Peace gov’t asked to ‘enter 2024 with renewed drive’

The United Nations Mission in South Sudan has called upon the parties to the September 2018 peace agreement to “enter 2024 with a renewed drive and a sense of urgency to implement” the accord.

South Sudan is expected to exit years of conflict at the end of transitional period through the elections.

However, the peace deal meant to address the root causes of the conflict and transition the country into a democratic dispensation remains largely unimplemented.

According to the deal, the permanent constitution is among the critical provisions expected to usher in a new democratic dispensation.

It’s also a requirement that must be in place before elections. But many argue that such a critical document cannot be produced by the appointed parliament.

In August 2022, the parties to the peace deal agreed and extended the transitional period for 24 more months to allow them implement the remaining provisions in the peace agreement.

Three months later, President Salva Kiir reconstituted the National Constitutional Review Commission (NCRC), National Elections Commission (NEC), and the Political Parties Council (PPC) and appointed officials into three key institutions that are critical for the conduct of elections.

“While we commend the progress achieved so far, the timelines set out in the Roadmap are behind schedule,” said Guang Cong, deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General, at the 33rd RJMEC Plenary Meeting in Juba on Thursday.

“With only 12 months left, the options for practical compromises are diminishing, particularly concerning the type and scale of the elections, the constitution-making process, and other important pending issues.

“I encourage the Government to enter 2024 with a renewed drive and a sense of urgency to implement the Peace Agreement, including resourcing the Political Parties Council, the National Constitutional Review Commission and the National Elections Commission.”

In August, UNMISS said the country was not yet ready for the conduct of free, fair and credible election next year, unless genuine political will was demonstrated.

“Meanwhile, the contrasting statements on election preparedness further underscore the need for dialogue between the parties on a practical way forward,” Cong continued.

However, the first-ever South Sudan elections will be held without a constitution, the minister of information has announced recently.

Michael Makuei told reporters in Juba that making a constitution is a process which should not be done in a hurry by the appointees but rather be left to the elected government to make it.