Citizens doubt Juba’s readiness to hold elections – Haysom

The South Sudan citizens’ testimonies and unfinished tasks tell that the government is not ready to hold election any soon, the head of UN mission in South Sudan has said.

“As it stands today, South Sudan is not ready to roll out an electoral process. We’ve heard this directly from government members, political parties, and civil society,” Nicholas Haysom told the UN Security Council on Tuesday.

South Sudan is expected to go for general elections in December 2024 – 60 days before the end of the 24-month transitional period of the roadmap.

However, crucial elements for free, fair, and credible elections are not yet accomplished as outlined in the roadmap and this reportedly makes the public doubt the coming into effect of the elections.

The unfinished tasks critical for holding elections include the permanent constitution, elections laws, reconstituted bodies, security arrangement and civic education on elections.

“In our estimation, the constitution-making process is 10 months behind schedule, elections planning 8 months behind, and several aspects of the transitional security arrangements remain hanging,” Haysom stated.

The UNMISS chief asks the parties to redouble their efforts in supporting the “constitution-making and election preparations,” to urgently wipe off the growing doubt among the citizens regarding the elections.

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The UNMISS chief called upon the national legislature to clear their path by passing electoral laws to give guidance to the citizens in making decision on the system of election.

“I further urge the relevant stakeholders to double-down on passing the National Elections Act in parliament and to stand up the National Elections Commission, so that the South Sudanese people can begin to decide the form and content of their new constitutional and electoral system,” he continued.

“However, no electoral process can be credible and successful without adequate civic and political space for all citizens to participate in it, and a great deal needs to be done in this regard.”