National, News

UNMISS concerned of progress in electoral benchmarks

By Charles K Mark

The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) is raising concern over the sluggish progress in the electoral benchmarks ahead of the anticipated 2024 polls.

UNMISS called for the urgent adoption of the National Elections Act by the transitional national legislative assembly (TNLA).

Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General and deputy UNMISS chief for political affairs, Guang Cong, expressed these sentiments on Thursday, during the 31st monthly meeting of the reconstituted joint monitoring and evaluation commission in Juba.

Guang, in his remarks to the plenary, called for the reconstitution of the National Constitutional Review Commission, the National Elections Commission, and the Political Parties Council, which are the key bodies concerned with the election conduct.

“We are concerned about the lack of progress in key electoral and constitutional benchmarks. As it stands, the conditions for South Sudan to hold elections are not in place yet,” Guang said.

He said that 2023 is a critical “make or break” year for free, fair, and credible 2024 elections.

The country is making arrangements possible for the conduct of its first ever national and presidential elections, expected to take place in December 2024.

The UN envoy requested all parties to the Peace Agreement to demonstrate political will by expediting the implementation of key outstanding benchmarks of the roadmap in the less than four months left in 2023.

“Political will, pragmatism, and leadership are paramount,” he added.

Guang stressed that Transitional Security Arrangements are behind schedule but welcomed the call by the Presidency directing the immediate deployment of the first batch of the Necessary Unified Forces and the commencement of Phase II.

The UNMISS deputy chief emphasized that the security of the country before, during, and after the elections is non-negotiable.

He urged the transitional government to implement its commitments and provide the required funding to allow mechanisms to complete their tasks.

Meanwhile, the Troika countries, comprising the United States, the United Kingdom, and Norway, urged the parties to the agreement to overcome differences and reach compromises that would ultimately unlock progress.

The Troika believes that without political will, the parties to the agreement will fail in their mandate to deliver a better future to South Sudanese.


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