South Sudan: New Parliament sworn in, activists arrested

The new Parliament was sworn in Monday in South Sudan, fulfilling one of the most important promises of the 2018 peace agreement that ended five years of civil war.
A total of 588 parliamentarians – from the presidential party and former rebel factions that signed the agreement – attended a ceremony in the capital Juba. The swearing-in of the new parliament is nearly a year behind schedule and incomplete, as 62 parliamentarians were absent Monday, some because of disagreements with the government.
“It is only through common purpose and love for each other that we move our country forward and secure the future for the younger generation,” said Daniel Awet, a member of parliament from the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) party.
President Salva Kiir did not attend the ceremony. In late 2013, two years after independence, the world’s youngest country plunged into a civil war between Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar, sworn enemies, killing more than 380,000 people, displacing four million, and ruining the economy.
Under the peace agreement, Kiir and Machar are now president and vice president in a fragile government of national unity. Last week, a civil society movement called the People’s Coalition for Civil Action (PCCA) launched a campaign calling for change after a decade of war, corruption and poverty. This is the first time in the country’s history that such an initiative has been launched by civil society. On Monday, at least two figures in the coalition, former governor Kuel Aguer Kuel and analyst Augustino Ting Mayai, were arrested in Juba, according to Rajab Mohandis, another popular member of the movement.