A leading think-tank has predicted that elections in South Sudan will likely be conducted in 2024, following years of delay and uncertainty. The International Crisis Group (ICG), a non-profit organization that works to prevent conflicts and promote peace, released a report on Monday outlining the political and security challenges facing the country ahead of the elections.
The report notes that the formation of a transitional government in February 2020, after months of negotiations between the government and opposition groups, has provided a window of opportunity for progress toward democratic elections. However, the peace agreement implementation has been slow and uneven, with many critical tasks yet to be completed.
One of the key challenges facing the country is the lack of a permanent constitution, which is required to provide a legal framework for the electoral process. The current transitional constitution, which was adopted in 2011, has been criticized for its ambiguity and inadequate protections for human rights and democratic institutions.
The ICG report also highlights the security risks posed by armed groups and intercommunal violence, which have escalated in recent years and threaten to derail the peace process. The proliferation of small arms and the absence of effective law enforcement has created a volatile environment, particularly in rural areas.
Despite these challenges, the ICG argues that there are reasons to be cautiously optimistic about the prospect of elections in 2024. The report cites the positive momentum generated by the peace agreement, the commitment of the parties to the process, and the growing pressure from the international community to deliver on democratic reforms.
However, the ICG also emphasizes the need for sustained international engagement and support to ensure that the elections are free, fair, and inclusive. This includes assistance in the areas of electoral management, constitutional reform, and security sector reform, as well as efforts to promote civic education and participation.
The prospect of democratic elections in South Sudan has been eagerly awaited by many, including civil society groups, opposition parties, and the international community. The country has been embroiled in a brutal civil war since 2013, which has killed tens of thousands of people and displaced millions. The peace agreement signed in 2018, and the subsequent formation of a transitional government, raised hopes for a new era of stability and prosperity.
However, the road to democratic elections remains long and challenging, and there are many obstacles that could derail the process. The ICG report serves as a timely reminder of the importance of sustained and coordinated efforts by all stakeholders to overcome these challenges and ensure a peaceful and democratic future for South Sudan.
The think-tank’s prediction of the conduct of the election in 2024 is a positive sign that the country is on the path toward peace and democracy. However, it will require significant efforts by all stakeholders to overcome the challenges and deliver a credible electoral process. The international community has an important role to play in supporting these efforts and ensuring that the aspirations of the people of South Sudan are realized.