President Kiir Reconstitutes Parliament

President Salva Kiir in his office in 2015 speaks to the BBC’s Stephen Sackur, presenter of HARDtalk program.

President Salva Kiir on Monday evening issued a presidential decree reconstituting the Transitional National Legislative Assembly (TNLA). The decree in accordance with the September 2018 Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic South Sudan (R-ARCSS) brokered by the African Union (AU) with support of the international community was read on state-owned South Sudan Broadcasting Corporation (SSBC).

The move comes two days after the president dissolved the TNLA and the Council of States and more than a year after the formation of the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (R-TGoNU). The Reconstituted Transitional National Legislative Assembly (R-TNLA)  shall have 550 members and shall be composed as follows according to R-ARCSS:

The Incumbent Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU) led by SPLM-IG shall have three hundred and thirty-two (332) members, SPLM/A-IO led by Dr. Riek Machar Teny shall have one hundred and twenty-eight (128) members, South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA) shall have fifty (50) members, Other Political Parties (OPP) shall have thirty (30) members and the Former Detainees shall have ten (10) members.

It remains unknown when exactly the 100-member Council of States shall be reconstituted to complete the formation of the transitional national legislature.

Analysts and observers, say absence of legitimate parliament made legislation of new laws impossible and led to the failure of parliament to perform oversight functions as it lacked a mandate to do so. In January this year, Information Minister Hon. Michael Makuei Lueth refused to appear before a parliamentary committee of the Transitional National Legislative Assembly saying he was answerable to the Reconstituted Transitional National Legislative Assembly (R-TNLA) and that the TNLA was in recess. He was quoted by Eye Radio as saying:

“I am answerable to R-TNLA; and as long they are on recess, they will continue with the recess until that time when the parliament is expanded and reconstituted according to the provisions of power-sharing.”

In a letter to addressed to the Deputy Speaker for Parliamentary Affairs at the TNLA in March 2021, SPLM-IO-appointed Defense Minister Hon. Angelina Teny also declined to appear before parliament saying it lacked legitimacy after she was summoned to explain the role of Army in the country’s efforts to slow down the spread of COVID-19 and prevent cross-border moments. 

“The last function of the IG-INLA is the ratification of the constitution amendment bill. The IG-INLA has no mandate to extend its life,” read the letter in part.