Cover Story

MANDATE – Gov’t seeks three more years in office  

Paul Yoane Bonju the Chairperson of the Specialized Committee on Information in TNLA (Photo by Morris Dogga):

By Morris Dogga

The Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Paulino Wanawila Unango yesterday presented a Bill in the Transitional National Legislative Assembly (TNLA) seeking to amend the Transitional Constitution to extend the mandate of the government until 2021.

Minister Wanawila said the Amendment Bill was based on the fact that the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (ARCSS) was formally incorporated into the Transitional Constitution two weeks ago.

The Bill seeks to amend Article 66 of the Transitional Constitution that would extend the mandate of the Transitional National Legislature, Article 100 that would also prolong the term and mandate of Office of the President.

The other articles that would be amended are 103 (A) that will extend the term and mandate of the Office of the First Vice President.

Article 164 and Article 165 would also be amended. Article 164, if amended, extend the term of the Transitional National Legislative Assembly and Article 165 would further extend the term and mandate of the Office of the State Governors.

According to the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (ARCSS) the tenure of the Transitional Government would end by 12th August 2018.

The Amendment Bill has been referred to the Specialized Parliamentary Committee on Justice and Legislation for scrutiny before it would be presented for second reading and other subsequent proceedings.

Paul Yooane Bonju, the Chairperson of the Specialized Committee on Information and Communication said once the specialized Legislation and Justice Committee finalized the scrutiny process of the Bill, it would be presented for the second, third and subsequent readings.

“These articles are to be amended to give the government tenure of three years in the coming period,” Bonju told the Juba Monitor.

Two weeks ago the TNLA formally incorporated the ARCSS into the Transitional Constitution despite calls by civil society organizations for the TNLA to suspend all motions relating to amendment of the Constitution.

Jame David Kolok, the Executive Director of Foundation for Democracy and Accountable Governance (FODAG) said the primary focus of the government should be the agreement that was being negotiated.

He said the extension of the mandate of the government must come within the context of the peace agreement.

The Khartoum Declaration states that the next Transitional Period will be 36 months preceded by a pre-transitional period of 120 days.

“If the government is trying to extend their mandate for three years, where are they deriving their mandate from?” Kalok asked adding that the process must be put on hold if it was outside the recently signed Agreement in Khartoum.

He said the speaker should halt the process of extending the government’s mandate in the interest of peace arguing that without peace social service delivery would not run effectively.

Kalok said the civil society would prepare another petition if the Parliament continued to deliberate on extension of the lifespan of the Transitional Government.

 

 

 

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