South Sudan June 30 Elections Talking Points
South Sudan 30 June Election: A Joke of the Year (Ambassador Ezekiel Gatkuoth in VOA interview, 3 January)
Prepared by Abu Deng,
Jan 5, 2014(Nyamilepedia) — President Kiir himself said on 11 May 2014: “Elections will not be held in 2015 because reconciliation between the people will have to take time,” (President Kiir at Juba airport press conference on Sunday, 11 May 2014)
President Kiir said at the 11 May Press Conference South Sudan would have an interim government during the reconciliation process and that a viable general election would take 2 to 3 years to plan.
176 days left until June 30, the date set for general elections according to South Sudan’s National Election Commission (NEC) chair Abednego Akok at a news conference in Juba on Thursday, 2 January.
Any election done now would occur amidst insecurity, a strong deterrent to voter turnout as well as endangering the safety of election officials and any potential voters.
According to Ambassador Gatkuoth, war is ongoing, and SPLM-Juba doesn’t control the country, only:
1) Bor area, not the entire Jongeli State
2) Malakal area, not the entire Upper Nile State
3) Bentui area, not the entire Unity State
4) in Western Equatoria, insecurity: state security chief killed in Mundri
5) in Eastern Equatoria, insecurity: SPLA General Kenyi controls areas
6) in Central Equatoria showing signs of instability
UN and humanitarian organizations – not RSS GOVT – are struggling to raise $1.8 billion to feed and save lives of our 4.1 million South Sudanese, many who are starving or dying from curable diseases, according to UN’s OCHA.
Cost of elections is 1.5 billion SP ($517 million) where is that coming from given the Government’s austerity budget; the country’s humanitarian crisis requires nearly $2 billion to feed, care and shelter citizens; the current drop in oil prices where only $25 per barrel comes to the South after fees to Khartoum and loan repayment.
The Petroleum Minister recently revealed the country made $1.71 billion in 2014 from oil revenues, which is not enough to even pay for the humanitarian crisis which will cost this year $1.8 billion, according to OCHA.
The Ebony Center for Strategic Studies says the government doesn’t have enough money to hold elections in June, according to its director Dr. Lual A. Deng.
Ebony Center’s Dr. Lual A. Deng suggests it is better to amend the constitution and extend terms of the National Assembly & government, it is the legitimate way and it would be must cheaper to extend the government’s tenure at a cost of 250 million SP ($86.2 million).
Ebony Center’s Dr. Lual A. Deng says the economic conditions and the security situation make any election near impossible, like in Upper Nile. Unless elections will be held in towns, in places controlled by the Government – but the majority of the people live in rural areas. So it will be difficult to reach them.
Dr. Lual Deng says the country is at civil war; politically the country is divided so elections at this time are inappropriate! Conditions are not favorable for a June Election. Plus the country is experiencing economic difficulties he said.
Fmr RSS Justice Minister John Luk says even State elections for electing governors is not possible due to insecurity, Lakes State is one example. He says the National Election Commission has said elections are not possible due to insecurity, which is intensifying.
Fmr RSS Justice Minister John Luk said Jonglei and Unity are two examples where insecurity is preventing elections, according to the NEC.
Opposition Party Leader Dr. Lam Akol said if the Government was following and obeying the constitution – the election should be postponed.
Opposition Party Leader Dr. Lam Akol said “In the first place, elections should be held when there is peace. You cannot have elections when people are still fighting. And people are displaced — about two million people have been displaced.”
Dr. Lam Akol says South Sudan elections cannot be conducted without registering political parties in the country. “According to the election law, political parties must be registered. None has registered, including the ruling party itself.”
Source: VOA 2 Jan Interviews; UN; Sudan Tribune (audio available)
Prepared by Abu Deng, PPIA ’93 Email: email@example.com