Perceptions of Peace, Marginalization and Elections in Yei: Findings from a Series of...

Authors: David Deng, Sophia Dawkins, Christopher Oringa and Jan Pospisil

This policy brief draws on a series of four opinion polls conducted between 2021 and 2023 by Detcro and the Peace and Conflict Resolution Evidence Platform (PeaceRep). The polls captured the views of 13,325 people from 15 counties across all 10 states and one special administrative area, encompassing urban, rural and IDP camp environments. Respondents were asked questions about their daily experiences of safety based on indicators of everyday peace developed through qualitative research during the project’s inception phase. They also shared their views on a wide range of governance and security topics, including the prospect of national elections.

Key findings:

  • Opinion polling data shows an improvement in perceptions of peace and safety in recent years, though male respondents expressed far lower levels of safety than female respondents.
  • 40% of respondents in Yei in 2023 believe that South Sudan is at peace, a dramatic increase since 2021.
  • Respondents in Yei feel marginalized by the national government, with only 15% believing that the national government cares about their community.
  • There are diverse political viewpoints in Yei, suggesting it could be a contested constituency in upcoming 2024 elections.
  • Fear of election-related violence persists, although in Yei, the perceived risk has decreased in recent years.
  • Despite the perceived risk, a majority of respondents in Yei still prefer for the elections to be held in December 2024.
  • The overall trend in improving security conditions is a noteworthy achievement. Maintaining citizen confidence in the peace process is critical to securing a political settlement among armed actors in Yei and promoting reconciliation, stabilization and resilience programming.

This policy brief was published by Detcro, the Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations at Coventry University, and PeaceRep: The Peace and Conflict Resolution Evidence Platform.