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Kiir to announce reconstitution of parliament ”in coming weeks”

Author: Emmanuel Joseph Akile | Published: Monday, October 5, 2020

South Sudan legislative branch of the government has not been operational since February 2020.

South Sudan will soon witness the formation of the reconstituted transitional national legislative assembly and the Council of States, President Salva Kiir has said.

The President made the announcement -on Saturday, October 3 -of the much-awaited milestone in the implementation of the revitalized peace agreement.

The revitalized peace agreement signed two years ago requires the current parliament and the Council of States to be reconstituted.

The agreement says the Transitional National Legislative Assembly shall be expanded from 400 to 550 members.

The SPLM shall have 332 members, the SPLM-IO 128, members and the South Sudan Opposition Alliance, or SSOA will have 50 members.

The Other Political Parties or OPP shall have 30 representatives while the Former Detainees shall have 10 members.

Based on the agreement, President Kiir is expected to dissolve the current parliament since February 2020.

Observers say the delay in reconstituting the national parliament has made the enactment of some bills impossible and paralyzed the system of checks and balances.

The Presidency has made significant appointments such as of Ministers, Ambassadors and heads of institutions without vetting by legislators.

President Kiir has also declared a state of emergency in areas hit by floods and insecurities such as Jonglei and Pibor without the approval of the parliament.

He also launched a disarmament exercise in conflict-stricken areas of Bahr el Ghazal region without the consent or policy statement from the “people’s representatives.”

In a bit to assuage the goodwill shown by the international community during the signing of the Sudanese Peace Agreement on Saturday, President Kiir promised to reconstitute the parliament “in the coming few weeks.”

“The structure and composition of the legislature at the state level have already been agreed upon,” Kiir revealed.

According to the revitalized peace agreement, the reconstituted TNLA shall support the revitalized peace agreement and enact legislations that enables and assists the transitional processes and reforms described in the new peace accord.

But the revitalized peace deal signed two years ago has yet to be fully implemented.

Critical tasks such as training and unification of government and opposition forces have not been completed.

The country also faces enormous challenges include economic meltdown and a huge need for humanitarian assistance made worst by the coronavirus pandemic and recent flooding across the country.

The United States has said South Sudanese have yet to see tangible benefits from the political commitments made by their leaders despite the signing of the peace agreement.

It notes that the past years have been characterized by widespread violence, sexual and gender-based violence committed with impunity and the abduction of women and children continues unabated.

Aid agencies say more than 1,000 civilians have been killed so far this year alone.

Hunger has reportedly affected an estimated 6 million people in South Sudan with over 157,000 persons displaced since February.

The diplomatic corp including the African Union has warned that South Sudan will start to experience increased stability, security, and prosperity if its leaders can put aside differences, and to accelerate the implementation of the peace agreement.

They urged President Salva Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar to undertake immediate reforms and make meaningful investments in the peace agreement.

But the President, in his Saturday speech, is upbeat about the prospects for peace in South Sudan.

“Let me reassure the public of South Sudan and the international community at large that our peace process despite its slow pace is on track,” Kiir asserted.

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