The Head of the United Nations Peacekeeping mission in South Sudan and UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General Nicholas Haysom has urged South Sudanese Leaders to do everything necessary to move the country out of transition to a point where credible and peaceful elections can be conducted.
“With barely eight months remaining in the transitional period agreed upon by South Sudan’s political parties, I am urging south Sudanese Leaders to do everything necessary to move the country out of transition and conduct free, fair, creditable and peaceful election”
“There are other benchmark achieve, now what is required is national leadership, dedicated resources for completing the transition, and a visible commitment by South Sudan’s leaders to fulfil their responsibilities under the peace agreement.” Haysom said on Thursday in a press conference.
He warned that the window of opportunity was closing on the Revitalized Peace Agreement, which was signed by all parties in 2018 to end repeated civil wars.
Haysom called upon all parties to the peace agreement to demonstrate collective common purpose, unity of purpose by working together towards the full implementation of the agreement.
“I encourage the leaders to take the necessary steps for the country to exit its transitional period, through the conduct of free, fair, credible, and peaceful elections,” stated the SRSG.”
While addressing the media Mr. Haysom outlined four key areas that must be prioritized top help move South Sudan from war to lasting peace. “Firstly, the legislature should resume sittings and pass the Constitution Making Process Bill, which will govern the drafting of a permanent constitution, a vital measure in tackling root causes of the protracted crisis in South Sudan, by addressing issues of governance, as well as federal power and revenue sharing, second priority area touched on the long-delayed graduation of the Necessary Unified Forces. “The country must 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 added.
Thirdly, focused on the need to conclude work on the national constitution for South Sudan. “The parties must work with the National Constitutional Amendment Committee to review the National Elections Act of 2012.”
According to him those priorities will pave the way for a formal electoral timetable, which must take into account the need for an inclusive and free political space for communities to be able to cast their votes safely and securely when the time comes.
He urged the Government and all signatories to the peace agreement to redouble efforts and “agree on a Roadmap with clear benchmarks, timelines and priority tasks,” adding that this is a joint ask from all partners, including the African Union, Intergovernmental Authority for Development, the Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission, the UN and other members of the international community.
In his view, political impasses and delays have had a ripple effect on the lives of the South Sudanese people—frustration abounds, political defections are on the rise and the scale of subnational violence is surging.