Representatives from civil society organizations in Upper Nile state in an UNMISS workshop raising awareness about the process leading up to scheduled elections. Photo by Samson Liberty/UNMISS.
UPPER NILE – Elections are essential for democratic governance. However, for the process to work, voter and civic education on everyone’s rights and responsibilities are necessary.
In its continuous efforts to support South Sudanese citizens on their journey to peace and prosperity, the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), through its Civil Affairs Division in Malakal, recently invited civil society organizations along with returnees and youth representatives in Upper Nile to participate in a two-day workshop about electoral preparations.
“We are looking forward to taking part in this upcoming first-ever event. We hope the groundwork on the national level is in progress to ensure that voting will take place despite any challenges that might occur,” said a somewhat sceptical Ruot Lul Kuar, one of the youth representatives.
In addition to its main topic, the training, attended by some 45 participants and held at the Upper Nile University, covered several other areas, including conflict management, and mediation to help activists carry out their roles and engage with local authorities and other relevant stakeholders.
“As UNMISS, we are here to provide technical support in organizing intercounty activities and implement the action plan that resulted from a previous workshop. Follow-up meeting are planned to make sure progress is made, views exchanged, and challenges pointed out,” explained Yoseph Damena, a Civil Affairs Officer serving with the peacekeeping mission.
Upper Nile State’s civil society forum welcomed the initiative and stressed the necessity to replicate it to create awareness and readiness throughout the different phases of the election process.
“We appeal to the transitional government to expedite the formation of the independent electoral commission, voters’ registration, implementation of the security reforms and redeployment of the Necessary Unified Forces to create a conducive atmosphere for credible and fair elections,” concluded Simon Ador, Interim Chairperson of the Civil Society Group in Malakal.