Seasoned South African diplomat is new UNMISS boss


South African Fink Haysom, a seasoned UN operator, is back in Africa as head of the world body’s mission in South Sudan.

His appointment as special representative of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and UNMISS head was announced by the UN top man at the weekend.

Haysom, described by the South African Institute for Security Studies (ISS) as a seasoned diplomat, was expelled from Somalia in January 2019.

He was accused of allegedly violating diplomatic rules and overstepping his authority by government when he questioned the legal basis of the arrest of a former al-Shabaab deputy leader standing for election in South West State.

Guterres said at the time declaring Haysom persona non grata did not accord with diplomatic rules because the UN was not a state and its personnel are not accredited, but deployed. Haysom is an experienced and respected international civil servant who distinguished himself in numerous senior leadership roles, in field and at UN headquarters.

He previously served as Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan, head of the UN mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and worked in the Executive Office of the Secretary-General after heading up the UN constitutional support team in Iraq during 2005/2007.

In the 1990s, he served as Chief Legal and Constitutional Adviser in the Office of President Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first democratically-elected leader.

He comes back to Africa following a year-long stint as Guterres’ special advisor on Sudan. He was previously also part of peace talks in Burundi and the Sudanese peace process.