We see 2023 as a ‘make or break’ – UNMISS

By Aweye Teddy Onam

The Special Representative of the Secretary General and Head of UNMISS, Nicholas Haysom has called for “expansion of civic and political space”, categorizing it as “a defining legacy of the Transitional period” if it is done.

Nicholas made the statement in his address to the United Nations Security Council on Monday in New York.

“The priority is the expansion of civic and political space. This will be a defining legacy of the transitional period, as it constitutes the finishing line, the ultimate criteria by which the credibility of the electoral process will be judged, and more importantly will set the foundation for a stable democracy which can avert further conflict”, part of the statement seen by No.1 Citizen Newspaper reads.

He reiterated that UNMISS is supporting the expansion of space and is on track “engaging” various stakeholders to create a conducive environment.

“In support of this expansion of civic and political space, UNMISS is engaging non-governmental organizations and political parties to ask the critical questions which must be expected of an appropriate political environment”, the head of UNMISS lamented.

However, he noted that there are challenges that the parties to the agreement must address for successful completion of the transitional period.

These according to him are; the drafting of a new constitution, finishing the legal framework and reconstitution of the election commission, deployment of the necessary unified forces, handling communal violence, and finally the economic and humanitarian situations.

On the other hand, he warned that this year may either prove friendly or perilous for the stakeholders in the peace agreement.

“Accordingly, we see 2023 as a “make or break” year and as a test for all parties to the peace agreement”, Haysom examined.

In addition to that the special representative of the UN Secretary General has informed the UN Security Council that the leadership of the young nation is confronted by options of either working together to implement the agreement or choosing “self-interest” instead of the nation.

“The leadership of South Sudan is now facing a stark choice. They can embark upon a path of mutual cooperation and reconciliation, in the urgent implementation of their peace agreement or they can take a low road which privileges self-interest and conflict over nation building”.

South Sudan is yet to set the conduct of general elections, for the first time since 2010. And the peace agreement provided the ground to have free, fair, and credible elections as part of the finishing tasks in the transitional periods.

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