By Benjamin Takpiny
JUBA, South Sudan(AA) - South Sudan President Salva Kiir appointed on Friday his party’s Secretary-General Jemma Nunu Kumba as the country’s first female speaker since independence in 2011.
Kumba, Secretary-General of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement party which Kiir heads, was selected by her party to be speaker in the next parliament that was expanded to include several opposition groups in a government of national unity.
A first deputy speaker will be announced once the former rebel group of First Vice President Riek Machar provides a nominee, Kiir said at a party meeting in the capital, Juba.
The decision to nominate Acting Secretary-General for the SPLM was endorsed by Kiir and the chairman of the party in Freedom Hall during the meeting.
Under the 2018 revitalized peace deal, the parliament speaker shall be nominated by the former transitional government, while the opposition Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-In Opposition (SPLM-IO) shall nominate one deputy speaker.
The party also picked Mary Ayen Majok as deputy speaker of the Council of States.
The third deputy speaker shall be nominated by Other Political Parties (OPP), according to the peace deal that was signed in Ethiopia.
It adds that the Speaker of the Council of States shall be nominated by the SPLM-IO.
The agreement emphasized that for regional inclusivity, the speaker and deputy speakers shall come from the former regions of Equatoria, Upper Nile and Bahr el Ghazal.
“This government is comprised of parties not for SPLM alone. If it was for SPLM alone we would have taken all these positions,” said Kiir.
He urged his majority MPs to guide the house and assured them that parliament will be sworn in next week.
In May, South Sudan's leader reconstituted the national parliament after one year for the formation of the unity government.
The move is in line with the provisions of the peace agreement.
The revitalized peace agreement signed in 2018 provides for the reconstitution of the Transitional National Legislative Assembly (TNLA) and the Council of States.
The TNLA was expanded from 400 to 550 members comprising representatives from the peace parties.
The former transitional government under the president nominated 332 members, SPLM-IO under former rebel leader Machar nominated 128, members and South Sudan Opposition Alliance, or SSOA, with 50 members.
The Other Political Parties have 30 representatives and the former detainees with 10.