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Sunday, June 20, 2021

South Sudan president dissolves parliament

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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.

Activists and civil society groups say the move is long overdue.

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.

South Sudan’s MPs will not be elected but will instead be nominated by different political parties.

“Let it not take weeks or months”, Edmund Yakani of the Community Empowerment for Progress Organisation – one of the civil society groups that signed the peace deal – told the BBC.

“If possible, the president should appoint the new parliament by Monday.”

The conflict that erupted in South Sudan in 2013 caused one of Africa’s worst humanitarian crises, with at least 380,000 people killed and millions forced from their homes.

The BBC’s Africa editor Will Ross says politicians in South Sudan are slowly fulfilling the promises they made in the 2018 peace agreement.

A unity government has been in place for over a year, but following numerous outbreaks of inter-ethnic conflict the UN has warned of a risk of a return to large-scale conflict in South Sudan.

Our Africa editor says there are still major challenges ahead for South Sudan including the formation of a new national army – made up of soldiers from the opposing sides in the country’s civil war.

A recent report by the UN has called for the arms embargo to be extended, and for new sanctions against people who hinder the implementation of the peace deal.

Insecurity is still rife across South Sudan and has prevented many farmers – who have been forced to flee their homes – from planting or harvesting crops, causing food shortages nationwide.

There are also warnings from the UN’s World Food Programme that more than seven million people in South Sudan will suffer acute food insecurity over the coming months.

-bbc

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