JUBA — South Sudan government has said that President Salva Kiir Mayardit and his first deputy — Dr. Riek Machar Teny, who doubles as the leader of the main armed opposition SPLM-IO — will meet to decide on the fate of the highly disputed 2023 elections.
This is after the UN Secretary General Antonio Gutteres called on the two men to agree on the fate of the elections to bring to an end the dispute surrounding the question of whether elections will be conducted at the end of the transitional period.
Speaking to reporters following the weekly cabinet meeting on Friday, Michael Makuei Lueth, the minister of information, said the parties to the agreement will decide on the final decision on the elections process.
“This question has been hanging forever and it is not within our [jurisdiction] to decide on it. It is the [duty] of the parties to the agreement and this was even raised in the R-JMEC [meeting] and it was agreed by the parties to the agreement that the principles of the agreement are the ones to come out with their final report or decision on the issue of the election,” he told reporters.
Makuei who is also the government spokesman said the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) faction is for conduct of elections at the end of the transitional period in 2023.
“SPLM is straightforward that it is for elections but the positions of other parties are not clear and this is what we are waiting for from them,” he added.
Gutteres called on the parties in a report to the UN Security Council on the situation in South Sudan to engage in discussion regarding the transition.
“I call upon the parties to immediately engage in a broad-based discussion and agree as soon as possible on a clear road map for the end of the transitional period,” Gutteres said in a 18-page document.
The UN chief further urged “the government to prioritize this aspect and provide the necessary funds to the security mechanisms to enable, as soon as possible, the graduation, deployment and operationalization of the necessary unified forces.”