Ex-UN envoy to Somalia to replace David Shear as head of UNMISS

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JUBA – Former United Nations Special Envoy to Somalia and renowned South African diplomat and lawyer, Nicholas Haysom, is replacing David Shearer as head of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and Special Representative of the Secretary General in the world’s youngest country, the Sudans Post has learned.

News of David Shearer’s departure spread in September last year when a UNMISS staffer in Juba told Sudans Post that Shearer was leaving the UN mission there before new year.

“The SRSG David Shearer has been told to leave the mission this October. He was supposed to leave in January but that was reversed and he is leaving the mission in early October,” a UN staffer who requested not to be named told Sudans Post at the time.

Speaking to Sudans Post on Thursday evening, a UN source said Shearer will in the next few days handover to Nicholas Haysom, a South African diplomat who – in 2018 – was appointed by the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, as his Special Representative for Somalia and Head of the United NationsAssistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM).

The South African diplomat also served as the Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan until 2018 when he was transferred to Somalia where he was eventually expelled after the Somali government accused him of “shaming” the world body by acting like the country’s ruler.

The South African lawyer had raised concern about the killing of protesters allied with ex-militant Islamist Mukhtar Robow in the country.

Born in 1952, Haysom is a lawyer with a long international career with a focus on democratic governance, constitutional and electoral reforms, reconciliation and peace processes.

Following his expulsion from Somalia, the U.N. secretary-general in 2019 appointed Haysom to support then African Union’s mediation efforts in Sudan, where the military ousted longtime President Omar al-Bashir a week earlier.