Abdon Agaw Jok, secretary-general of the government of South Sudan, announced on Wednesday, March 11, that the country’s political parties, including the previously warring factions of President Salva Kiir’s SPLM and rebel leader Riek Machar’s SPLM-IO, have finalized their selection of cabinet appointments for the transitional government of national unity. The president announced the new unity government on February 22, including the appointment of Machar as vice-president. A unity government was one of the major stipulations in the peace deal signed in 2018 between the two factions, ending a six-year conflict that led to the death of at least fifty thousand people and the displacement of an estimated four million. Twenty of the thirty-five ministerial positions will go to the SPLM and nine to the SPLM-IO, and the remainder will be shared among the smaller political parties.
Why It Matters
In early February, delays in the implementation of a unity government had some international observers worried the government of President Salva Kiir was not committed to the 2018 peace deal, but the formal announcement a couple of weeks later of the unity government and appointment of Riek Machar as vice-president quelled those doubts. The finalization of ministerial positions is a solid indicator that the peace deal is holding, and the power-sharing agreement could help to ensure stability by preventing one political party from wielding too much power.