The new South Sudanese parliament was sworn in on Monday in Juba with the participation of 588 parliamentarians from the presidential party and former rebel factions signatories to the 2018 peace agreement.
The swearing-in of this new parliament comes after a year behind schedule and remains incomplete as 62 parliamentarians were absent on Monday, some due to disagreements with the government.
The new parliament is chaired by the incumbent secretary-general of the ruling party, Jemma Nunu Kumba, who becomes the first woman to chair the parliament of South Sudan.
Pursuant to a peace agreement signed in 2018 between President Salva Kiir and his rival Riek Machar, now vice-president in a government of national unity, parliament was dissolved and then “reconstituted” in May last.
President Kiir recently called on the new speaker of parliament and members of parliament to focus on implementing the peace agreement, many aspects of which have yet to be implemented.
Besides political and economic challenges, the country faces its worst food crisis since independence, with some 60% of the population suffering from severe food shortages, according to the World Food Program.