Activists welcome the measure in accordance with a 2018 peace deal, saying it had been expected for a long time but they also expressed distrust.
South Sudanese President Salva Kiir has dissolved parliament, paving the way for lawmakers from opposing sides of the country’s civil war to be appointed under a 2018 peace deal.
Kiir’s decision was announced on public television on Saturday evening, but no date has been given for when the new parliament will begin functioning.
The creation of a new legislature was part of an agreement signed in September 2018 between Kiir and Vice President Riek Machar, for years on opposing sides during the five-year civil war that killed 380,000 people and the displacement of four million.
Activists and civil society groups welcomed the dissolution of parliament, saying it had been long overdue, but also expressed distrust.
“It is a welcome development and we look forward to the dissolution [will] it also paves the way for a long process towards the reconstitution of parliament, “said Jame David Kolok, chairman of the South Sudan Civil Society Forum.
“Civil society is getting frustrated and no longer believes that even if parliament is reconstituted, it will be a very viable parliament.”
Under the 2018 agreement, the new assembly will have 550 lawmakers, the majority (332) of Kiir’s ruling party, SPLM. Parliamentarians will not be elected but appointed by different parties.
The dissolution of parliament came on the eve of a visit to the capital, Juba, by the U.S. special envoy to South Sudan, Donald Booth.
“Of particular concern to the United States is the slow implementation of the revitalized Agreement on the resolution of the conflict in the Republic of South Sudan, the ongoing violence and the deteriorating economic and humanitarian conditions,” the State Department said. ‘State of the United States in a statement.
Kiir and Machar formed a coalition government on February 22, 2020, after nearly a year of delays.
However, few provisions of the truce have been respected and analysts have warned he would return to war.
The oil-rich country remains very underdeveloped and poorly managed.
According to the international hunger alert system half the population of South Sudan faces “high levels of acute food insecurity” and more than 92,000 people living in various areas – including the administrative area of the Great Pibor, northern Bahr al-Ghazal and Warrap – were facing conditions of famine in early March 2021 ”.
Despite the peace agreement, brutal community conflicts continue (often over livestock raids), with more than 1,000 deaths in violence between rival communities in the last six months of 2020.