August 14, 2012 (JUBA) - Members of the Nuer Youth Association (NYA) have strongly opposed the membership of the recently formed National Elections Commission (NEC), alleging that most of the appointees lack the legal requirements as stipulated in South Sudan’s Elections Act 2012.
- A Sudanese woman casts her ballot at an outdoor polling station in the village of Dulab in Upper Nile state, April 12, 2010 (Reuters)
South Sudan President, Salva Kiir, in a decree issued on 1 August, announced the formation of the nine-member NEC, to be chaired by Abednego Akok Kacuol. The NEC, will among other roles, oversee the country’s next elections due in 2015.
In a statement to Sudan Tribune, Choul Wal, the chairman of NYA said by appointing the new NEC members, President Kiir “infringed” an agreement his ruling party (SPLM) reached with the other political parties and the civil society fraternity.
According to Wal, on 26 July, representatives from various political parties and civil society groups, met to consult on the formation of the NEC during a meeting reportedly chaired by the Vice President, Riek Machar.
“In that meeting, all stakeholders unanimously agreed on nine names that would be appointed to the National Election Commission,” he said, adding that the persons agreed upon, in the presence of Machar, were people who passed the test of “impartiality, non-partisanship and integrity.”
However, out of the nine names reportedly agreed upon, the Nuer youth leader says only the current NEC chairman was among them.
Wal said the President should have consulted South Sudan’s political parties and civil society members before the formation of the NEC, as stipulated in South Sudan’s Transitional Constitution, which came into law on 9 July, 2011 when the country seceded from Sudan.
“Consulting other political forces and civil society organizations is a legal duty bestowed upon the President of the Republic to ensure compliance with the Transitional Constitution,” the Nuer youth leader told Sudan Tribune.
The National Elections Act, he emphasized, demands that any person appointed to serve on the NEC, should not be affiliated to any political party.
He further warned that against a repeat of what happened in previous elections, where aggrieved candidates opted to rebel instead of petitioning the electoral process. He cited Jonglei State where the late renegade Gen. George Athor rebelled against the state governor, after he lost the gubernatorial elections and claimed it was
Edmund Yakani, a civil society activist told Sudan Tribune on Tuesday that he largely doubts the competency of some members within the recently formed electoral body.
“To manage elections, one needs to have certain skills and experience if the process is to be widely viewed as credible. I also feel the President should have maintained some of the officials who handle[d] the 2010 general elections,” he said.
Yakani, also Program Coordinator for Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO), also said that too few members had been appointed considering the amount of work they have to do.
Below is the list of National Election Commission’s members.
- Engineer. Abednego Akok Kacuol | Chairperson
- Ms. Jersa Kide Barsaba | Deputy
- Mr. Mac Maica Deng | Chief Electoral Officer
- Ms. Akur Julia Ajuoi Magot | Member
- Mr. Anthony Mogga | Member
- Mr. Paul Marial Dot | Member
- Mr. Lawrence Sulubia Amin | Member
- Mr. John Dak Puok | Member
- Mr. Lawrence Deng Aluat | Member