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South Sudan Parliament deliberates on National Security Bill (Photo: VOA)

Citizens react to non functional Parliament

By John Agok 

The South Sudanese are alarmed over no functional parliament to support the executive wing of the government. 

The country has been running without parliament that oversees the functionalities of the governmental institutions on daily basis since last year.

Though the 2018 peace accord stipulates for full reconstitution of the parliament, the current unity government has been relying on its executive only to running its affairs.

Since last year, no budget has been passed. Transitional justice resolutions, constitutional–making process among others have not been implemented though the parliament was partially reconstituted last month. 

Activists, citizens and political parties to the agreement have expressed concerns over such delays.

These include the partial national parliament, states legislatures as well as Council of states. 

Chuol Duop, one of the citizens said he is worried over no legitimate parliament working closely with executives to run the country’s affairs.

“I am pretty much worry about the continued absence of parliament which is supposed to concurrently with executive”, he said. 

Sarah Nyang appealed to President Kiir to expedite the full formation of parliament for the agreement to be implemented quickly.

“I am calling for our president Kiir Mayardit to quickly complete the formation of the parliament so we can enjoy peace. It is parliament that will make laws to guide us”, she stated. 

Jame David Kolok the Executive Director for Foundation for Democracy and Accountability and Governance urged the peace parties to expedite the nomination process of speaker and its deputies.

According to the activist, the early appointment of the speakers would avoid parties’ wrangle on who would lead such positions.

Mr. Kolok however warned parties to shun re-negotiating positions after the list of nominees has been submitted to the appointing authority.

“Citizens are worry over delay on full parliament re-constitution. We cannot say that we have the government without parliament that can oversee the institutions’ functions as well”, he said.

The activist decried the absence of the functioning parliament, adding that it was slowing down the implementation of the peace deal. 

“We cannot implement the peace deal without parliament. Not only that, but the Budget is supposedly to be passed by parliament comes July including transitional justice, approving the constitution making process among others National issues that can be deliberated on in the parliament”, Kolok concluded.

Rajab Mohandis, the Executive Director for Organization for Responsive Governance said there was a need for the government to swear in the parliament immediately to start its work. 

“We have yet seen complete formation of both parliament and executives in the R-TGoNU which are some of the peace agreement’s tasks. 

Executive is not complete. Some commissions are yet formed. Therefore, budget and constitution making process need parliament to approve them “, he said. 

Mohandis wanted to see a fully functional government in form of legislatures that can diffuse tensions in states and widespread insecurity across the country. 

Puok Buoth Baulang, the SPLM-IO Public Relations Officer apologized to citizens for ongoing delays in full parliament reconstitution. 

He termed the delay as unjustifiable one from SPLM/IO perspective since he claimed they (SPLM-IO) have already sent nomination list to President Salva. 

“We really apologized on behalf of SPLM /IO. This delay is not from us. We have already sent our nomination list to President for appointed parliamentarians to fully take oath and we do not know from other parties on what could be their delay,” Baulang said.

Bulang denied that, they do not have wrangling over the positions of speaker and Duty Speaker of Parliament as claimed.

“We have seen that, R-ARCISS detailed clearly that, position of Speaker will go to SPLM and Deputy to SPLM/IO and there should be no more debate about. We only encourage reasonable and normal lobbying process for such positions”, he added.  

Malek Anai, the Deputy Secretary for political affairs and Mobilization denied the alleged allegation that there was a standoff in nominating a speaker of Parliament which is believed to be behind the delays.

“We have no wrangle as the party on who to become the speaker of the parliament. The tasked committee is still reviewing the list of nominees as you have seen the appointment of Ugandan into parliament was revoked by President. Other parties who sent in their lists with irregularities were to be blamed for delay”, he explained.   

In May, President Kiir dissolved and reconstituted the parliament from 400 to 550 members of parliament pending the formation of the Council of States. 

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