SOUTH SUDAN: UN Chief Calls for Speedy Implementation of Electoral Process for Credible Elections to Be Held on Time

By Paschal Norbert

JUBA, MAY 26, 2023 (CISA) “The scale and importance of what remains to be done does not leave room for inaction. We still see 2023 as a ‘make or break’ year for this nation if it is to fully implement the Peace Agreement,” stated Nicholas Haysom, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).

In a press conference in Juba on May 24, Haysom decried the slow-paced constitution-making process and election planning while underscoring the need to adhere to the timelines contained within the current Roadmap, which he says is already behind schedule ahead of the 2024 General Elections.

“The government has to revive the necessary institutions: the constitution-making process, electoral legislation, standing up the necessary institutions and structures, as well as an environment to support robust political competition,” said the top UN official in South Sudan.

According to Mr Haysom, the South Sudanese government has shifted its attention to Sudan rather than focusing on its internal affairs. He advanced that several aspects of the transitional security arrangements are simply hanging and there is a need to create a conducive environment for political and civic space to supplement these processes.

“The attention of the region is now fixed on Sudan rather than South Sudan, and I commend South Sudan’s open-door policies for returnees and refugees,” he said while warning the political leadership not to “lose sight of the critical need to address its own internal security challenges.”

In the press conference, Haysom highlighted a report of a recent perception survey commissioned by the UN peacekeeping mission to help gauge the views, expectations, and concerns of the general public.

He said, “The polls were conducted in all 10 states, and the results indicate that people strongly believe, firstly, that the elections should take place, and secondly, in UN support for those elections. The survey also shows that people who are apprehensive about the elections nonetheless want it to happen. We in the UN family stand ready to support the South Sudanese, as requested.”

On the part of UNMISS, Haysom said, “We can’t do this work alone. This is why we at UNMISS put a premium on enhancing our strategic relationships — with the African Union, IGAD, with EU, and the Troika, the broader international community, as well as South Sudanese communities and South Sudanese stakeholders. This is to promote greater coherence among international partners in our efforts but also to support greater ownership by South Sudanese of the outcomes of this transition.”