Eastern Equatoria residents demand ahead of poll

The residents of South Sudan’s Eastern Equatoria State have urged the unity government to prioritize a census and bringing back the refugees home to participate in the political decisions.

They have also demanded the deployment of the newly graduated security forces in the area to guarantee the safety of the residents during the elections.

The residents made the call in a Radio Tamazuj program that seeks the views of citizens on the election issues.

The head of women in the state, Davidika Ikai Grasiano, said it was difficult to talk about the elections when the majority at the grassroots level did not know what was happening

She urged the government to clear the civil servants’ salary arrears as they were suffering and could not be motivated to vote. The South Sudan civil servants have gone for eight months without pay.

A woman with disability, Laduma Patricia Igan, said the government should allocate some funds for awareness raising for them at the grassroots level.

“We need the government to provide a place which is accessible to all, and not the hilly locations which do not favour the people with disability. Also, we need transport to the polling stations because persons with disability cannot walk,” she said.

Ebul Simon Ohuro urged the government to deploy the newly graduated security forces and conduct a census to avert the manipulation of numbers during the election.

“The number of refugees outside the country needs to be known and be repatriated because they too have a right to vote for the people of their choice. We need disarmament as you can see people are still holding guns everywhere,” he said.

He also noted that it was only one party, SPLM, that was pushing for the elections but the others were ready, adding that it was critical to have a dialogue over the elections.

Lokiu John Cypriano agreed that the environment for the elections was unsafe.

“For elections to happen without any problem, we need a free space for everyone to speak without intimidation. This will help people participate and own the process,” he said.