The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has warned that continued delays in implementation of the 2018 revitalized peace agreement may jeopardize elections planned at the end of the transitional period.
David Shearer, head of UNMISS on Tuesday said delays in implementing critical tasks in the peace deal may affect elections scheduled for 2023 in the youngest nation. “I think we all agree the pace of peace implementation has been far too slow and that has heightened doubt and frustration.
It could put in jeopardy the plan to hold elections at the end of the transitional period and it has opened opportunities for peace spoilers to exploit local tensions and fuel conflict,” Shearer told journalists in Juba.
The UN envoy also expressed concern over the recent increase in sub-national violence in the northern areas of Maban, Warrap, Jonglei and Akoko, adding that it is bad for the stability of the country.
Between January to July 2020, UNMISS documented 575 incidents of sub-national violence which include the killing of 600 people in Jonglei state and kidnapping of women and children.
“We are following up on the Jonglei conference that the government hosted to look at the root causes of the conflict, particularly by bringing local youth and church leaders together,” he said.
He disclosed that UNMISS has also increased patrols to potential hotspots and this week it plans to deploy peacekeepers to seven temporary operating bases across the country.”If we can deploy early in the dry season, we have better success to prevent violence before it happens.
However, some places have been difficult to reach. Our efforts to reach Romich in Warrap for example, have been continually blocked,” said Shearer.
The Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU) formed in February last year, is yet to complete the training and graduation of the unified forces to take charge of security during the three-year transitional period. According to the 2018 revitalized peace deal, the nation is supposed to train and graduate a unified force of 83,000 personnel.
The unification of the army has been delayed amid missed deadlines.The process has also been hampered by the economic hardship in the country which has left the government with a limited resource envelope caused by the more than six years of conflict which broke out in December 2013.
Some soldiers have in the past been abandoning the training centers due to lack of food, medicines, and safe clean water.
The parties in the coalition government have also not established the legislature, despite recently agreeing to start the process of establishing the Hybrid Court and other transitional justice institutions to try war crimes committed during the more than six years of conflict.