By William Madouk
South Sudan Minister of Information has disagreed with UNMISS chief and the Troika countries over doubt on the conduct of elections due to pending provisions in the peace deal.
Special Representative of the Secretary-General, who is also Head of the United Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), Mr. Nicolas Haysom said that no progress has been made by parties as the election nears day by day.
The UNMISS boss called for political will and compromise from the leaders to resolve the outstanding issues of the peace agreement.
Mr. Haysom called on the Joint Task Force for the Implementation of the Constitution-Making and Electoral Processes to resume its monthly meetings and address the pending issues.
Also, the Troika countries (the U.S., UK, and Norway) felt disappointed over the lack of progress made by the peace parties, especially the failure to deploy the necessary unified forces.
Speaking on behalf of Troika at the 32nd meeting of the Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission, Norway’s ambassador to South Sudan, Linken Nymann Berryman, said security sector reform is a prerequisite for free, fair, and credible elections.
In a rebuttal, Mr. Michael Makuei said that was the peace guarantors’ view but argued that the government of South Sudan is well placed to conduct polls on time.
“Well, that is their own evaluation of the situation. But for us, as the government of South Sudan, we believe that we are going in the right direction and we are going for elections,” said Makuei.
He implied that the remaining period is still enough for parties to resolve some of the pending issues.
“After all, what are those gaps? Which do they think are not there? We think that, up until now, we have had enough time. If there are any gaps at all, they will be covered within this period,” he added. “This period is long; it’s not a short period, and that’s why we are going for elections.”
Mr. Makuei told a section who doubts the conduct of elections that elections will be real and not just empty talks.
“Those doubting Thomases, let them continue talking. Of course, there are people who are saying that we are not going for elections.”
“Those people who say that they are not going for elections might create all possible reasons and excuses to justify their position. But for us, we are moving, and we are moving in the right direction,” Makuei argued.
“And as such, we are going for elections. Anyone who is not going to the elections is free. Because it’s not compulsory,” he continued.
In August, President Kiir said his government had reached “a critical phase in the consolidation of peace in our country” as he called on the peace partners to join hands and make the election a reality.
Lately, former minister of humanitarian affairs Peter Mayen announced his intention to vie for the post of president in the forthcoming 2024 general elections. Other politicians are yet to declare their flag bearers.
But opposition parties, especially SPLM-IO under Dr. Riek Machar, voiced reservations about the conduct of elections, saying that the security situation, repatriation of refugees, and returnees, including censuses, among others, must be addressed first.