courtesy Photo)

He added that the SPLM would continue to respect the set date for the election, adding that whoever claims that there will be an extension is just telling lies to the public.

“We have respect, and in December 2024, we will kick off with the election, and whoever is saying that we are going beyond that is nonsense, and there is nothing like extension,” he said.

He added that any information on extension remains an allegation, adding that the SPLM, as a party to the peace agreement, is cooperating with other parties to ensure that there is a free and fair election in the country.

Malek appealed to the public to disregard any information about another extension of the period or postponement of the election, adding that there will be an election as always promised by the leaders.

Likewise, Puok Baluang who is the Press Secretary in the Office of First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar, said the SPLM-IO is committed to implementing the Roadmap to ensure that there is a peaceful election at the end of the period.

“We are looking forward to having a free, fair, and credible election; we do not need anything that may take the country back,” Baluang said.

“The agreement must be implemented, and the agreement will be conducted to give power to the people, and as SPLM-IO, we are for an election,” he added.

He added that SPLM-IO does not necessarily support extension unless there is some good reason for it for the good of the people of South Sudan.

No turning back

SPLM Members (Courtesy Photo)

Baluang added that should there be demand for the extension of the period or election, it should be for good reasons.

“If there is anyone who comes forward (SPLM-IO) about the postponement of the election, we believe he or she must convince us why we want to postpone a democratic process that gives our people the power to elect people that will lead them,” he said.

He added that SPLM-IO would continue to call on parties to the peace agreement to intensify efforts for the implementation of the roadmap and make way for an election.

“We call on parties to redouble their efforts to implement the genuine parts for the conduct of a peaceful election,” he said.

He added that without the implementation of the crucial parts of the agreement, such as the security arrangements, the formation of election institutions, and other bodies linked with the election, the country may not conduct the election.

Baluang said that the SPLM-IO would remain committed to persuading other parties to implement the peace roadmap.

“From our (SPLM-IO) part, we will keep on advocating for peace implementation in Letter and spirit, and for our part as SPLM-IO, we will keep pushing our partners to make sure that the agreement is implemented,” he said.

He acknowledged President Salva Kiir’s independence speech, which talks about commitment to the implementation of the peace agreement, citing that when parties commit themselves, peace will be achieved.