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 renewed threats that it won’t participate in the would-be 2023 general elections unless the revitalized peace agreement is fully implemented.
Speaking during the launch of the SPLM-IO membership registration in Juba on Saturday, SPLM-IO deputy chairman and first deputy head of the transitional national legislative assembly, Oyet Nathaniel Pierino, said his group is not afraid of elections but wants the peace deal to be first implemented.
“We are not afraid of going for elections in this country. In fact, in 2013, we were calling for elections because the only election which was held in South Sudan was held when we were Southern Sudan in 2010,” Oyet said during his party’s membership registration launch.
“We don’t want an election which is not free, and which is not fair to take place in South Sudan. We want an election which is credible, an election which grantees the rights and inspirations of the people of South Sudan, an election where South Sudanese will have an opportunity to vote for the leaders of their choices and not anybody choosing for them the leaders,” he said.
He said the main armed opposition group does not want to rush into elections in a bid to avoid the reoccurrence of the 2010 elections disputes which sparked rebellions in Jonglei, Unity and some parts of Upper Nile states.
“In 2010, you know what happened, all of us were in the SPLM, in many states, elections did not go well, for instance in Jonglei, fighting emerged out of election,” the senior opposition official and top lawmaker further said.
“Today, you have what you call Greater Pibor Administrative Area. It came out of disputes over elections. In Western Equatoria, we had problems due to elections. In Central Equatoria, there was a problem,” he added.