Nine National Electoral Commission officials being sworn in before Chief Justice Chan Reec Madut on Monday, January 8, 2024. (Photo: Presidential Press Unit )

Electoral commissioners sworn in

Nine National Electoral Commission officials were on Monday sworn in at the Office of the President in Juba.

Nine National Electoral Commission officials were on Monday sworn in at the Office of the President in Juba.

President Salva Kiir Mayardit, urged the National Election Commission to work around the clock to prepare the country for elections.

The formation of the poll body, is a prerequisite stage in preparations toward the country’s quest to hold a general election at the end of the transition period in December this year.

Speaking during the swearing in, Prof. Abednego Akok Kacuol, Chair of the commission urged his colleagues to work as a team to deliver a credible poll.

“I told my colleagues that we are a team, we must be a team always team, we must perform our duties as team, and we be transparent,” he said.

In a statement presented Prof. Abednego called on the parties to the elections to respect the ongoing planning process.

“I am glad and honored for the newly appointed commissioners of the R-NEC to take oath before you H.E the President, this is a very important national duty and we are ready to demonstrate to our people that this exercise will be done in a transparent manner,” the statement read in part.

Prof Abednego reiterated that his commission and all stakeholders will embark on civic and voter education to enlighten the public about the elections due in December.

“The public must be educated and must be aware of their roles to play as sovereignty is theirs and cannot be achieved unless they register as voters,followed by going to the polling stations to cast their votes freely,”  he said.

Edmund Yakani, a civil society activist who also doubles as the chairperson of East African Civil Society Forum stressed on the need for civic space, political space in order to have credible and transparent elections in South Sudan.

“We want to see that there is total commitment of government agencies for respect and observe an open civic and for political space. Any electoral process requires unrestricted civic and political space for civic actors and political parties,” he said.

Yakani further said the civil society groups are ready to engage in civic and voter education, if civic and political space is open.  

”If we don’t have that open civic and political space it will be very hard to bring citizens at the center of the electoral process and any electoral process require the trust and confidence of the citizens in the process so that this process will be owned by the citizens and the citizens will believe on the results and that means the results meet the democratic standards we can describe them as free fair and peaceful,” Yakani stressed.

Sudan eople’s Lieration Movement in-Opposition (SPLM-IO) the biggest rival party has on different fronts decried the lack for political space and that their chairperson who is also the first vice president Dr, Riek Machar has not been given opportunity to go out of Juba, the capital of South Sudan.

Last year, the Deputy Chairman of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-in-Opposition (SPLM-IO), Oyet Nathaniel, lamented at a press conference that Dr. Riek Machar has been kept hostage in Juba for years against his wish to move and carry out his political duties.

Oyet alleged that the country lacks political freedom and stability, which are key electoral preconditions.

In that case, Oyet argued that Dr Machar has been on the receiving end of things, having been domiciled in Juba since 2020 when he came to the city for the implementation of the Revitalized Peace Agreement.

He argued that the peace agreement guarantees the freedom of movement and political holding activities but this has never been implemented.

According to the peace Roadmap, South Sudan is expected to hold a general election in December 2024.

However, the electoral commission is still faced by numerous challenges, such as time factor, lack of firm political will toward the elections in December 2024 and lack of adequate resources to run elections.

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