‘Implement peace agreement before elections’-CEPO’s Yakani
Edmund Yakani, the Executive Director of the Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO), has rubbished the suggestion by the Jieng Council of Elders (JCE) that the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS) be shelved and elections held immediately as a recipe for disaster.
“The idea of elections to choose leaders is a good thing. But the big question is; are the security and political environments conducive for the holding of elections? The answer will be no!” Yakani said.
“The political and security situations are not favorable for conducting elections. Why? Because we don’t have a unified army. We have many armed forces who answer to their leaderships, armed fragmented groups, and various militias,” Yakani explained. “We also have many political parties, many of which are briefcase entities. So which parties can contest genuinely and which one cannot. There are also no laws in place.”
He said that holding elections without uniting the armed forces, without laws governing elections, or without organized political parties will undoubtedly lead the country back to a perilous path to war, chaos, and anarchy.
Yakani said, “People will make formations along tribal lines and groupings which will not work. I agree that elections are good, important and it is good for the people to choose their leaders but I will not agree to hasty and unorganized elections. It will lead to chaos.”
According to the outspoken activist, the peace agreement must be implemented in its form.
“After doing that, the resultant peace will create a conducive environment for holding free and fair elections. The armed forces will have been united and laws will be in place. This is how we can have a new political dispensation in the country,” Yakani emphasized.
Asked about the JCE position statement, Yakani said, “They have a right to speak. I believe every individual or group of people has a right to speak. Freedom of speech is a fundamental human right. I don’t agree that they should be harassed or questioned about why they said this or that. As a group, they have their rights.”