As South Sudan begins gearing up for its first post-independence elections in December 2024, it’s now more vital than ever before for all citizens to be fully aware of the current political landscape as well as the status of outstanding benchmarks contained within the Revitalized Peace Agreement of 2018.
In Western Equatoria state, therefore, the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) partnered with Wakeup South Sudan, to raise awareness on the current state of play through a series of workshops that gave participants the chance to understand and own peace processes in this young nation, especially electoral preparations.
“These sessions went a long way in equipping us with greater knowledge on what our leaders are doing to prepare for our first general elections,” said Ismail Wanja Damana, an elder from Mvolo county.
“We shall share the knowledge we gained within our communities, so that other people become well-informed as well,” he added.
Joyce Angbatika Bullen, another participant, highlighted the criticality of full and equal participation by all citizens, especially women, to ensure that the elections are free, fair and credible.
“It is a wake-up call for our country. Our involvement as women is vital and with information we acquired today, we are very well equipped to lobby for our right to shape our country’s future,” stated Joyce passionately.
The initiative was highly commended, with participants hoping for more such similar sessions to be made available to the public.
“It is up to us as South Sudanese to take the lead in building the nation we want to live in and we are grateful for the support we are receiving from our partners in peace,” averred Charles Elisama, Commissioner of Ibba county.
Pastor Stephen Mwangi, a facilitator from Wakeup South Sudan, agreed.
“We are touring across the state to sensitize citizens on the status of peace implementation and elections because we know that many citizens lack knowledge about their roles and responsibilities. We need to empower votes,” he stressed.
For his part, Rudolf Esombu Effange, a Civil Affairs Officer with the UN Peacekeeping mission, reiterated Pastor Mwangi’s sentiments.
“Informed electors form the backbone of any polling process,” he affirmed.
The training was rolled out across 10 counties in Western Equatoria with 30 participants attending each session.Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).