The ‘permanent’ Constitution need not be a prerequisite for holding elections in South Sudan

The Sudd Institute

Author: Joseph Geng Akech

Type: Weekly Reviews

Date: 22/03/2022


Publication Summary

On March 1st, 2022, the Sudd Institute – one of Africa’s top think-tanks based in Juba, South Sudan, published a Weekly Review entitled’ Democratic Elections in South Sudan. In that review, Dr Augustino T. Mayai, Prof Matthew LeRiche and William Underwood, a PhD student, raised emerging arguments against holding elections without certain precursors being put in place. In brief, they:

  • Argue that certain fundamentals (election laws, adoption of a ‘permanent’ Constitution, population census, security sector reforms, return and resettlement of the displaced and refugees, political parties’ registration) have not been put in place;
  • Contend that while these milestones are important, ‘the process, credibility, and associated legitimacy the elections need to produce are the most important elements rather than precise timing’; and
  • Recommend open and transparent dialogue on elections including ‘opinion polling’ to gather and synthesise public perspectives on the elections process.

I applaud the authors and concur with their views expressed in that Weekly Review. This Review, therefore, complements these perspectives and recommendations on whether elections should be held. 


Joseph Geng Akech's Biography

Joseph Geng Akech is a passionate South Sudanese human rights lawyer. He holds Diploma in community development, (KISWCD, Kenya), Bachelor of Laws (BU, Uganda), LLM in human rights and democratisation in Africa, with distinction (Pretoria, South Africa) and PhD (doctoral) researcher on constitution building in fragile states. His research interests are in constitutional law, human rights, transitional justice and peace building. Joseph’s doctoral research is entitled ‘foreign influence and the legitimacy of constitution building in South Sudan’ which interrogates international involvement and the legitimacy of resulting permanent constitution in the world’s newest nation. Joseph has published numerous articles and chapters in books on constitutionalism and peacebuilding. He can be reached on


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