Implement peace deal before discussing elections, Onyoti

Implement peace deal before discussing elections, Onyoti
Onyoti Adigo Nyikwec, National Minister of Livestock and Fishery (photo credit: Alex Bullen/City Review)

The Chairman for the Democratic Change Party (DCP) Onyoti Adigo Nyikwec has called on the parties to the revitalized peace agreement to implement the critical parts of the agreement before shifting discussions to the general elections.

Onyoti said it makes no meaning to start talking about elections while the requirements for the elections were in deadlock.

“Yes, it is in the agreement that we are to hold elections at the end of the transitional period which is before 2023 but that does not mean that if tomorrow is 2023 we have to go for elections. We have a lot to do first,” Onyoti said.

“We have the agreement that we are following, everyone needs to respect the agreement and you cannot try jumping from here and there when you have not finished what is in front of you,” he added.

Onyoti who doubles as the Minister of Animal Resources and Fisheries said it has always been everyone’s wish to have an election once agreed upon by the stakeholders of the agreement.

He was reacting to the possibility of holding elections in 2023.

He said there were crucial tasks at the moment which are yet to be implemented and elections cannot be conducted when those tasks are not implemented.

Onyoti said the security arrangements, the unification of the army, and the South Sudan permanent constitution were the most pressurizing tasks that need to be implemented before holding an election.

Pending tasks

“The repatriation of refugees from the neighboring countries and even the IDPs need to be resettled in their rightful places. The national census and reviewing of some certain laws like the Political Act, Elections Law Act, and Security Act.

“It will be the decisions of political parties to either run election or not but not an individual decision,” he said.

President Salva Kiir has been quoted on several occasions affirming his commitment to conducting the general elections at the end of the transitional period (2023).

President Kiir said there is a need to complete all the provisions of the revitalized peace agreement before 2023.

“There is no time left for us, it is important that we agree and implement the pending tasks in the implementation of this agreement,” he said in his recent address to SPLM party members in Juba.

According to the implementation matrix of the 2018 peace deal, many provisions should have been implemented by now. But most of the ambitious reforms have not been initiated or completed.

Already, there have been two extensions of the Pre-Transitional Period before the extension of the election deadline to 2023.

In May 2019, the pre-interim period was extended by six months, after the main opposition leader – Dr. Riek Machar – requested more time to implement key parts of the security arrangements.

At the end of the six months, they again extended the pre-transitional period by 100 days.

It ended in February 2020 when President Salva Kiir appointed opposition leader Dr. Riek Machar and other vice presidents—beginning the three-year Transitional Period.

But the unified army is not yet deployed as their graduation has been postponed several times.

The revitalized peace agreement mandates the Transitional Government to organize elections 60 days before the end of the current transitional period.

This is expected to enable the establishment of a democratically elected government.

South Sudanese are supposed to go to the polls in 2022, according to the peace deal.

For elections to take place, the agreement says the Political Parties Act of 2012 must be reviewed and approved by the parliament to enable free and democratic registration of political parties in South Sudan.

It also expects the permanent constitution to be enacted before a new National Elections Commission organizes the polls.

In January this year, Kiir’s office said the parties agreed to extend the Transitional Period up to 2023 to allow full implementation of critical tasks.

The peace partners are yet to even complete parts of chapter one on governance, chapter two on permanent security arrangements, chapter three on special reconstruction programs, chapter four on economic reforms, and even on the establishment of a proper justice system.

This is expected to enable the establishment of a democratically elected government.

The government shall first facilitate the adoption of a permanent constitution, conduct a national population census, and other reforms before the polls.