South Sudan Safari - Episode 17 (MP3)

Dr Lomuro On Importance of Election:"..This election is an implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and all of us as South Sudanese know what the CPA means to us..."

South Sudan Safari - Episode 17

 

The Importance of 2010 Elections to South Sudanese   

Welcome to South Sudan Safari. My name is Rebecca Yom Chor and I am Chris Olet. In our sixteenth edition of South Sudan Safari series, we will be widely talking about elections.

Sudan is currently under a transitional period following the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement CPA in January 9, 2005 that officially ended the civil war between the South and the North. The newly- formed National Legislature whose members were chosen in mid 2005 has two chambers and consists of 450 appointed members who represent the government. The Council of State has 50 members who are indirectly elected by the state legislatures, all members of the National Legislatures serve a six-year term. The 2010 general elections are going to be the first election for the people of South Sudan after 26 years. South Sudan Safari’s Clement Lochio Lomornana asked the Chairman of Southern Sudan High Election Committee, Mr Caesar Arkanjelo about the importance of this election to the people of South Sudan.

Arkanjelo: The spreading of a democratic process on the ground is to enable our communities to be the key decision makers. This is because it is them who will start by electing the President of the Republic of Sudan then they will elect the president of the Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS) and then elect our members of parliament to the Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly and in their respective states. They will participate in electing their Governors and their members to the State Assembly. So it is a great role for the citizens who are going to participate for the first time to put someone in a position of power and that is why I say they are the key decision makers.

Lomornana: What is the importance of voting in the forthcoming general elections?

Arkanjelo: Well, the importance of voting is that it enables one to express his or her view. For instance if you would like one Mr X to go represent you and you don’t like one Mr Y, not because of hate but because you think Mr Y will not deliver if voted into power and he goes to whatever assembly he will not be able to deliver in terms of developing your area. So why vote him in? This is the importance of the voting card. It is a time card, in fact.

Lomornana: How will the Southern Sudan Electoral Commission promote and safeguard a representative democracy in South Sudan?

Arkanjelo: Well, that is a big issue, which has to involve all the stakeholders and is part of good governance being put into practice. So those to put the security in place are our security organs. With this all of them are going to be involved to see to it that we hold free and fair elections.

Lomornana: How best will you deliver in the forthcoming elections to meet international standards?

Arkanjelo: Well, I will not profess that we can meet the international standards, but what we are doing is just at the infant stages and more still needs to be done. The international standards to those people took years and years to achieve and we would like to do something that will be appreciated by our people.

Lomornana:  Do you believe the real election process is going to be free and fair?

Arkanjelo: Well, that depends on all of us. For sure we are encountering a lot of problems especially in the South in terms of security and our communities are still having inter-ethnic conflicts, and with the ten days of the chiefs’ conference that was held in May in Bentiu, the Government of Southern Sudan has made a lot of efforts to ensure that the traditional authorities of our traditional leaders are replaced so that they can play their rightful role in maintaining security like they used to do in the past. In the past, they used to be very important in the maintenance of security at very little cost. However, after the war and the peace deal, things have changed a lot. So in the South we have the will and then there will be the way. So what we did in Bentiu was to implement all the resolutions to it, and therefore this in turn will help us go a very long way in terms of security and hence provide a conducive environment for a free and fair elections in our country.

Lomornana: Is it positive for all South Sudanese above the age of 18 to have a valid access to vote?

Arkanjelo: Sure. However, there are some conditions because this is an election which is being run at a very critical moment and we have to make sure whoever is voting is from a particular constituency and all those voting have the valid required documents from the police and from their respective chiefs. This will help in identification of the person’s origin and where he/ she has being living for the required period by the election law.

Lomornana: Now with the absence of the required documents in the countryside, what will be the right step to be followed?

Arkanjelo:  During the chiefs’ conference held in Bentiu, it was made very clear with directives from the President of the Government of Southern Sudan that the authorities concerned with the provision of these identification documents work hand in hand with the traditional leaders, chiefs and traditional authorities to see to it that all our community members who are eligible to vote have the required documents.

Yom:  That was Clement Lochio Lomornana talking to the Chairperson of the South Sudan High Election committee Mr Caesar Arkanjelo.
 

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