ADDIS ABABA – The Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission has expressed concern about the readiness of South Sudan holding its first democratic elections in December 2024.
Addressing the African Union Peace and Security Council in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Thursday RJMEC chairman Amb. Maj Gen (Rtd) Charles Tai Gituai said while South Sudan is scheduled to hold elections in December 2024 since attaining independence in 2011, two critical pre-conditions are still pending.
“Firstly, the Revitalised Agreement provides for elections to be conducted under a people-led and people-owned Permanent Constitution, which shall initiate a federal and democratic system of government at the end of the Transitional Period. Secondly, the unification of the forces should have been completed and the forces redeployed to provide elections-related security, among others. The unification of forces faces serious challenges, and yet, it is the most consequential for stability and enduring peace,” Ambassador Gituai said.
Without predictable and adequate funding towards the implementation of the agreement, including the Necessary Unified Forces and the recently reconstituted institutions, we express the concern that South Sudan might have a challenge in meeting the implementation schedule of the R-ARCSS, and this could seriously jeopardise the holding of elections in December 2024.Amb. Maj Gen (Rtd) Charles Tai Gituai
The RJMEC Chairperson further noted that the reconstituted Political Parties Council (PPC), the National Constitutional Review Commission (NCRC) and the National Elections Commission (NEC) require significant resources and capacity to deliver on their mandates.
In that regard, he said, their effectiveness will pave the way towards registering, overseeing, and regulating activities of political parties, widening of civic and political space, the making of the permanent constitution and for the conduct of elections as scheduled.
“Without predictable and adequate funding towards the implementation of the agreement, including the Necessary Unified Forces and the recently reconstituted institutions, we express the concern that South Sudan might have a challenge in meeting the implementation schedule of the R-ARCSS, and this could seriously jeopardise the holding of elections in December 2024,” Amb Gituai said.
In that regard, Amb. Gituai requested the Council to appeal to the AU members and the AU C5 [comprising of South Africa, Algeria, Chad, Nigeria and Rwanda], as guarantors of the Revitalised Peace Agreement, to enhance their political engagements with the Parties and the South Sudan government, to prevail and encourage them to complete implementation of the critical pending tasks.
Gituai particularly put more emphasis on the unification of forces and the making of the permanent constitution, which he noted would the prerequisite for South Sudan to have a smooth transition to a democratic dispensation.
Furthermore, he underscored the critical role the AU Peace and Security Council and other international partners can play, adding, “There is an urgent need for this Council, IGAD and the international partners to deliberately focus their attention and proactively play their roles to ensure South Sudan successfully transits to a democratic dispensation.”