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IGAD: Artificial solution on South Sudan conflict; putting the cart before the horse

By James Gatdet Dak

January 30, 2015 (SSNA) -- On Thursday, 29th of January, 2015, heads of state and government of the African regional bloc, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), served the warring parties in South Sudan with a principle agreement document. The text drafted by IGAD leaders on the sideline of the African Union (AU) summit in Addis Ababa “dictates” a solution for formation of a transitional government of national unity by imposing a leadership structure and personalities as well as proportionate power-sharing arrangements.

The take-it-or-leave-it document has provided key artificial arrangements and warned the South Sudanese warring parties of consequential action should there be non-full compliance.

In summary, the document has endorsed the incumbent President, General Salva Kiir Mayardit, to lead the transitional government, deputized by first vice president and vice president. This is in reiteration of the body’s long held decision that General Kiir is an elected president, although his legitimacy term ends in May or July this year, whether it is derived from the last April 2010 elections before independence or July 2011 constitutional legitimacy after independence.  

In this it is to be noted that IGAD has imposed on the parties a leadership structure which this time round should be of presidential system, throwing out other ideas and proposals which suggested it should be a parliamentary executive leadership structure composed of President and Prime Minister, or with deputies to the Prime minister, and Council of Ministers.

The regional leaders now dictate that while the first vice president should be a nominee from the SPLM/SPLA led by Dr Riek Machar Teny-Dhurgon, the vice president should be the incumbent, James Wani Igga.

The IGAD leaders went further to pledge that the speaker of the parliament should come from Greater Equatoria region.

IGAD has also imposed a power-sharing ratio, giving General Kiir’s government a lion share of 60% at all levels of government, SPLM/SPLA 30%, and other political parties and former detainees, 10%.

It has rejected the idea to dissolve and reconstitute membership of the legislative assembly and only agreed for an additional 68 new members to be appointed in accordance with the proposed sharing ratio, topping up to 400 lawmakers from the current membership of 332.

Further, IGAD has pre-empted how succession of executive leadership should be handled in South Sudan at least during the would-be transitional period under the proposed government of national unity. In this, IGAD has contradicted the traditional leadership hierarchy in the presidential system and also shunned application of seniority in the SPLM party’s would-be leadership.

These are some of the observations in the latest round of what has become an IGAD-led, not IGAD-mediated talks in Addis Ababa.

A question that comes to mind is what does IGAD want to achieve in this dictated and prioritized irrelevant arrangement?

To me, the answer is a mere pursuit of a short-lived credit….

I say it is about pursuit of a short-lived credit because it seems the regional bloc is not guided by the importance of reaching a lasting peace in South Sudan. It is rather urged by the desire to say it has made the warring parties to sign an agreement on leadership structure and power-sharing arrangements, in case the parties agree, despite lack of important proceeding resolutions on the underlying fundamentals that are key to a lasting resolution of the conflict.

This dictated document has unveiled a grave weakness and lack of seriousness in the mediation efforts and strategies IGAD employs in trying to resolve the 15 December 2013 crisis and uproot it from the roots.

Many would have thought that IGAD should be building on the intra-SPLM agreement on reunification in Arusha. In Arusha the parties agreed to reunify their ranks and file by first revoking General Kiir’s decision which dismissed party leaders.

This should have been followed by further dialogue on introduction and implementation of reforms and the fate of top leadership within the party while IGAD in Addis Ababa imitates the consensus reached in Arusha in resolving other non-party contentious issues.

The Arusha accord provided an opportunity for IGAD to address the root causes of the conflict which would inform and educate the mediation body about the genesis of the crisis and guide it towards resolutions and achievement of a lasting peace in South Sudan.

By now imposing that General Kiir shall be the president of transitional government in an attempt to provide him with a leeway to escape from the Arusha process, and by also pre-empting that the incumbent vice president Igga shall succeed Kiir, in case, IGAD has devastated the gains from the reunification initiative and dragged the peace process back to square one.  

The regional bloc has set a precedence of intransigence in the SPLM reunification process on the part of the government.

Arusha agreement was supposed to be a healthy model for the Addis Ababa peace process because it addressed the root causes and committed the parties to resolving them through that roadmap.

The long held belief in IGAD’s failure or difficulty to mediate and resolve the conflict mainly emanates from its reluctance to recognize the importance of addressing the root causes of the conflict in South Sudan.

IGAD has been on impossible mission to quick-fix the problem by seeking to dress the surface of the infected deep wound with bandage rather than first diagnosing and treating the wound.

The regional body has been unfortunately responding to the impact of the conflict and urgent need to give it a temporary solution rather than addressing and resolving it based on its root causes.

IGAD leaders should generate an enthusiasm to study reasons why political conflicts within South Sudan always occur and recur within the SPLM for the past 32 years. This will provide them with a clue and understanding on how the current conflict came about and can be addressed thoroughly so as to avoid future recurrence.

For the results to be sustainable, the mediation effort should address the root causes of the conflict!

It is in the understanding of the root causes that a solution towards a lasting peace and stability in South Sudan can be achieved and sustained.

IGAD should instead press on the parties to respect the cessation of hostilities agreement. It should also persuade its member state, Uganda, and make it withdraw its troops from the war in implementation of the agreement.

The regional body can now prevent violence from escalating and focus on addressing the root causes in order to come up with the best remedy. The mediation should, of course facilitate and advise, but allow the parties to negotiate a lasting solution and not dictate a short-lived solution.

To utter threats of action against both parties collectively irrespective of who did what or how the crisis came about will not help the situation. The fact that IGAD attempts to push president Salva Kiir down the throats of his victims, rewarding him to continue as the leader, is a wrong strategy that will likely face resistance.

However, if IGAD wants to test imposition of solution on the parties as an experiment in the region, this should be based on an informed wise decision by taking into account the genesis of the conflict. People of South Sudan would expect IGAD leaders to be courageous enough to thoroughly address the root causes and call spade a spade.

This is also to say if democratization of politics and introduction of various reforms matter in the SPLM party and in the institutions of government - to bring about a lasting peace and unity of the people in the country and to usher in development - then a competent visionary leadership that will realize these fundamentals equally matters.

Finally, making responsible leaders to account for the genocide or committed war crimes and crimes against humanity is an important element in achieving justice and reconciliation.

Thus, it is important for IGAD to advise AU to make public the report of the Commission of Inquiry on the atrocities committed in this conflict.

Information on the magnitude and extent to which the damages have been done will further guide the warring parties in tackling the issues on compensation and reparation of the victims, which are yet to be resolved under the IGAD mediation.

Hence, putting the cart before the horse is a recipe for another disaster to recur, which is a disservice to the ever suffering people of South Sudan.

IGAD, address the root causes of the 15 December crisis…

The author is a Spokesperson in the Office of the Chairman, SPLM/SPLA. He can be reached at: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

2015 Elections: How Many Carts Should Salva Kiir be Allowed to Place Before the Horses?

By Riang Yer Zuor Nyak

Introduction

January 25, 2015 (SSNA) -- In my last article, titled ‘Salva Kiir’s Attack on His Own Legitimacy Claim’, I made a point that the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan, 2011 provides for four years of transition ”… before a new election could take place under a new and permanent constitution.” The most important part of that statement is the area talking about elections under the permanent constitution.

It signifies that there is no chance for any elections to take place under the current transitional period under the Transitional Constitution. I am only glad that the Opposition Parties have picked up that point and made a move to challenge the government in court for unconstitutionally wanting to conduct elections under the Transitional Constitution.

I want to state that the Opposition Parties have a standing to challenge unconstitutionality of any government’s act, as do any other citizen in the country, so long as the case is justice-able, ripe and not moot. But, they are wrong as far as timing is concerned. Filing their case at this time goes against ripeness doctrine. The current statements are only threats of action. The government has not yet taken any tangible step towards executing this threat. They should have waited for the time when the government actually releases the election money to the Elections Commission. That would trigger a case for an injunctive relief.

The premature action of the parties is only giving the court an opportunity to throw the case out on the ground that the case is not ripe yet. Nevertheless, there is no chance that the parties can win any case (ripe or not ripe, constitutional or unconstitutional) against Salva’s government in Chan Reech Madut’s court.

Elections

Before March 2013, the issue of elections in 2015 was never problematic. It suddenly started becoming a controversial one after March, when a number of SPLM leaders started showing their interests in the Party’s Chairmanship. After Salva’s leadership was openly challenged in the party, Salva and Wani started talking about the impossibility of the elections, citing lack of money to fund the exercises, as there were loans, to be repaid, which resulted from the 2012 oil shut down.

This position was taken at the time because Salva and his group did not yet know what to do with those who had shown interest in the Chairmanship of the party. It has to be noted that the party issue had a bearing on the 2015 elections. The SPLM Constitution stipulates that the Chairman of the SPLM shall be the flag bearer in the presidential election. So, something had to be done first to ensure that the Chairmanship of the SPLM remained with Salva before elections could be allowed to take place. The situation remained as such.

The whole thing started changing after the dissolution of the SPLM structures before the 6th of December 2013. This was the time after the group (Salva’s) seemed to have come up with a plan of action. They had decided to leave the opposition out of the party processes of passing the party basic documents and preparing for the National Convention. This was done to ensure that Salva controlled the process so that the Convention could end up electing him.

Before the Convention could take place, Wani started talking about the elections to be carried out on time. Their actions, beginning with the dissolution of the party structures, pre-determined the outcome of the Convention. They were sure that Salva would remain the Chairman of the party.

To make sure that these opponents did not have freedom to speak or take part in the political process, a plan was put in place to eliminate them one way or anthor. It had already begun with the home confinement and gagging of Pagan Amum and the removal and accusation of Deng Alor and Kosti Manibe on the basis that they had committed corruption.

For Dr. Riek Machar, they could not come up with any corruption charges. This led to the false accusation of a coup attempt. This was meant to take him out on charges, which would fetch him death sentence. That way, he could be eliminated for good. Carrying this plan out resulted in the current war breaking out, and the issue of elections became mute on its own.

Unilateral Postponement of the Elections

As the Peace Talks were going on last year in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Salva Kiir while arriving at Juba Airport from an IGAD Summit in May, made a unilateral declaration that he had postponed the elections to 2018 or so. It did not matter to him whether or not he had a reason for such an act. To him, he was exercising some imaginary constitutional power, or he might actually have thought of himself as the constitution, needing no one else to consult. To other ordinary South Sudanese, it was a clear show of dictatorship. It also showed that he had no regard for the Talks in Addis Ababa.

It was after the declaration that Salva received criticisms both internally and externally. These criticisms came from all directions, including Yoweri Museveni himself—Salva’s most trusted external advisor. As a result, the idea of running elections was dropped altogether. It timing was left to be negotiated at the IGAD-led Peace Talks.

Legitimacy

Suddenly, the nagging issue of legitimacy has become one of desperation on the part of the government. It has now brought the 2015 elections to the fore. I suspect that it is not well thought out. It might have come up during some form of an ordinary conversation that the constitutional period of transition was approaching its end. Then someone might have tried to put himself in the position of a problem solver by suggesting elections as an ingenious way of restoring legitimacy. But, would that really solve the problem? Not a chance. The current Transitional Constitution is a big stumbling block.

Whatever Happened to the Transition?

Arguments for and against the 2015 elections have been advanced by many a people, following the first time that the government started declaring its intentions to conduct elections so as to avoid “leadership vacuum”. These arguments for the conduct of elections include the government carrying out a constitutional mandate, avoiding being categorized as illegitimate, and allowing the people to exercise their constitutional democratic right of choosing their leaders. Whatever they are, the arguments have no constitutional basis.

Arguments against the elections include insecurity, lack of a conducive atmosphere for the elections, state of emergency in Greater Upper Nile and the Peace Talks in Addis Ababa. They all suggest the impossibility of conducting a free and fair election. They are very sound and legitimate reasons. However, they are secondary.

The primary focus should be on the fact that the current period in the country is transitional. As such, the current Transitional Constitution’s role is to transition us from the period when South Sudan was an autonomous part of the old Sudan to the period when we could have a permanent constitution. It follows that the period is for the preparation of a new and permanent constitution of our own for the newly independent Republic of South Sudan. It is the government constituted or created by such a new and permanent constitution that officials should be elected to. It is not the current transitional government that officials should be elected to, as advocated by Salva and group.

Putting Pressure on the SPLM/A?

Someone made a suggestion that the government might be trying to put pressure on the SPLM/A by trying to conduct national elections. This is a laughable assertion. There is no way that one can put pressure on another by doing the wrong thing. One would be best served by doing the right thing in the interest of the people so that the opponent, if trying to go the opposite way, can find him/herself against the people.

The government, if that is part of the plan, will find itself under its own pressure by ending up antagonizing the people by trying to conduct unconstitutional elections. The people have a lot of things on their minds. There is war raging on in the country, which would make it impossible to conduct a free and fair election; there is a state of emergency in Greater Upper Nile; there is a threat of war-induced famine looming; there were fellow citizens killed in cold blood and no accountability procedures in place yet; and there are many more. Faking an election for the sake of a manufactured legitimacy would be the last thing to hear.

Insisting on the elections without legal basis would see the government ending up putting pressure on itself, as it will find no support from the ordinary people and the international community as well.

A Cart Before the Horse

The government should, now, be concerned with what to do with the transitional period as the first priority. Or else, whatever Juba does other than that, is meaningless. At this point, it has only two options to choose from before contemplating the conduct of elections. Going for the elections before going for one of the two options is like placing the ‘cart before the horse’.

1. Writing the Permanent Constitution

Paragraph 8 of the Preamble to the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan, 2011 talks of the use of that Constitution and the period for which it shall be in use. It is only and strictly to be used for the Transitional Period. It talks about how the Constitution should be referred to upon adoption “…and shall be the supreme law by which the independent and sovereign South Sudan shall be governed during the Transitional Period…” It is at the end of this period that the new constitution should come in to force.

Article 199 (2) of the Transitional Constitution supports the point made above. It states, “This Constitution shall remain in force until the adoption of a permanent constitution.” By “This Constitution”, it refers to the Transitional Constitution.

Therefore, the task that the government should be prioritizing, if it is not concerned about the on-going war, should be to write and promulgate the permanent constitution—instead of wasting time and energy talking about preparing the country for what it calls ‘June 30th elections’. It is after the promulgation of the permanent constitution that elections could be conducted. It should not be the other way around.

2. Extending the Transitional Period

In the alternative, Salva could use the provision of the current Constitution to amend the same so as to have an extended period of transition. Article 197 of the Transitional Constitution, in regards to amending, states that, “This Constitution shall not be amended unless the proposed amendment is approved by two-thirds of all members of each House of the National Legislature sitting separately and only after introduction of the draft amendment at least one month prior to the deliberations.”

Knowing the nature of the current National Legislature, I believe Salva would not have difficulties getting the Constitution amended. Getting two-thirds of members in each house to support his amendment would be an instant event.

However, the extension of the transition would not allow elections. The extended period would only be used for the writing of the permanent constitution. It is after this that the elections would result.

Either way, Salva has no legal way of avoiding writing the permanent constitution before he can actually go for any elections.

Concluding Remarks

Whether the government acts alone or in agreement with the SPLM/A, elections—under the current constitutional dispensation in the country—can never be legally conducted to give legitimacy to the current government. There is just no constitutional mandate for elections into the current constitutional regime. It is under the permanent constitution that national elections can be conducted.

Instead of elections, the government should only start thinking on how to embark on writing and promulgating the permanent constitution, if it has the legitimacy to do that alone given the current war situation. It is after this that an election can be talked about. Otherwise, the government would be putting carts before horses.

The current transitional period is not for elections. It is for our transition to the next period to be ushered in by a new constitution. It is the next government that leaders will be elected to. This and other reasons, such as insecurity, peace talks that are on-going, etc will never allow this much-talked about elections to happen.

The author is a South Sudanese. He can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Are June 30th 2015 general elections being organized in accordance with South Sudan‘s 2011 Transitional Constitution?

By: Bol Khan

January 25, 2015 (SSNA) -- Once one has decided to stay away for a while or stop commenting on South Sudan political issues; the SPLM Oyee strange mentality would not accept but again and again come up yet with another unhelpful issue, an issue which can’t pass by um-challenged. In my capacity as a concerned active citizen, I have to have my say on this issue of general elections tabled. As Pericles Athens (c 429-495 B.C.E)’most esteemed statesman’ said “We alone regard a man who takes no interest in public affairs, not as a harmless but as a useless character”. First and foremost I must, therefore, applaud and appreciate the South Sudan media houses, Writers /Journalists, civil society organizations, political parties, all the people of South Sudan and the International Community for their unanimous rejection of the so-called general elections scheduled to be held in June 30th 2015.

This promotes me to put across a question of whether or not, June 30th 2015 elections are being organized in accordance with Transitional Constitution of South Sudan, 2011. Of course, they repeatedly say they (Election Commission and Kiir’s Administration) are acting in accordance to Republic of South Sudan Transitional Constitution, that “we are following what the Constitution says”. However, the derogatory National Government of SPLM in, Juba, South Sudan has been continuously violating the very law of the land (the Transitional Constitution) and at the same time claims an illogical obligation of defending it against all available legal mistakes. These legal mistakes are visible by all in the world over, except the trivial clique in the kingdom of kleptomaniac. The legal political mistakes which expose the SPLM’s toxic political leadership core weakness are that:

1) The SPLM wrote; a supposed national transitional constitution by its own and latter violated it before anybody else could do so, by removing elected people, e.g. Gen. Paul Malong, the former Governor of NBS.

2) The SPLM trained and armed a private army in violation of TC’s Article 151 (3); which says “No person or persons shall raise any armed or paramilitary force in South Sudan except in accordance with this constitution and the law”.

3) The SPLM party on Dec 15 2013 decided to fight itself, and then started massacring innocent South Sudanese people without summoning enough courage to stop the destructions that followed. This is the worst of all political scandals!

4) The SPLM cannot be able to restore peace; back to the people of South Sudan through Addis Ababa. To mention but a few.

Generally, any product of SPLM party or anything design by the SPLM Oyee always kills and destroys. This is true; otherwise, the SPLM Oyee party could implement its Government’s primary responsibilities as quoted below and certainly avert the current chaos as well, in 2013.

In Article 53 (1) of South Sudan’s Transitional constitution; it is stipulated that “the primary responsibilities of the national government shall be, inter alia:

(a) Maintenance of peace and security;

(b) Reconstruction and development;

(c) Promotion of good governance and welfare of the people;

(d) Ensuring the protection of the rights and interests of the people.

The SPLM –led government over the last three years of independence did never touch one of these fundamental duties. Also in the same Article 53 (2) says “the national Government shall discharge its duties and exercise its powers as set forth in this constitution and the law. To me this article means: all related articles of the Transitional Constitution should be accordingly implemented by the National Government without exception.

Nevertheless, since 2011 to date, it is not the case with the Government of the day in Juba. Especially, when it comes to comprehensive implementation of the articles in question, the SPLM Oyee has been using a tactic of “implement and ignore” rest of the articles in the constitution. This tactic has gone beyond dictatorial tendencies, tribalism and even clannish. Let’s take for example, Khartoum successive and deadly regimes during the (21 years of) civil war between the South and the North. Khartoum in the time we all know; was causing insecurity all over the Sudan, killing randomly the country citizens in one way or another. And at those times, also conducted none free and fair elections against the people wills. While the main guerrilla Movement on the other hand, the SPLM by then, was firmly criticizing the regimes. Saying “the NCP or Khartoum’s regime wasn’t paying humane attention to majority ordinary Sudanese people’s voices”. However, nowadays, the very same SPLM now refers to Khartoum regimes’ defective systems, Somalia’s, Syria’s among others, as best systems to support. Or, as living examples why June 30th 2015 general elections should go on without delay. Here, the SPLM’s intention is to ignore the rest of other undone legal requirements. Had the SPLM of yesterday became the NCP of last week?

In our view, the organization of general elections before PEACE AGREEMENT is totally wrong. It is an idea that none of true South Sudanese in his/her right sense should buy. June 30th 2015 elections organizers are really operating outside the compound of truth. The SPLM-led government, instead, should try it best; by restoring peace, back to that bleeding-cursed-liked country called South Sudan. Yes, we can understand that there are people in the kingdom of kleptomaniac there who look at national institutions as theirs. This long-established idea is a source of all these entire problems which are destroying our country today! It appears in actions and in the words of few battling regime’s officials as well as in its diehard clannish fans’ activities. The South Sudanese popular needs to have elections postponed, until peace is restored, should not be made again like the similar popular demand for federalism, where the same trivial and disturbing clique convinced lately. And if the stained term expires; should this disquiet only one small group of South Sudanese? NO! Yet, it is a national question being answered nationally by all the people of the country. As agreed upon in Addis Ababa on 10th May 2014, that “general elections shall be organized by Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU) during the transitional period of thirty (30) months.

Contrary to the stated deal, Juba Government’s spokesperson, Makuei Lueth came out angrily, on one of his official working days, earlier this month and said that they would be seeking avenues to organize elections, despite the ongoing peace process in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. And on the following day, South Sudan’s Election Commission’s Chairperson, Abendego Akok jumped up, to his feet and announced the commencement of the elections process. Are these two institutions really operating independently as being claimed? I doubt. At best, perhaps they had cooked something which could forge their extended kin interest after 9th July, 2015. Thumb up, for nineteen (19) Political parties who have opened a legal case against the Election Commission in Juba. I would love Abendego’s elections Commission to tell the South Sudanese people, through the court, about where he gets green light to go ahead with that so-called general elections process!

Moreover, there is also a call that the National Legislature should be the right branch to extend an expiring tainted term of South Sudan executive organ or Kiir’s administration. I can but to a certain extent agree to this call. However, a question is: Does the National Legislature still as all South Sudanese people’s representative? Definitely, the answer is a BIG NO! There are some people whose representatives are not in today Juba National Legislature. For instance; Dr. Richard K. Mula of Mundri, Hon. Akol Ayii of Awiel, Hon. Timothy Tot Chuol, Hon. Henry Dicah Odwar...name them. The list is long. These MPs have their people’s trusts—they were their constituencies’ voices in the Parliament. Then, who would sit on their seats entrusted to them by their constituencies? Again, even the representatives; who are still therein, mostly from Greater Upper Nile, are there just for their personal gains not for their constituencies needs. They have been all rejected, for good, by their respective constituencies. Would these rejected MPs, together with Benydit’s administration, impose personal interests on the grassroots people whom rejected them? In addition, National Legislature miserably betrayed to Kiir’s administration, the ordinary South Sudanese people ever since. On the other hand, who still has a vested interest amongst the South Sudanese people to reinstate that illegitimate administration term in office? Will they be all MPs, who would want to extend that already contaminated term in office? Extending the current South Sudan executive organ term in office is tantamount to decreeing security bill into law which may in turn, denote sentencing citizens to death. That is a food for thought! What should happen, within these two-three months, is that the SPLM factions must speedily sign peace. We hope and wish the governing factions will be serious about this. Otherwise, the South Sudan transitional constitution, 2011, Article 102 (2) shall act “If the office of the President of the Republic falls vacant, the post shall be assumed by the Vice President pending elections that shall be conducted by the National Elections Commission within sixty days from the date of occurrence of the vacancy. Who is that Vice President?

In conclusion, I would want Kiir’s administration and South Sudan Election Commission to alternatively listen to both national and international good Samaritans voices. The two institutions should be in touch with reality and majority’s rights. Evaluation in leadership is very important. Both institutions’ drivers need to accustom themselves with how to pre-empt problems rather than opting to resolve those inevitable blatant problems after they arise. Reading of the general situations of the people as well as the opinions they express on daily basis concerning any national subject matter is a best way to go in an effective leadership. I know one or all in group will answer it other way round that: there are enjoyable people who want to exercise their democratic rights. But, is there any need to reminded those folks; that there are also people who cannot be able to exercise their rights due to dreadful sufferings they are enduring? Like those displaced people in Mankigman IDPs camp in Lakes state, in other UNMISS bases across the country as well as in the bordering countries. Or aren’t all people of South Sudan should be equal, before those institutions legal courts in Juba? Once more, I am of the opinion that PEACE should be priority. To right away, suspend all these divisive and calamitous programs until peace is agreed in Addis Ababa. Yes, Benydit’s homestead wasn’t reached by the conflict, I know. However, should this be the reason why it is widely being considered that, a slight damage in one part of the body cannot affect the whole system in the same body? “There is no need to wait for invisible IGAD-led peace process; what we can do now, is to alternatively eye what is written in the constitution and implement it, accordingly”. The later, was an official statement (plan) by Kiir’s administration and openly announced by the regime’s Spokesman, Mr. Michael Kuei Lueth. A plan which in two days later, forwarded to Mr. Abendego Akok Kachuol, the South Sudan Election Commission’s Chairperson, for implementation. Is this what the Government and Elections Commission are inspiring to do? Okay, if Kiir;s administration and Election Commission are indeed working in accordance to South Sudan Transitional constitution, 2011, as they claim, let’s just take a quick look and see whether or not they are really doing it right.

Squarely to the point, in South Sudan Transitional Constitution, 2011, Article193 (2) it is stipulated that there shall be National Bureau of Statistics which shall be an independent statistics bureau authorized, inter alia, to:

(b) Conduct census throughout South Sudan states before general elections. This also reads together on the same page with Article 194 that says “The National Government shall during the Transitional period conduct a population census the outcome of which shall, inter alia, determine the number of electoral constituencies for the next general elections. Have these censuses been done—conducted in accordance with Article 193 (2) (b) and Article 194 quoted above respectively? Of course, they haven’t been conducted. Therefore, if the government and its Election Commission are indeed working in accordance with South Sudan Transitional Constitution, 2011, then they must first of all:

(1) See to it that, the Republic of South Sudan’s permanent constitution is in place;

(2) Conduct the population censuses, which shall determine the number of electoral constituencies for general elections as clearly stipulated in Article 193 (2) (b) & Article 194 respectively; and

(3) Then hold South Sudan’s General Elections.

All these legal (constitutional) requirements must be put in place. As you have seen, elections come last of all, in the above mentioned number (1), (2) & (3)!! Because in procedures, particularly in legal institutions, whatever comes first is always done the first one before the second, the third...etc. Thereafter, all would-be able South Sudanese people including the author shall freely vote in well organized, procedural, free and fair general elections. Now, if such procedures are not followed as constitutionally stipulated, then June 30th 2015 general elections are being organized not in accordance with South Sudan’s current Transitional Constitution. But in accordance with a constitution of Kiir’s administration alone and its Election Commission which they might have written somewhere, perhaps in Akon.

The author, Bol Khan, is a civil/human rights and peace activist. He can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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