JUBA, JANUARY 26th 2023 (SUDANS POST) – South Sudan’s outspoken activist Peter Biar Ajak has welcomed a formal request by his country’s government for electoral assistance from the UN, saying the world body has obligation to help ensure that South Sudan’s first polls since independence are free and fair.
South Sudan government in a letter addressed to the UN mission in the country on Tuesday asked for electoral assistance and announced preparatory plans for what is expected to be a highly contentious election between President Salva Kiir Mayardit and First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar Teny.
When asked by Sudans Post for his opinion on the government move, Biar who is currently in the United States welcomed the government request and stressed that the UN has obligation to help ensure that the country’s first elections are free and fair.
“I am glad South Sudan’s Government is formally requesting support of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) for assistance to ensure elections are finally held next year after being delayed for the 5th time since independence,” Biar told Sudans Post.
“It shows that the Government understands that it cannot continue ruling the country illegitimately, and instead of waiting for the international community to tie its hands, it has decided to ask for help,” he said, adding that “I believe UNMISS has a responsibility to help ensure that South Sudan’s first ever democratic elections are free and fair.”
While calling on the UN Security Council to incorporate electoral assistance into the UNMISS mandate, Biar called on the government in Juba to take necessary steps such as ensuring that critical electoral reforms are implemented.
“The responsibility is now with the UN Security Council to incorporate this request into the reauthorization of UNMISS mandate and ensure that the support to elections in South Sudan is comprehensive,” he said.
“In addition, the Government must now demonstrate that it is serious about ensuring free and fair elections do take place, including by opening up the political space, freeing detained journalists and activists, and implementing critical reforms essential to holding elections!” the activist concluded.
Sudans Post is an independent, young, and grass roots news media organization aimed at providing readers with an alternate depiction of events that occur on Sudan, South Sudan and East Africa, and to establish an engaging social platform for readers to discover and discuss the various issues that impact the two countries and the region.