Council of States nominate new Deputy Speaker
By Morris Dogga
The Council of States yesterday unanimously appointed Arthur Akuien Chol as the new deputy Speaker of the house.
Mr. Akuein was the first Minister of Finance and Economic Planning when the semi-autonomous Government of Southern Sudan was formed in October 2015, following the singing of the Sudan’s historic Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).
He was proposed and unanimously nominated unopposed by about 26 members of the Council of States.
Akuein replaces Remy Oller Itorong, who is said to be suffering from stroke and has been absent for about 2 years from office.
The Speaker of the August House, Joseph Bol Chan said the new appointment does not mean that the members of the houses have rejected Oller, “this appointment does not mean we no longer want him, he is still a member of the Council of States.”
The position of the deputy chairpersonship has been vacant for two years since the former deputy chairperson got sick.
Speaking to Juba Monitor after his nomination, Mr. Chol said his first priority is to reconstitute and organise the Council of States.
He disclosed that the number of the members in the Council of States has reduced because some of the MPs have died and some have left the council.
“The first thing is to sit and see that we are complete, if there are people to replace, we have to sit and make sure that the number of MPs is complete so that we have a full number of MPs,” Akuein added.
He said initially the Council of States started with about fifty one members and the number has reduced.
He called for cooperation from the members of the house so that they can move forward amidst the numerous challenges they are facing.
Following its independence on 9th July 2011, South Sudan adopted bicameralism where legislators were divided into two separate houses chambers or legislative system, where the Council of States was established as per the provisions of the interim constitution. Council of States became part of the two chambers comprising the national legislature of South Sudan: the lower house known as the National Legislative Assembly and the Upper House known as the Council of States.
The Council of States exercises some functions such as; initiating legislations on the decentralized system of governance, and other issues of interest to the states and passing such legislation with two-thirds majority of all the representatives.
It also approves changes in the state names, capitals and boundaries, overseeing national reconstruction, development and equitable service delivery in the states and performs other functions.