Juba, South Sudan,
June 14, 2021 – The Head of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) Nicholas Haysom has delivered an equivocal hint on the possibility of the country going to poll in 2023 as proposed by parties to the Revitalized Peace Agreement.
Speaking to a local media outlet, Haysom, who also doubles as a special representative to the United Nations Secretary-General said the exact timeframe on which elections would be held was not discussed and agreed upon.
“There is broad support for it [elections] from what we can tell and our interviews with ordinary people,” Haysom was quoted to have said.
“Exactly when it will take place, I think is still up to discussion and agreement, but the fact that there will be elections so that the country, as it were, can graduate from its transition to a country in charge of its destiny in every way, then I certainly think there will be elections,” he added.
The UN Secretary General’s special representative said the best UNMISS is to offer technical support just like the mission has done in other African countries.
“The UN is best at playing a technical support role. We manage elections across Africa. Almost always it is in support of the local authorities, local stakeholders and then we very often play a complementary role with organizations such IGAD and AU, which are more effective in establishing standards that have to be met through elections and in observing the elections,” he said.
“So I think we can expect that there will be considerable international interest in the elections and willingness to assist. At the end of the day, the elections will be run by the South Sudanese themselves,” Haysom added.
Earlier this month, Mr. Haysom said when the United Nations Security Council renewed the mission’s mandate in the country, supporting a free, fair, credible election was part of their three-year strategic vision.
“When renewing our mandate, the Security Council recognized the imperative of peacebuilding and directed UNMISS to advance a three-year strategic vision to prevent a return to civil war; build durable peace at the local and national levels; and to support inclusive and accountable governance and free, fair, and peaceful elections,” Haysom said.