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Ex-minister calls for free and fair elections in South Sudan

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October 21, 2020 (JUBA) – A former South Sudanese Petroleum minister has said free and fair elections will resolve the country’ woes.

Ezekiel Gatkuoth (ST)

In an op-ed published on October 21, Ezekiel Lol Gatkouth says the elections should be in line with regional and international conventions, including African Charter on Democracy and Elections.

“For this to happen, we must first agree on a process to disarm and rehabilitate armed combatants; for they too have a right to participate in South Sudan’s future, so long as they commit to peace and to a democratic future,” said Gatkouth.

He added, “Second, we must complete a credible population census to ensure that every eligible voter is accounted for and duly given the right to cast their ballot,”

Gatkouth, a former South Sudanese diplomat to the United States, called for the need undertake a comprehensive voter registration drive so that the voting population is properly accounted for.

“Only after these steps have been completed can we then organize a truly free and fair election – one that will make both our country and the world proud,” he stated.

The former minister was one of the groups of the former political detainees jailed and later released for alleged involvement in a coup that saw civil war break out in South Sudan in December 2013.

Gatkouth also lauded President Salva Kiir’s leadership, saying his government is committed to bring peace to the country at all costs.

He, however, accuse some opposition groups that signed the historic 2018 peace agreement with the government of working against the interest of the country’s citizens having rejected the peace accord.

“To be sure, the lack of a unified opposition voice – one that is collectively lifted in good faith – has made the work of the mediators increasingly difficult. Nevertheless, the government stands ready to make peace and to negotiate with any rebel faction to achieve it,” he argued.

Meanwhile, the former South Sudanese Petroleum minister called upon the African Union (AU), United Nations, Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), and the broader international community to help South Sudan to make sure that this election is free and fair – that it is transparent and accountable to our people.

“Our people rightly deserve an election in which nobody feels cheated, and in which all factions prove their commitment to ending war and prospering in peace,” he further stressed.

(ST)

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Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.


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