The two-year extension of transitional period is not ‘holiday break’, Juba told

The Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head Of UNMISS has expressed concern over the delayed implementation of the provisions concerning general elections, saying the 24-month extension of the transitional period is not a “holiday break”.

South Sudan was supposed to go to polls in 2022 after implementation of key provisions of the agreement, according to the implementation matrix of the September 2018 agreement.

The key provisions include unification of the former warring forces, repatriation of the refugees and displaced persons, conduct of population census and development of the country’s permanent constitution.

In addition, Political Parties Act, Political Parties Council, the Reconstituted National Constitutional Review Commission, and the establishment of the Constitutional Drafting Committee must be put in place in order for the elections to take place.

With pressure from the international community, the peace parties managed to implement some of the crucial provisions recently, notably the graduation and unification of the necessary forces.

Though the parties recently extended the transitional period for 24 months to allow for full implementation of the provisions, Nicholas Haysom doubts they are serious about the implementation of the remaining provisions.

“We consistently remind the South Sudanese that the two-year extension should not be regarded as a holiday break,” Haysom told the United Nations Security Council on Tuesday.

He insisted on implementation of the Needs Assessment Mission’s recommended approaches to the conduct of the elections.

The first approach is the fulfilment of the legal requirements, which are preparations for a environment for conducting the elections.

And the second approach is the provision of material assistance for the actual conduct of the elections, which should be met upon completion of the first phase.

“We are concerned that delays are already having a domino effect on subsequent key benchmarks,” the UNMISS chief continued.

He asked the UN Security Council and the international community to remind the parties of the criticality of the implementation of the provisions concerning elections.