12:58 am
27 October 2016

S. Sudan Rebels Get Parliament Seats,10 Cabinet Posts In New Power-Sharing Deal

SOUTH Sudan President Salva Kiir on Friday named 50 lawmakers from the rebel movement and agreed to share ministerial posts with his rivals in line with a peace deal aimed at ending a two-year civil war.

In a decree broadcast on state radio, Kiir announced the appointment of 50 members of parliament named by the rebel side.

Festus Mogae, a former Botswana president who heads the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) set up by regional bloc IGAD to ensure the peace deal is implemented, said the government would be given 16 ministerial posts—including defence, national security, finance and justice—and the rebels 10 posts, including oil and humanitarian affairs.

A group of influential politicians known as the “former detainees”, who were jailed at the outbreak of fighting but later released, will get the posts of foreign affairs and transport, while cabinet affairs and agriculture will go to other political parties.

Both the government and rebel sides in South Sudan’s two-year conflict have been accused of perpetrating ethnic massacres, recruiting and killing children and carrying out widespread rape, torture and forced displacement of populations to “cleanse” areas of their opponents.

The conflict has triggered a humanitarian crisis with 2.3 million people forced from their homes and 4.6 million in need of emergency food aid. Tens of thousands have died and the economy is in ruins.

Kiir and rebel chief Riek Machar have accused each other of breaking successive peace deals but say they remain committed to the August 26 agreement, despite missing every listed deadline.

Yet to travel

Under the deal, Machar is to return to Juba to be vice-president, a post from which he was sacked in 2013

The rebel leader has yet to travel to the capital to take up his position.

No timeline was given for when the ministers would be named and take up their posts.

The civil war began in December 2013 when Kiir accused Machar of planning a coup, setting off a cycle of retaliatory killings that have split the poverty-stricken country along ethnic lines.

Kiir last month scrapped the old system of 10 federal states, replacing it with 28 new regions, undermining a fundamental pillar of the power-sharing deal.

Fighting continues, and the conflict now involves multiple militia forces who pay little heed to paper peace deals, driven by local agendas or revenge attacks.