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JUST-IN: Election commission office faces eviction over unpaid rent

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Professor Abednego Akok, Chairman of South Sudan Elections commission

JUBA, FEBRUARY 18TH, 2022 — The National Elections Commission has appealed to the National Ministry Finance and Planning to clear a three-year rent arrears or
they face eviction, the Chairperson of the National Elections Commission has said.

Professor Abednego Akok said the commission owes a landlord over $540,000 in rent for three years.

This excludes rentals for the state branch offices.

Akok also said the majority of staff have not been reporting to work, citing non-payment of their monthly salaries.

“We have been claiming for three years until now that it has not been released by the ministry of finance, they would say come tomorrow, come tomorrow until now. As you have seen, there was even no light here,” Abednego Akok told Eye Radio.

“When the office rent was being paid by the USAID, it was $15,000 per a month. Now, we are being threatened to be thrown out at any time, if the owner feels like doing it.

“If they don’t release the money the owner will throw us out and we will be running like the political parties, when they were out, they came here and now they have settled.

“Even in the ten states, we don’t have offices there, they have been sent out by the landlords because they have never paid their office rent for a number of years.”

Professor Akok went on to call on both the government and development partners to construct a permanent building for the National Elections Commission.

“It is very unfortunate that the civil war caused one of our supporters to abandon us, the IFES (International Foundation for Electoral Systems),” Akok said.

“IFES is an American USAID body which supports elections in Africa or in the world, and which really rented this place from the first days, and all these furniture belong to IFES.

“If they [IFES] come back, we will really be happy with them because they can support us, even the internet. But during the civil war they stopped all these, then they said they are only concerned about peace, not with elections.

“I made a call last time to donors (and gov’t) that I don’t want money, but you bring your material, come and build for us, if you build for us a building, hand it over to us, if they do that, it is much better than hiring, we have a plot is near the Sudanese embassy.”

According to the revitalized peace agreement, no later than twelve months after the commencement of the Transitional Period, the President, in consultation with the Parties and with the approval of the new parliament, shall reconstitute a competent and impartial National Elections Commission to conduct elections.

However, the commission is yet to be reconstituted.

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