Members of South Sudan’s ruling party walked out of parliament on Monday. They left because the lawmakers had approved a measure that would allow elections to take place in the country. They accused President Salva Kiir of breaking a peace agreement, according to a report by TRT Afrika.
South Sudan became an independent country in 2011 when it separated from Sudan. However, since then, it has faced many challenges. It went through several crises, including a civil war that lasted for five years. This war resulted in the loss of nearly 400,000 lives. Eventually, a peace agreement was reached in 2018.
Now, with elections scheduled for next year, a unity government formed by President Kiir and his opponent, Deputy Riek Machar, has not been able to fulfill important parts of the peace agreement. This includes writing a new constitution and creating election laws. The National Election Act was approved on Monday, September 18. However, members of parliament from Machar’s party, known as SPLM, questioned its approval. They argued that it would lead to an election that is “undemocratic, unfair, and not credible.”
President Kiir promised to hold the country’s first presidential elections by December 2024. However, in August, UN representative Nicholas Haysom warned that the government needed to create a positive environment for “peaceful, inclusive, and credible elections.”
The leadership of South Sudan has faced criticism from the United Nations on multiple occasions. They have been criticized for inciting violence, restricting political freedoms, and misusing public funds. Elections were supposed to mark the end of the transition period in February 2023, but the government has not met key requirements outlined in the peace agreement.
Despite having significant oil reserves, South Sudan remains one of the poorest countries in the world. It has been at war for more than half of its existence and is still dealing with ethnic conflicts that often have political motivations.