UN mission urges South Sudan to speed up enactment of electoral bill

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South Sudan

The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) on Thursday called on the transitional unity government to speed up the enactment of the electoral bill to prepare the country ahead of the 2024 elections.

Nicholas Haysom, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in South Sudan and head of UNMISS said the enactment of the National Elections Act will pave the way for the reconstitution of the National Elections Commission, a task he said is overdue.

Haysom said that the international community in particular needs to see progress if they are going to continue investing politically and financially in the future of the country.

“I raise an alert on the slippage of early timelines contained in the Roadmap, and encourage timely efforts to reconstitute: the political parties’ council, the national constitutional review commission; the constitutional drafting committee; and the national elections commission,” Haysom said in Juba, the capital of South Sudan, during the meeting of the Reconstituted Joint Monitoring Evaluation Commission (RJMEC), the body tasked with monitoring the 2018 revitalized peace deal.

Haysom also expressed concern about the security and political tensions which he said are simmering across the country, adding that if not addressed may intensify as the electoral date nears.

He called on the government to do more on opening up civic and political space, in addition to inculcating a culture of non-violent debate and dispute resolution in order to address the political and security tensions.

“Subnational violence continues to drive the growth of humanitarian need in South Sudan, with 8.9 million people in need of assistance. The humanitarian situation is compounded by bigger collective challenges like climate and flooding,” Haysom said.

He welcomed the ongoing first phase graduation of unified forces that has seen more than 40,000 soldiers passed out since August.

The UN official said they are banking on the unified forces to help foster inter-communal harmony in South Sudan.

However, Haysom said that phase two of the graduation must receive adequate logistical and political support to ensure an expeditious process, and to enable these forces to protect civilians in a timely and responsive manner.

The UNMISS chief also implored the government to commence a program for disarmament, demobilization and reintegration without delay.

“For our part, UNMISS looks forward to exploring together with the government of national unity how to support the development of the necessary unified forces in line with the country’s vision for security sector transformation that will see one day a security apparatus that expresses and reflects national unity and accountability to elected civilian authorities,” said Haysom. Enditem

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