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OPPOSITION Demands Machar, Kiir out of next Gov’t

 

Former FVP Dr. Riek Machar, (L) seated next to President Salva Kiir, (R) after the first meeting of a new Transitional Government in Juba, S. Sudan (file photo on April 29, 2016.):

 

By Jale Richard

South Sudan Opposition Alliance, comprising of ten political groups have come up with new demand that President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Dr. Riek Machar should not be part of the next Transitional Government.

“The next transition shall be led by new leadership (President Kiir and Dr. Machar shall not lead the Transitional Government) because of their successive failures in managing the previous four (4) Transitions,” reads part of the statement released on April 14th about the ongoing IGAD consultations for resolution of the outstanding issues which aroused during the second phase of the High Level Revitalization Forum.

However, the government has repeatedly dismissed the demand of the opposition, describing it as impossible.

The Vice President, Dr. James Wani Igga, while launching expansion of power distribution station in Juba yesterday said some of the conditions of the opposition were impossible.

“They want the President to resign, this is impossible,” the Vice President said while laughing. “If they want power transition, let them come for election and people will vote for who they want,” he added.

Dr. Igga called on South Sudanese to be patient for real peace to come. “Negotiations take time, all the blames are on the government, that we don’t want peace but some conditions by the oppositions are hard, they want the army to be dissolved yet we want it to be integrated,”  the Vice President said.

It is the first time the Opposition Alliance have called for the former First Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar to be out of the next Transitional Government given that during the second phase of the peace talks in Addis Ababa, they had only demanded for his release from house arrest in South Africa. At that time, the group demanded only for exclusion of President Kiir from the next Transitional Government.

Leaders of SSOA said they believe in peaceful settlement of the crisis in the country as they had demonstrated throughout the High Level Revitalization Forum. However, they accused the government, saying it has shown lack of political will.

“The government of South Sudan approach to HLRF is to maintain the status quo, absorb the opposition group forming economically unsustainable bloated transitional government,” the Opposition Alliance said.

Among other things, they also want the state of emergency be lifted after signing of the agreement.

They demanded that the 32 states be annulled and reverted to the ten states as stipulated in the Transitional Constitution 2011 and Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan 2015 in addition to the two administrative areas of Pibor and Abyei.

The SSOA also said during the Transitional Period, Parties to the Agreement shall have a lean technocratic or hybrid government at all levels so as to save the limited resources for rebuilding the livelihoods of the people and the reconstruction of the country that has been devastated by war.

They also demanded for complete overhaul of the security sector and building new security sector institutions reflective of national diversity and character since “systems of military integration have failed spectacularly since the 1972 Addis Ababa Agreement; the SPLA-Anyanya II 1988; the 1997 Khartoum Agreement; and the 2006 Juba declaration.”

The also demanded for restructuring and reconstitution of institutions of governance at all levels.

The government during the second phase of the peace talks dismissed all the conditions set by the opposition.

The next round of the peace talks will resume on 26th of this month till 30th.

Already, AU Peace and Security Council team are in Juba to consult with the government ahead of the peace talks in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

Members of IGAD Council of Ministers are also expected to arrive in Juba today to consult with the government. They had consulted with members of the civil society early this month about the outstanding issues of the peace talks.

 

Parliamentary session flopped over quorum

Parliamentarians during a sitting last month (file Photo by Morris Dogga)

By Morris Dogga

Confusion over quorum halted parliamentary session yesterday as most Members of the Transitional National Legislative Assembly [TNLA] were not present.

The sitting was cut short after a point of information raised by the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs; Peter Bashir Gbandi over the number of MPs in the house after the deputy speaker, Timothy Tot had claimed there was quorum for the sitting to proceed.

The deputy speaker had said there was quorum of 170 MPs with 145 present and 25 not present on permission.

But the number of MPs in the Assembly hall did not reflect the reality forcing the Parliamentary Affairs Minister to raise the issue.

A recount was ordered by the deputy speaker which found only 83 MPs present plus the 25 on permission to prove wrong the 170 that were earlier presented by the clerk to the deputy speaker.

The sitting was paused for a few minutes where questions were raised over the real number of MPs present.

The sitting was called off for about five minutes-according to regulation 22 sub-regulation 6-before another recount was conducted to determine the exact number of MPs present.

But still the number present did not constitute a quorum for discussions to continue.

The sitting was adjourned for the next day (today).

Some members of parliament had wanted the discussion to continue but the deputy speaker declined to their request, saying he was only implementing the Conduct of Business of the Parliament.

However, it was not clear whether the MPs were not present or the number was exaggerated but Juba Monitor noticed some lawmakers were reluctant to attend the sitting as they were seen seated under the trees around the parliament building.

The parliament was supposed to continue with discussions on the oil pollution caused by crude oil in the Northern Upper Nile State.

The Minister of Petroleum, Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth who had not appeared last week before the August house was present.

The Chairperson of the Information Committee, Paul Yoane Bonju said he had no comment on where the other “exaggerated” number came from saying the person responsible with the attendance was the clerk.

When contacted, the clerk of the assembly, Lodoviko Lual Aken declined to talk to the media, demanding a letter of introduction despite the journalists clearly holding their identification cards.

This is not the first time the TNLA put on hold serious debate due to lack of quorum. About four weeks ago, parliamentary session was adjourned due to lack of quorum.

Previous sessions were continued despite the number of MPs were less. Last year, a sitting proceeded with about 58 MPs present in the hall.

Last week, sittings were adjourned when the public address system went faulty.

According to the Conduct of Business, Parliament could continue on normal sessions only if one third of the 400 MPs are present.

 

 

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