Juba — South Sudan's electoral commission has confirmed lack of funds to organize the scheduled 2015 elections, reiterating fears that the exercise may not take place unless the government finances the body.
The chief electoral officer, Mac Micah Deng, on Thursday told the press that the commission which is tasked to organise the elections has not even done the important basic structures in preparation for the elections due to lack of funds.
"The commission has not yet established a secretariat... there are no high level committees established in the states to make the preparations," he said, warning that their time-frame may not go as planned.
Deng said holding a credible election needs proper planning and logistics which are currently lacking while they only have 15 months to hit 2015.
The commission was this year extended for another year after the first six months elapsed since its formation last year without a start.
The electoral chief further explained that even the required membership of the commission has not been met due to the lack of funds to employ them.
His response came a day after the chairman of the National Bureau of Statistics, Isaiah Chol Aruai, warned that the 2015 elections may not take place due to lack of funds which hinders the constitutionally required population census exercise as a prerequisite for the elections.
The population census result would determine the number of constituencies which should be redistributed to the currently crowded national parliament of 350 members; some appointed.
The electoral officer however said it would be up to the parliament to decide whether the first post-independence elections should take place without the census.
Observers questioned the political will of the leadership to hold the elections, saying they may use lack of funds as excuses for not holding the elections and may push it to 2017 as already floated.
The election official however said whether there was a political will or not to hold the 2015 elections was not his commission's responsibility, adding that the president of the republic, Salva Kiir Mayardit, or justice and information ministers were the right leaders to answer.
SPLM RULING PARTY NOT READIED FOR ELECTIONS
The ruling Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) has not yet readied itself for the 2015 elections as there are a number of activities that the party needs to overcome.
The ruling party, which is yet to legally register as a political party in the new republic, should first pass its basic documents such as the constitution, manifesto, code of conduct and rules and regulations in series of meetings of the political bureau, national liberation council and extra-ordinary convention, respectively.
However, SPLM has stuck with the transformation process as the top leaders failed the test of the transition process which may result to foregoing seats, hence dragging their feet.
The last meeting of the highest executive organ, the political bureau, was convened in March this year, which resulted to disagreements over how to approach the transformational process as senior officials including the former vice-president, Riek Machar, wanted to replace the current chairman Salva Kiir.
President Kiir reacted in July by stripping Machar of his position as the deputy president, but the former VP is still at large as the first deputy chairman for the ruling party.
An official in the SPLM national secretariat on Thursday told the Sudan Tribune that they were ready, waiting for the directives from chairman Kiir on the date to convene the series of party meetings starting with the political bureau.
Observers say Kiir seems reluctant to call for the party meetings given the internal opposition against his bid to go for the third term in office.
They also underline that any move from Kiir to seek a guaranteed support from the army in case he takes serious actions against his party rivals, may create troubles within the SPLA as the army's chief of general staff, Gen James Hoth Mai, and others say the military should not interfere in politics.