Intrepid South Sudan (ISS) Executive Director Bol Deng Bol. (Courtesy photo)

Jonglei Civil Society Network urges NEC leadership to repudiate political affiliations

The Jonglei Civil Society Network in the Jonglei State capital Bor Town has appealed to members of the National Election Commission (NEC) to renounce their allegiance to political parties or resign their positions if South Sudan is to hold credible, free, and fair elections later this year.

The Jonglei Civil Society Network in the Jonglei State capital Bor Town has appealed to members of the National Election Commission (NEC) to renounce their allegiance to political parties or resign their positions if South Sudan is to hold credible, free, and fair elections later this year.

Bol Deng Bol, the head of the Jonglei Civil Society Network (JCSN) and executive director of Intrepid South Sudan (ISS), made the call while speaking on Radio Tamazuj’s Road to Election Program over the weekend.

He reiterated that the current election body lacks moral ground to deliver a poll that would be reflective of the will of the people.

“All the 9 members of NEC have allegiances to political parties like SPLM, SPLM-IO, or SSOA. This is a violation of the law on independence and impartiality of the commission as stipulated in Sections 10 (2), 11, and 8 (4) of the National Election Act,” Deng stressed. “As civil society, our appeal is that all the 9 members should quit their political parties to be neutral as required by the law or else they should resign for neutral people to be appointed.”

The activist said they will not cooperate with the electoral body at the state level if their appeal is not heeded.

“Last week, a High-Level Delegation of NEC was in Bor to garner views from the state government and other stakeholders including civil society on a plan to form a committee to oversee pre-election and elections activities,” he said. “In our presentation, we demanded that NEC members at the national level be politically neutral and that the body they will appoint at the state level also be politically neutral. Otherwise, we will not bother to partake in their activities lest our effort would bear no results.”

According to the National Election Act, the president shall, in consultation with the parties to the 2018 peace deal and with the approval of the National Legislative Assembly, reconstitute a competent and impartial National Election Commission to conduct elections.

However, with about eight months left for the world’s newest nation to hold its first-ever polls, concerns are being raised by civil society, some members of the public, and the International Community about the country’s readiness for the elections slated for in December.