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By SIMON YEL YEL - 6 Feb 2024

Opinion| What is the truth about the elections?

I would like to preface this piece with an aphorism from Frank Sonnenberg: The only difference between being uninformed and misinformed is that one is your choice and the other is theirs. This saying is an executive summary of the ongoing debate on social media platforms about when and why to conduct the elections.

Indeed, it is upon us to either accept their choice on us and we remained misinformed and disinformed about when and why to conduct the elections, or make our own choice of getting informed by getting facts right and examining the physical facts on the ground to logically understand the truth and reality about the Elections.

I cannot be misinformed and bothered by plethora of the Red T-shirts littering the villages and towns, and the campaign rhetoric of OYEEE filling up the decibel levels, to think and believe that the General Election MUST happen in December 2024. No! It is nonsense on stilts!

Hold on for a minute and recall its sister-like braggadocio and publicity stunt of “No to 10 States”, in 2020. From Addis Ababa to Juba International Airport (JIA), and the Freedom Hall, there was one coordinated message that we were constantly being fed, by the seniors and their foot soldiers, alike: Only 32 States. But what happened on that fateful evening of 15 February 2020, one day after Valentine's Day for that matter, Boom! 10 States!

Conclusively, one can only infer this simple message from it: President Kiir cares much for this country, and he loves peace. Indeed, he is a mysterious and understudied political specimen in our politics. And this is owing to his inconsistent ability to multiply identities. That is why he always makes a painful decision, if it brings peace, to the chagrin of his inner circle.

However, in full consideration of the current state of affairs, is the standstill or catch-22 situation over? Is the country ready for the bad Elections on the pretext that bad proceeds are good? I think President Kiir still has more tough decisions to make, in the interest of peace. 

In my book, it is the same 2020 situation we are in, though not yet in practically. Otherwise, what is the truth “Quid est Veritas?” as Pontius Pilate retorted when Jesus answered “You say that I am a King. The reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me?” 

Truth is the opposite of a lie. To put it plainly, the country is not ready for the Elections in 2024. And more importantly, the elites are not ready either. And this tells us that what we are now being treated to is nothing more than another politics of brinkmanship, season two, to be exact. Remember, the principals haven’t talked one-on-one on this matter.  

If our trained soldiers can fight in 2013 and 2016 for political reasons, despite the inculcated spirit of comradeship into them, and the vow they made to defend the constitution, then what do you think the tribal/sectional and procured supporters of politicians shall do during voting, counting, and then subsequent announcement of the results? Who shall guard the guards? Who shall provide security to the election officials and materials?

The fact is, it is one thing to air out opinions in support of conducting the elections in December 2024 to end this prolonged and boring transition. But it is the other to say the truth. And this begs the question: Is truth synonymous with opinion?  No. It is synonymous with reality. And reality is the benchmark upon which the opinion is being tested. And if the opinion fails the objectivity test of truth, using the reality or physical facts on the ground, then the opinion in question ought to be completely discarded and regarded as untrue.  

Therefore, as much as something is neither true simply because we believe it or the person stating it; nor is false because we don’t believe it or the person stating it or we don’t know it; it is simply true whether we like it or not, believe it or not, believe the person stating it or not, know it or not; then the truth about the elections, which is synonymous with reality or physical facts on the ground, is that the country isn’t currently ready for the elections this year. Period!

I do not have much energy to spend on deconstructing the bullshit that this bloated government with five vice presidents is a waste of public money and hence, the General Election is the only remedy. This is a mentally lazy argument. However, though it is not an attempt to satisfy Brandolini’s Law or the Bullshit Asymmetry Principle, which states that the amount of energy needed to refute bullshit is an order of magnitude bigger than that needed to produce it, I am just going to jog your memory a bit with a few facts.  

If this Transitional Government, with five vice presidents, can: (A) Able to fully fund and finish the Bor-Juba Road construction project; (B) Able to secure funds of 35 million US Dollars for a 35 Km internal roads construction project; (C) Able to fund the on-going Barh El Ghazal Road construction project; and, (D) Able to allocate 9 million US Dollars for purchasing 90 water tankers, in addition to other government buildings currently under constructions; then for Christ’s sake, isn’t it the most effective ever?

Name any unfinished developmental project being halted because its funds were diverted to fund the operations of this bloated government. Do not tell me the case of the Juba International Airport construction project!  Zilch. The bloated Transitional Governments (from 2016 to 2024) delivered much more services than the previous ones.

Or, can you convince me that this money just suddenly fell from the sky after the war or during these transitional periods? I am yet to see real indicators of the fertile ground to conduct the Elections. Should I also remind you of what is happening now in Unity State and Western Equatoria State?

However, my unsolicited pro bono advice to whoever wants to understand the truth is to read this story of a Russian pupil. In this story, the teacher tasked every pupil to write a story of their choice as their homework and present it to the class.

On the next day, one of the pupils wrote and presented to the class a thrilling philosophical story about the mother cat and her beautiful kittens. She narrated how the kittens were born and loved by their mother. There were five in total, and all of them were little Communists. Moved by the paper, the teacher liked her story and ranked it the best.

A few days later, there was a visiting delegation from the government, led by the Inspector General of Moscow City. In the parade, the teacher asked the same pupil to reread the same story to entertain the delegation. She came out, took the stage, and read the story.

To the bemusement of her teacher, when she reached that part of the kittens, she said, “There were five beautiful kittens, and only two of them were communists.”

As the delegation left the school, the teacher instantly went to the class and asked the pupil why she changed the narrative. She happily smiled and replied, “Sorry, three of them have since opened their eyes.”

So, can I interpret it for you? No, be an interpreter, but in good faith.

Mindful of our polarized society and the genesis of the war, I am wondering how the country can peacefully hold the General Election, presided over by the political parties dominated National Elections Commission, without witnessing a replica of the Cherera 4 fiasco in Kenya?

And there is more. How possible is it to conduct credible Elections when security arrangements and institutional reforms are not being completed, and no consensus has been reached by the political parties on the very nucleus part of electoral processes (i.e., the controversial National Elections Act, and whether the country can go to poll without the permanent Constitution)? Which court is going to handle the election cases?

Let's be honest, do the consequences of not conducting the Elections this year outweigh the consequences of conducting the Elections this year? It is akin to what Uncle Hon. Micheal Makuei Lueth called, “putting the cart before the horse” when he was disputing the talks of setting up the Hybrid Court before the country achieved permanent peace. There is no justification for intentionally doing a bad thing today for the sake of having nothing to do, and then regretfully asking people to forgive you and promise them to do it right tomorrow. It is absurd!

In conclusion, let’s not condone the False Consensus Effect that the country needs the bad Elections. The country is not interested in the General Election if it is going to bring another war on the very same day of its conduction. That is the truth!

He that hath ears to hear, let him hear – Matthew 11:15

The writer, Simon Yel Yel, is a public policy analyst and reachable via

The views expressed in ‘opinion’ articles published by Radio Tamazuj are solely those of the writer. The veracity of any claims made is the responsibility of the author, not Radio Tamazuj.