Juba (South Sudan), August 4: South Sudan's peace monitors on Tuesday welcomed the swearing-in of 595 legislators in both the Upper and Lower Houses after several delays by the parties to the 2018 revitalized peace deal.
The Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (RJMEC) said in a statement issued in Juba, the capital of South Sudan, that the swearing-in of the 503 members of the Transitional National Legislative Assembly (TNLA) and 92 members of the Council of States Monday will help speed up the enactment of key legislations recommended in the peace deal.
"These two bodies form the Transitional National Legislature (TNL). A legislature made up of members from the different parties to the Revitalized Agreement on Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS) and representing the diverse people of South Sudan performs vital tasks including making and debating legislation, and performing oversight tasks," it said.
The peace monitors, however, urged the parties to take necessary steps to swear in the remaining 55 members of the two bodies.
In May, President Salva Kiir reconstituted the TNLA and the Council of States but the swearing-in was delayed due to bickering over positions among the various signatories to the peace agreement signed in Ethiopia to end more than six years of conflict.
The TNLA will be presided over by Jemma Nunu Kumba, a woman member of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) led by Kiir while Deng Deng Akon, a member of SPLM-In Opposition under First Vice President Riek Machar, will preside over the Council of States (CoS).
"Much work awaits the members of the reconstituted TNLA and CoS, such as the ratification of the amended security bills and the Constitutional Amendment Bill No. 8 (2020), which were drafted by the National Constitutional Amendment Committee (NCAC) and presented to the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs," it said.
RJMEC commended the appointment of the first woman speaker of the TNLA and another deputy woman speaker of the CoS, saying their appointment is in line with the spirit of the R-ARCSS.
The R-ARCSS called for 35 percent affirmative action for women's representation in the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (R-TGoNU) formed in February 2020.
"With the momentum created, RJMEC expects that the RTGoNU will now focus on the completion of the outstanding governance issues, including the reconstitution of the state legislature, and the restructuring and reconstitution of institutions and commissions at the national level," said the statement, while urging the reconstituted TNLA to use its good offices to push forward the completion of the outstanding security issues, including the graduation and redeployment of the 83,000 unified forces.
These unified forces are supposed to have been graduated during the pre-transitional period that elapsed in 2020.
South Sudan descended into conflict in December 2013, following a political dispute between President Salva Kiir and his deputy Riek Machar that caused a split within the army leaving soldiers loyal to their respective leaders to fight.
A peace deal signed in 2015 collapsed in the aftermath of renewed violence in July 2016.
The revitalized peace deal signed in 2018 under pressure from regional leaders and the international community remains the only hope to durable peace in the world's youngest nation, following years of violence that left tens of thousands of people killed and millions more displaced both internally and externally.