“Free, fair and credible elections require a safe and secure environment,” says UNMISS
AUTHOR: Ibasi Patricia Tobs | PUBLISHED: November 10, 2023
Nicholas Haysom, Special Representative of the Secretary General and Head of the UN Peacekeeping mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) | Credit | Daniel Garang Deng/TRC
The Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of UNMISS says for South Sudan to have free, fair, and credible elections, a safe and secure environment is mandatory.
Mr. Nicholas Haysom says in his discussion with all interlocutors, partners, President Salva Kiir and Riek Machar, he has reiterated the need to demonstrate progress in the implementation of the Agreement.
This, he says, is to ensure the transition period concludes, as scheduled, with free, fair, and peaceful elections.
However, Nicholas says he is concerned with the delays in the finalization of the Transitional Security Arrangements.
“It is essential to expedite the deployment of the first batch of the graduated forces and the commencement of Phase II, security sector reform must receive adequate logistical and political support,” emphasized Mr. Nicholas Haysom.
He, however, recognizes the progress made in Strategic Defense and Security Review.
Nicholas urges the parties to convene to validate these important documents.
“I further recall the request of this forum for the government to commence a comprehensive national program of disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration without delay,” he urged.
“We should not lose sight of the security and political tensions that continue to simmer across the country, which may intensify as the electoral date draws closer,” he added.
The Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of UNMISS caution that military defections are a toxic practice that continues to undermine the spirit and intent of the Revitalized Peace Agreement and fuel mistrust among the parties.
In addition, during the 33rd R-JMEC plenary, Nicholas urged the recently reconstituted National Elections Commission, Political Parties Council and National Constitutional Review Commission to establish public trust and build confidence in their institutions.
“I encourage the Government to urgently and amicably address the concerns raised by different parties related to the reconstitution-this includes ensuring the buy-in of all the parties on the way forward, “he encouraged.
“Additionally, the limited participation of women must be addressed, and a clear plan should be developed to expedite their operationalization so as to ensure these institutions are adequately resourced and have the required capabilities to deliver on their critical mandates.”
Nicholas says UN, IGAD and AU – the UN is ready to provide technical assistance as the electoral architecture is beginning to take shape.