Opinion

Responsibilities and duties of members of parliament

By Joseph Akim Gordon

Government comprises of three organs. According to the country’s constitution, the legislative branch makes laws, the executive branch enforces laws and the judiciary branch interprets the laws.

The members of the national and state assemblies have an obligation to support the citizens, because they are elected by their respective constituencies to render services to the citizens but for the majority of members of parliament who were nominated by the authorities of the Government as result they pay allegiance to the authorities that selected them, this is the precise reasons why the nominated MP’s have no interest to see to it that the citizens are provided with basic services. They have no incentive to support the citizens because they have nothing to gain. The elected MP’s would be ready to support the people or the citizens of their constituencies knowing very well that it is the citizens through its constituencies to appoint or dismiss MP’s.

It is worth to noting why the national assembly is nicknamed rubber stamp assembly because they are not working for the interest of the citizens but they are guarding their jobs otherwise if they do not support the interests of their employer it is possible that they would have rough time with their employers.

The national and state assemblies should have been vocal of the welfare of the citizens. The assemblies should from time to time represent the interest of citizens, particularly the lack of provision of basic services in the country for instance, water in Juba is problematic, a barrel of water  costs 300 SSP while a basic salary for organized forces and other categories is about 1,500 SSP per month and the salary is delayed for months. Given the market prices, this salary is nothing, education and health services are poor, these are the problems that the national assembly should play a leading role to correct the situation for better. Salary structures in other countries are reviewed periodically so that the civil servants and organized forces have a decent salary for better living standard.

It is clear that the national assembly is only working for their own interests, they were paid an incentive of about 40,000 US$ last year and when there was complaints from citizens they said it was a loan to purchase vehicles and this month they received another 25, 000 US$ for medical insurance, why should the MP’s care about their health and not the people they claim to represent?

It is also surprising that the 40,000 US$ and the 25,000 US$ was paid only to the national assembly and the state MP’s were denied the right of this gift when both were supposed to render services to the citizens. If there is gift, it should also cover the states. It is good that peace is already in the horizon, there will not be nomination of MP’s but through an election. Where citizens will have an opportunity to elect their preferred candidates, the nomination or selection of MP’s should not again happen.

The forthcoming Government should open a new page. We want the new executive, judiciary and legislature to abandon the old practices that it is our time to eat, corruption, tribalism and nepotisms. If we start with old wrong practices to benefit only a few, I am afraid this peace will not last, we the citizens want to reap peace dividend so that we can drive this country to socio-economic development.

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