RJMEC Urges AU Peace and Security Council to Prioritize Support for South Sudan’s Democratic Transition
The chairperson of the Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (RJMEC), Amb. Gen. (rtd) Charles Tai Gituai, called upon the African Union Peace and Security Council to concentrate its efforts on South Sudan and provide essential support to institutions crucial for the upcoming elections.
In his address to the Council in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Amb. Gen. Gituai highlighted that South Sudan is scheduled to hold its first democratic elections in December 2024 since gaining independence in 2011.
He emphasized that this milestone is eagerly anticipated yet accompanied by significant expectations and concerns.
Amb. Gen. Gituai outlined two critical pre-conditions that are currently pending. Firstly, the revitalized agreement stipulates that elections should be conducted under a people-led and people-owned Permanent Constitution, initiating a federal and democratic system of government at the conclusion of the Transitional Period.
Secondly, the unification of forces and their redeployment to ensure elections-related security and stability. However, the process of force unification is facing substantial challenges, despite its pivotal importance for enduring peace and stability.
The RJMEC chairperson emphasized that the recently reconstituted Political Parties Council (PPC), National Constitutional Review Commission (NCRC), and National Elections Commission (NEC) require substantial resources and capacity to effectively fulfill their mandates.
Amb. Gen. Gituai stated, “Their effectiveness will pave the way for the registration, oversight, and regulation of political parties’ activities, the expansion of civic and political space, the development of a permanent constitution, and the smooth conduct of elections as scheduled.
However, without predictable and adequate funding for the implementation of the Agreement, including the Unified Forces and the recently reconstituted institutions, there is concern that South Sudan might face challenges meeting the implementation schedule of the R-ARCSS, which could seriously jeopardize the December 2024 elections.”
In light of these pressing issues, Amb. Gen. Gituai appealed to the Council to engage with AU members and the AU C5, as guarantors of the Revitalized Peace Agreement, to enhance their political involvement with the parties and the transitional government.
Their intervention and encouragement are essential to ensure the completion of critical pending tasks, particularly force unification and the development of the permanent constitution, enabling South Sudan to smoothly transition to a democratic dispensation.
Furthermore, Amb. Gen. Gituai underscored the crucial role that the Council and other international partners can play in supporting South Sudan’s democratic transition.
He emphasized the urgent need for all stakeholders, including the Council, IGAD, and international partners, to focus their attention and proactively fulfill their roles in guaranteeing a successful transition to a democratic dispensation in South Sudan.
With collective dedication and support, South Sudan can overcome the challenges it faces and achieve a peaceful, inclusive, and democratic future.