South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir has dissolved parliament, paving the way for the appointment of MPs from opposing sides in the country’s five-year civil war.
A peace deal signed three years ago determined that almost a quarter of the MPs would come from the party of Mr Kiir’s former foe, Riek Machar.
The majority of the 550 legislators will be from the governing SPLM party.
including additional lawmakers from the formerly warring parties of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-In Government (SPLM-IG), the SPLM-In Opposition (SPLM-IO), the South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA), Other Opposition Parties (OPP), and Former Detainees.
The former transitional government nominated 332 members, the SPLM-IO nominated 128, the SSOA got 50, the OPP got 30, and the Former Detainees nominated 10.
Lam Akol, head of the National Democratic Movement, a member of the umbrella opposition group South Sudan Opposition Alliance, said the parliament should have been reconstituted last year under the peace agreement, noting opposition parties submitted their nominations several months ago but Kiir’s ruling SPLM-IG party delayed the process because they had not nominated their members.
Akol told South Sudan in Focus that Kiir dissolved parliament now in order to impress U.S. Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan Ambassador Donald Booth and UK Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan Ambassador Robert Fairweather, both of whom arrived in Juba on Saturday.
“We are now implementing the activities of the pre-transitional period rather than implementing the activities of the transitional period, so 18 months have gone and we are still talking of formation of government — what we should have done about 15 months before that. There is no political will to implement the agreement, and the time is ticking and they were talking about extending the transitional period,” said Akol.
Responding to the agreement’s obligations at this late date is not helpful, according to James Okuk, a senior research fellow at the Juba-based Center for Strategic Policy Studies. Okuk is not optimistic about the prospects of an oversized parliament working in the interests of the South Sudanese people, noting that the lawmakers are appointed, not elected, and that most of them are holdovers.