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SIX-Ministers snubbed house summons

By William Madouk Garang

Six National Ministers who had been summoned to appear before parliament to give their presentation on the devastating floods in Upper Nile, Jonglei and across the country failed to show up as expected.

Only two of them sent representatives who were rejected by the house because they were not mandated by parliamentary standings to answer the house on behalf of the ministers. The other four did not send explanations or representation.

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During ordinary session yesterday, some ministers had sent their representatives who were sent away by members of August house for lack of protocol and discrepancy in deliberating the house business.

Members of Reconstituted Transitional National Legislative Assembly (R-TNLA had declined to listen to members who were assigned by their respective ministry citing a procedure section ‘34’ on conduct of business which says only ministers are answerable to house.

Early last month, parliament had summoned relevant ministers to give their presentation on urgent and important matter on the devastating floods in Upper Nile and Unity state respectively.

They comprised of, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, the Minister of Environment and Forestry, the Minister of Finance & Planning, the Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation, the Minister of Health among others.

The designated chairperson of the Information Committee at Revitalized Transitional National Legislative Assembly (R-TNLA), Paul Yoane Bonju said although members sent away representatives still parliament could summon any officials. 

“The sitting has been adjourned, although it looks prematurely but of course we have to admit that most of the ministers who were summoned didn’t appear with the exception of Chairperson of Relief and Rehabilitation Commission,” Bonju said.

“Although some members have quoted from regulation 34 that only the ministers are the one to address parliament, the constitution also says parliament can summon any other officials within the country with the exception of the president,” he added.

He added that speaker would resubmit the summon to the concerned miniseries and within upcoming few weeks they would appear and testified to the house what their miniseries were doing to limited flood and suffering of those affected.

He further warned that any minister dragging their feet in appearing before parliament would run into regulation 85 or contempt of the house which could lead to the impeachment of the minister.

“We always operate within the laws, and regulation 85 says that if a minister is summoned.e. once, twice or three times and failed to appear before the house, of course,it is referred to as a contempt to the house and then a house can take necessary action which could lead to there solution of impeachment,” he explained.

UN-OCHA report said that over 630,000 people had been affected by the flash floods in 27 counties across South Sudan. With Jonglei and Unity the most affected states – accounting for 58 percent of people affected and submerged by floods.

Upper, Western and Northern Bhar el Ghazal came second most hit flood affected areas, most flood affected counties are faceing high levels of food insecurity, disease, and snake bites among many other.

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