The head of the UN Mission in South Sudan is urging South Sudan’s Transitional Government of National Unity to agree on a feasible timeline for conducting general elections.
Nicholas Haysom who is also the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in South Sudan said a tangible roadmap should be made public.
He believes this will help create a conducive political environment for parties and South Sudanese to engage freely ahead of the elections.
According to the revitalized peace deal, South Sudan is expected to hold its first post-independence elections two months before the end of the current transitional period. There are only 8 months left for the transitional period to end.
“I am urging the government and all parties to redouble their efforts to agree on a road map with clear benchmarks, timelines and priority tasks. It is particularly our hope that the parties will announce a formal election timetable,” Haysom said.
The parties are supposed to enact several reforms, including the permanent constitution, Electoral laws, Security sector reforms and the graduation of the unified forces, among others – all of which have not been completed.
Last year, President Salva Kiir said the general elections will take place as planned in 2023. But the First Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar said elections can’t take place under current conditions.
In his statement today, the Head of UNMISS agrees that for free, fair, credible, and peaceful elections to take place, the reforms envisioned in the 2018 peace deal must be met.
He reaffirmed the commitment of the UN, African Union, Intergovernmental Authority for Development, the Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission, and other members of the international community to help South Sudan in its democratic processes.
”…but if we don’t have a date, then nobody will really commit to supporting election and South Sudanese will not get into it,” Haysom stated.
He particularly called on the parties to work with the National Constitution Amendment Committee to review the National Elections Act of 2012.
“The country must (also) have a fully functioning, truly national security apparatus to ensure a safe and secure environment, but also as a prerequisite for citizens to vote, to express their will at the polls,” he underscored.
Until today, the National Constitution Amendment Committee – an important instrument of the revitalized peace deal – is yet to complete its task.
NCAC is mandated by the peace deal to draft and complete the Constitutional Amendment Bill and incorporate it into the transitional constitution.
The committee is mandated to review and complete amendments to relevant national security legislations to bring their provisions into conformity with the agreement.
It is also expected to amend other legislations and incorporate any reforms relevant to the peace agreement.