September 16, 2021 (JUBA) – A top United Nations official has warned that general elections in war-torn South Sudan could turn into a disaster, instead of a national turning point.
- The head of UN mission in South Sudan, Nicholas Haysom (Getty)
Nicholas Haysom, the head of the UN mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) said on Wednesday that electoral preparations should be conducted alongside constitutional making processes, citing the significance of both processes.
He also cited lack of consensus on the exact life span of the transitional period of the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU).
“There is no consensus on the exact timelines. Relying on the two extensions to the transitional period, the most generous interpretation would see elections in early 2023. This would require completion of a voters roll by mid-to-late next year. Unless there are adequate technical and political preparations, this event could be a catastrophe instead of a national turning point,” said Haysom.
He added, “For these reasons, we believe the [Security] Council should issue every encouragement for those involved, including the international community, to focus their attention on this task”.
The top official said the UN made recommendations outlined in a report of the needs assessment mission, showcasing an opportunity to provide technical support that will enhance the likelihood of a free and fair electoral process that is acceptable to all.
He further said South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir already acknowledged that a free and fair elections is critical for the country to proceed with its transition.
Haysom also emphasized that elections need early preparations, stressing that UNMISS is fully committed to supporting the people of South Sudan in their search for sustainable peace.