Machar ‘ready’ for elections but has no space to practice politics – spokesman
South Sudan's main armed opposition Sudan People's Liberation Movement in Opposition SPLM-IO led by First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar Teny has said that the group is ready for elections but does not have a political space to exercises its political rights.
JUBA – South Sudan’s main armed opposition Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition SPLM-IO led by First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar Teny has said that the group is ready for elections but does not have a political space to exercises its political rights.
Speaking during a morning radio show with the Eye Radio, SPLM-IO Director of Information and Public Relations Puok Both Baluang said his group is ready for elections, but there is no conducive environment for the group to exercise its political rights.
“We, as the SPLM-IO, we are ready for elections but before jumping into the elections, we need to make sure that a conducive environment is at place so that the people of South Sudan have the liberty to elect the leaders that they think that they can lead them in the future,” Baluang said.
“All the freedoms must be there, the freedom of speech, freedom of association so forth. I cannot go outside now and yell SPLM-IO viva at night because there is no political space in the country,” he added.
He also said there is need for a permanent constitution and that the refugees should repatriated to take part in the country’s transition to peace.
“We also need to have a permanent constitution in place before talking about elections. South Sudanese [returnees] must return back first so that they can take part in the elections. We also need to conduct a census,” he said.
“Our members are being harassed in different areas in South Sudan. When SPLM-IO in Northern Bahr el Ghazal, Aweil, was conducting a meeting, the security came to shut down the meeting,” he added.
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