Strong political parties key in the democracy of South Sudan, says NCAC
Strong national political party laws will help in the democratic processes of the Republic of South Sudan, the National Constitution Amendment Committee (NCAC) has said.
Speaking when he received submissions from representative of 12 South Sudan National Political Parties on Thursday, the NCAC Chairperson, Mr. Gichira Kibara said political parties are a key component in the democratic process of any nation and “South Sudan is not an exception.”
“Your submissions are very important to us. The amendment of the Political Parties Act is to ensure enable environment for democratic practice including free and fair representation, which involves having viable political parties. Political parties must be able to register but the law must regulate those parties,” he said.
The chairperson thanked the parties for submitting their views, which he said, will help the committee in drafting the amendment to the Political Parties Act.
The views from the political parties are part of a wider consultative mechanism by the NCAC among South Sudan stakeholders.
“We have a very short period for doing the work we are doing and that’s why we gave tight deadline for submissions and we are happy you met the deadline. This is a public process. We are going to consider the views of everyone else just like yours,” he said.
“The overall aim is to stable South Sudan where there is peace, security and democracy, which the Peace Agreement sought to address.”
On his part, Bol Makueng from the SPLM thanked the committee for its quest to consider the views of the country’s political parties.
“I believe good political parties laws will lay grounds for democracy. We are happy that we presented our views.,” he said.
Teresa Sirisio, National Chairperson of Sudan African National Union (SANU) said “ We are glad that the committee is involving all stakeholders specially the political parties to be part and parcel of this process. It is for first times that all registered political parties have come up with one voice in such a document that we are presenting to you today.”
The ARCSS provides for the regulation of Political Parties. Chapter 1 Article 13 of the Peace Agreement establishes the National Constitutional Amendment Committee (NCAC) and mandates it to draft amendments to the Constitution and relevant legislation to ensure they conform to the Agreement.
Article 16.1 provides that the NCAC review the Political Parties Act, 2012, and ensure that the Act complies with international best practices for the free and democratic registration of Political Parties in South Sudan, no later than six (6) months after the signing of the Agreement and present to the Assembly for adoption.
The Act shall permit the open registration of Parties until twelve (12) months prior to National Elections. The Agreement also requires the executive of the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU) to reconstitute the Political Parties Council not later than 2 months after the amendment of the Act. Article 16.3 of the Peace Agreement further provides that the National Elections Act, 2012 shall be amended to conform to the terms of this Agreement, no later than six (6) months following the signature of this Agreement.