Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Sudan: South Sudanese civil society want elections delayed

he leadership of South Sudanese civil society alliance on Thursday called for delays in the country’s election process earmarked for June this year.

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South Sudan civil society alliance chairperson Deng Athuai Mawiir (Credit: Radio Tamajuz)
The head of the alliance, Deng Athuai Mawiir said government and stakeholders should create a conducive atmosphere for the polls by restoring peace.

“The environment is not conducive for the conduct of elections. You cannot conduct elections when some of the people who are supposed to vote are living in the camps, some of the fled the country. Half of the population of the whole country is food insecure. Some are in danger of looming famine because some places were affected by the conflict that it became difficult for people to cultivate”, said Mawiir.

The outspoken activist said the alliance believes that a lot of work needs to be done before elections of conducted. He said civic education must be conducted first.

“We believe that proper sensitisation and mobilisation of the people who are in the internally displaced camps, who are fled the country to neigbouring countries where they are living as refugees should be sensitised and encouraged to return home. But for them to return to their homes, there must be a security guarantee because they would need protection and they would also need food, shelter, medicines and school because everything they owned has been affected and destroyed by the war”, he said.

A group of activists, Mawiir disclosed, visited camps and urged its occupants to spread messages of peace and reconciliation as well as unity and peaceful coexistence.

David de Dau, the spokesperson of the civil society alliance urged the national elections commission to further extend elections consultation to the states and compile a report that should be made public on the possibility of conducting general elections.

“What we are saying is that let there be a peace and security before you could actually move that elections. For as long as this two are in place and security for an election is guaranteed to be supported by us and I believe by the rest of the citizens and the international community in this matter”, Dau said in a statement on Thursday.

The civil society alliance was reacting to the announcement by the National Election Commission (NEC) that it has set June 30th as the date for the country’s general polls.

The head of the electoral commission, Abednego Akok, told Sudan Tribune last week that the institution would soon release the calendar after finishing evaluating consultations it had with all the stakeholders, including President Salva Kiir.

The announcement drew protests from opposition officials, who said widespread insecurity will make it impossible to hold safe and fair elections in June. They further argued that the millions of dollars that have been set aside for the elections should be spent on helping the citizens affected by the conflict, instead of organising polls.

South Sudan cabinet earlier approved a budget of 1.5 billion South Sudanese Pounds ($517 million) for the much-anticipated presidential and parliamentary elections.

The country’s information and broadcasting minister, Makuei Lueth earlier said that the Transitional Constitution mandates that the elections be conducted this year.

But the constitution does not specify the day on which elections must be held, although it shows the term of President will come to an end by July 9 of this year.

The Transitional Constitution of also calls for a census to be held ahead of the next general elections, to "determine the number of electoral constituencies for" the vote.

-Sudan Tribune

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