US to South Sudan: Expedite electoral process

US to South Sudan: Expedite electoral process
The U.S Chargé d’Affaires, David Renz. [Photo: Courtesy]

The United States’ Chargé d’Affaires, David Renz, has called for the expedition of the security arrangements to usher in a proper road map to the 2023 general elections.

David Renz said that delayed graduation of forces, the constitutional amendments, security laws, election law, among other security are serious concerns ahead of the forthcoming poll.

“South Sudan stands at a crossroads. The 2018 Revitalized Peace Agreement – on which South Sudanese have pinned their hopes of a peaceful transition to democracy, economic opportunity, and prosperity expires in just nine months,” Renz stated. 

“Yet the necessary unified forces still have not graduated, security laws have not passed, the drafting of a permanent constitution awaits legislation defining the process, and key election law amendments will not even be drafted until the National Constitutional Amendment Committee is reactivated.”

He stressed that a lot must be done to ensure that the elections President Kiir preached would be free and fair, adding that a lot should be done.

“All of this must be accomplished before the people of South Sudan can meaningfully discuss the prospects for elections.  Elections that President Kiir told the legislature last August must be ‘free, fair, and credible democratic elections.’  So much remains to be done,” he added.

“The times cry out for a national conversation about how to realize the promise of R-ARCSS.  About how to hold political leaders to the commitments they made when they signed the peace agreement.”

Underlying factors

Possibility of carrying out elections had been contentious, the government had been pushing hard for elections to be conducted while the opposition had been magnifying loopholes in the implementation of the prerequisites to elections.

The ruling party (SPLM) had been blowing their horn or renaissance across the country, endorsing President Salva Kiir Mayardit as the SPLM flagbearer, and suggesting that the 2008 census must be used in order for elections to be a possibility, mindless of mortality between 2008 and 2022 which might make the data inaccurate.

Others had been stressing the dignified repatriation of refugees before elections could take place. In March, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan, said the country was at a critical moment in its transition to democracy.

They warned that rushed elections might revert the country to chaos if the government fails to shine their eyes.

The Chair of U.N. Human Rights Commission on South Sudan, Yasmin Sooka, warned that rushed elections could be disastrous.

Last month, the command structure was unified but graduation of unified forces has remained another factor of concern, whose delay is blamed on arms embargo imposed on South Sudan.