National Election Commission (NEC) commissioners are joined by U.S. Ambassador Susan D. Page and UN Special Representative of the Secretary General Hilde F. Johnson during the inauguration ceremony for the NEC's new offices in Juba, South Sudan.
The National Elections Commission (NEC) of the Republic of South Sudan inaugurated its new temporary offices on Tuesday, January 22, 2013, before an assembly of distinguished government officials and members of the international community with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and IFES.
Following the enactment of the National Elections Act in July 2012, NEC Commissioners were appointed by President Salva Kiir Mayardit on August 1; confirmed by the National Legislative Assembly on August 28; and sworn-in on October 31, 2012. NEC Chairperson Professor Abednego Akok Kacuol opened the ceremony by introducing Deputy Chairperson Jersa Kide Barsaba, Chief Electoral Officer Mac Maika, and the other Commissioners.
Congratulatory remarks were delivered by U.S. Ambassador Susan D. Page, United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS) Special Representative of the Secretary General Hilde F. Johnson and Central Equatoria State Deputy Governor Manase Lomole. The honored speakers welcomed the establishment of the NEC; recognized the diligent work of the Commissioners; and stressed the importance of building democratic institutions that would ensure transparent electoral processes, political freedom and justice in serving the people of the Republic of South Sudan.
Additional honored presenters included the Speaker of the Council of States Honorable Joseph Bol Chan and former-Sudan NEC Chairperson Abel Alier. Both speakers emphasized the need to establish and respect long-lasting political and electoral institutions.
During the keynote address, the Chief Justice of the Judiciary of South Sudan Chan Reec Madut encouraged the Commissioners to build their technical skills with international electoral assistance, conduct civic education throughout the country, and work hard to change the tribal mindset by developing genuine democratic practices in South Sudan. The NEC was formally inaugurated with an unveiling of the new logo by Chief Justice Madut and Chairperson Kacuol.
With funding from USAID, IFES' South Sudan program has been providing electoral administration support to South Sudan since 2009. IFES is currently engaged with the NEC in providing technical and material assistance to develop its capacity for conducting future electoral events. IFES activities thus far have included guidance on internal structure, budgeting, new offices and equipment.