File: David Shearer, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for South Sudan meeting ordinary South Sudanese. PHOTO: UNMISS
The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General says the slow pace of implementing reforms as set out in the revitalized peace agreement will likely affect the conduct of elections in South Sudan.
David Shearer urged political parties to accelerate efforts to graduate unified forces, form state and county institutions, reconstitute the national legislature and finalize the judicial reforms that will enable elections to take place.
“The constitution-making process, which is a critical precursor to elections, also continues to stagnate,” he remarked.
He told a plenary meeting of the Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission on Wednesday in Juba that the pace of implementing the 2018 peace deal has been too slow.
Mr. Shearer stated that this has heightened doubts and frustrations, and also opened opportunities for spoilers to exploit local tensions.
The UN’s top envoy in South Sudan acknowledged the positive progress made by political parties in the past year, including the formation of the transitional government, and the appointment of the Upper Nile state Governor.
But there have been recurrent intercommunal violence in several parts of the country including Jonglei, Pibor, Lakes, Warrap, Unity, Upper Nile and Central Equatoria states.
The UN has partially attributed these subnational acts of violence to the failure by the leaders to restore durable peace and invest in basic services that encourage stability and sustainable development.
David Shearer expressed fear that the situation may deteriorate further as national actors meddle and fuel local-level violence.
He said accelerating the implementation of the peace agreement “will encourage displaced people to return home, enable South Sudanese to pursue livelihood opportunities, and lay the foundation for free and fair elections.”