National, News

Violence could derail elections-UN

By William Madouk


United Nations urges South Sudan to take measures to end subnational violence to pave way for democratic elections.

Head of UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), Mr. Nicholas Haysom, who is also the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General made the call after recent series of violence in the country.

According to the UN, around 90% of people interviewed in a UNMISS perception survey said that elections are important to them and they intend to vote.

However, the UNMISS chief is concerned that series of killings, like in areas of Warrap, Abyei, and Jonglei in recent days are likely to deter aspirations of the people.

“Intervention is needed at the highest level to resolve tensions in northern Unity State between the SSPDF and the SPLA-IO, as well as the inter-communal violence in parts of the country,” Haysom said.

He added that a fragile interface between Dinka Twic, Ngok Dinka, and newer communities in Warrap and Abyei must also be quelled.

The UN representative hinted that an electoral security plan must be agreed upon and the necessary unified forces deployed to provide a secure environment.

UNMISS views that South Sudan can hold elections in December, but only if the country’s leaders take urgent action to overcome key obstacles.

Mr. Haysom challenges the leaders to choose a path that gives people the opportunity to participate in peaceful and credible elections.

“This conflict is causing real harm to communities as well as inhibiting an environment of open political competition, which would be a vital part of a healthy democracy,” he underscored.

He also cited that South Sudan’s future depends upon discussions on the issues of equality, democracy, and security.

“One of the most important points to make is that we need to make a decision about the type of elections to be held,” he pointed out.

“Consensus must be reached on a realistic electoral calendar, taking into account operational, logistical, legal, and security issues,” he highlighted.

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