Parliament has done its part on elections, says Agany

South Sudan’s parliament has defended its involvement in the electoral process by stating that it has enacted all necessary laws related to the December elections.

South Sudan’s parliament has defended its involvement in the electoral process by stating that it has enacted all necessary laws related to the December elections.

The National Elections Commission (NEC) recently announced that the elections will be held in December 2024 but has not yet released the schedules for voter registration, nominations, and campaign periods and guidelines.

The head of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), Nicholas Haysom, recently warned that South Sudan is not in a position to hold free, fair, or secure elections unless it meets some key conditions by April 2024.

Speaking to reporters in Juba on Wednesday, the Chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Information, John Agany, distanced his institution from any potential delays in this year’s elections, emphasizing that the parliament has successfully passed all the required legislation.

“In terms of the legislature’s role in elections, we have enacted the necessary laws, including the Elections Act, and the Political Parties Act has already been approved,” Agany stated. He highlighted that the remaining task involves the creation of regulatory policies, particularly for the commissions overseeing the elections.

“The election commission needs guidelines for the public to follow. While the laws have been passed, regulations are equally crucial. In this regard, we, as the assembly, are aware that we have fulfilled our part. The pending responsibility lies with the executive,” explained Agany.

The lawmaker emphasized the importance of civic education and voter registration, which should be conducted by the election commission to prepare people for the upcoming polls.

“Civic education is crucial. Remember the 2010 elections? There was civic education provided to voters, media outlets, and security personnel. Informing people beforehand is essential for a smooth election process,” he said.

Agany also warned that all government institutions must be prepared for the upcoming elections. Failure to do so could lead to the government being declared illegitimate if the transitional period ends without elections taking place.

“Another critical point is that all government institutions must be ready when the government announces national elections. They must be prepared in terms of time and location. Failure to do so will shorten the government’s lifespan. We’re at risk. The government’s lifespan, which was already extended last year, is in jeopardy,” Agany emphasized.

“The government’s lifespan is strictly two years according to the roadmap. Have you heard of any extensions? No, there hasn’t been any. We have a nine-month limit, and whether we act quickly or not, we must proceed with the election. Failing to do so will result in a very short government lifespan, leading to a loss of legitimacy. When legitimacy is compromised, it will have serious consequences for the country,” the spokesperson warned.

“This situation will inevitably bring about issues and challenges in the country. We want to avoid creating such a scenario. We are operating within the necessary time frame, and the only requirement is funding to address some of the critical issues,” Agany explained.

Agany, who is also the parliament spokesperson, mentioned that the parliament has completed the registration of members and is now awaiting President Salva Kiir to officiate the opening of the parliament sessions in the coming days.